High on Life Proves Comedy Games Need Good Graphics

High on Life Proves Comedy Games Need Good Graphics

Ever since it was first announced, High on Life sold itself on its highly detailed visual design. While it’s a comedy game, famously created by Rick and Morty and Solar Opposites writer Justin Roiland, the game never sacrificed its graphics for the sake of a joke. In recent years, indie comedy games have often been intentionally annoying, poorly designed, and ugly. A lot of humor has come from these purposefully “bad” games. However, High on Life shows how high-res graphics and pleasing art design can actually improve a game’s comedic value and create a better player experience overall.

Comedy games have flourished in the indie market recently, with titles like Goat Simulator, Garry’s Mod, and Among Us all offering social sandboxes for players to mess around in. When players open a comedy game, they’ve come to expect crude hand-drawn characters, low-poly models, and deliberately awful ragdoll physics. High on Life, however, avoids these tropes. It has all the childish, brash humor that one would expect from Roiland’s writing, but it still works hard to craft a meaningful, impressive environment with its graphics. This not only improves the game as a serious sci-fi first-person shooter, but it also enhances the game’s comedy.

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Why Detailed Graphics Can Still Be Funny

Aliens in High on Life

Almost everything in High on Life is an alien. When a player shoots a gun, the gun can open its multicolored mouth and creepily smile back at the player. It may even explain that the bullets being shot are the gun alien’s own larval offspring. When the player looks at a slime-covered wall, the shimmering slime may be from any number of quite unsavory alien activities. The graphics of High on Life turn every moment of disgusting shock humor into part of a cohesive, yucky world.

When the game shows off its clammy textures of alien skin and realistic splatters of gore, it adds a comedic contrast to the characters’ cartoonish expressions and dialogue. It stops the game from ever being a gimmick. The comedy never undermines the player’s experience with grating visuals or deliberately slow animations. It saves these elements for the optional content in the game, where the player can watch hours of Rick and Morty-style cartoons or strange B-movies. However, as a game, High on Life shows that when the graphics and gameplay are developed seriously, it allows the comedy to complement the game. All the bizarre textures and fascinatingly gross alien models keep the player engaged and bring life to every little environmental joke.

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What High on Life Could Mean for Future Comedy Games

Slimy monsters in High on Life

In the modern video game industry, comedy games and high-budget studios rarely mix. When studios spend millions of dollars on the next FPS game, they’re more likely to make it a somber, thrilling adventure. High on Life could be a major step in changing this. Some audiences would love to see more Hollywood-level comedy talent entering the mainstream video game market. As of now, comedy is often only present in half-baked indie titles or hyper-punishing retro platformers. High on Life is one of the rare exceptions.

High on Life takes its graphics seriously, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t also be funny. Its strange, unique art style brings life to a silly, comedic world. It focuses wholeheartedly on the comedy but still treats players to a gory sci-fi shooter that guides them from one joke to the next. It commits to being off-putting and gross but has AAA-level visuals to match. The end result is an engaging game with loads of comedy.

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