If you’re a fan of the delightfully twisted cartoon, Rick & Morty, you’ll be aware that the first of those titular characters has a bovine-excrement detector that’s better than most.
With that in mind, it’s likely Rick would dismiss the latest free-to-play game he and his high-strung nephew are starring in with a scathing indictment about development hackery, punctuated with a lot of burps.
The reason for this is because Pocket Mortys – the latest attempt to cash-in on Adult Swim’s animated hit – is so by-the-numbers, it could be presented as a design document thus:
- Take the framework from any Pokémon game. Probably one of the older ones which lacks modern sensibilities.
- Replace all instances of the word “Pokémon” with “Morty” from the popular TV show Rick and Morty
- Replace all instances of the word “Player” with “Rick” and “AI” with “Aliens” from the popular TV show Rick and Morty
- Replace all instances of the word “Items” with “doodads and junk” from the popular TV show Rick and Morty
Yes folks, Pocket Mortys is an unashamed rip-off the Pokémon series of games, skinned to look like an episode of Rick and Morty.
Without spoiling the bare bones plot, the game “Battling Mortys” has become a cross-dimensional bloodsport which you (as the original Rick) can partake in. To that end, the name of the game is to repeatedly smash aliens and other Ricks to gain money and items until the game finishes.
This game adds almost nothing to the Pokémon formula while managing to also mess up what makes the show it’s based on so good. It’s actually downright insulting to fans of both franchises as the extremely refined “type” mechanic is boiled down into Rock, Paper, Scissors.
We’re not joking here: the Mortys can be one of those three and you’ll need to switch them around to make sure you don’t lose.
So that’s the Pokémon fans disappointed, but what about fans of the TV show? If you need a Rick and Morty fix, we suggest you watch the first two seasons again instead of playing this game, because Pocket Mortys lacks the sharp dialogue and unsettling humour from the series.
The only two features that stand out in this formulaic offering – Crafting and Blips & Chitz Arcade Machines – succeed in making the game an arduous grind-fest that encourages you to fork over your real-world money.
Items can be crafted from ingredients found (rarely) during the game or from the Blips & Chitz Arcade Machines, which you have to pay for. Crafting is preferable to buying the items, sure, but the amount you will earn from battling is tiny. That having been said, the items you can buy from the Blips & Chitz are very pricy indeed.
Now, don’t get the impression we’re knocking free-to-play games in general as there are some games that use this model successfully – Hearthstone and Heroes Of The Storm are two shining examples as they both offer decent free play, but they also make it worth the player’s while to spend actual money on in-game items.
However, Pocket Mortys feels like a rip-off; it’s not innovative, or satisfying or even particularly engaging to play, and forking over your dough doesn’t guarantee you will receive anything useful. The items in the Blitps & Chitz are bundles of random items; most of the time they disappoint, and as such, they feel woefully overpriced.
So you’re basically faced with two options – grind through a game that’s a boring slog or pay and risk being ripped off; neither prospect is very attractive.
So that’s Pocket Mortys. A barely competent mobile game blighted by a terrible business model, an unforgivable lack of innovation and – perhaps the greatest sin of all – none of the twisted, smart and mind-flaying humour from the source material.
It’s so bad, Rick wouldn’t even burp in its general direction. You have been warned.