Hot Garbage was assumed to be aimed at players who have seen the whole game by now, but it ends up playing best for those still scanning the alien world.

Journey to the Savage Planet Hot Garbage DLC Review

Hot Garbage was assumed to be aimed at players who have seen the whole game by now, but it ends up playing best for those still scanning the alien world.

Journey to the Savage Planet was born from the principles of a studio seeking salvation from past overbearing publishers, where grayish grit and graphic violence have been the mandates for much too long.

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In its colorful, slapstick rejection of so many norms, Typhoon Studios carved out a unique, retro-inspired metroidvania when its debut launched in January.

Fans will enjoy returning to the game with the new Hot Garbage DLC, as it clearly improves on the base game in at least one important way, though it seems strangely built for players who haven’t yet finished the game.

Journey to the Savage Planet Hot Garbage DLC Review

Once purchased, Hot Garbage is worked seamlessly into the campaign. In fact, given its platforming and combat challenges inside the 2- to 4-hour DLC, I came away thinking I’d have enjoyed it more had I not yet beaten the main game.

If you head into it as post-credits DLC, it’s likely your character will feel almost overpowered for the expansion. It doesn’t do a great job at ramping up for experienced players who have seen the credits and climbed the skill tree.

Speaking of, its new skills fit a similar mold. Big boosts to health and stamina  unlimited in the latter’s case  should be widely beloved, but for anyone who has already toppled the final boss, these new boons lose much of their impact. 

For all of these reasons, the DLC ends up feeling much more linear than its metroidvania predecessor. Despite opening up several new hubs as soon as you touch down on your new planet, if you’re bringing a character that has things like quadruple-jump and lots of weapon upgrades, planet DL-C1 will be much breezier than you remember the main game being.

An apparent dearth of secrets scattered about is the biggest fault with the expansion. As I wrote in my original review, the post-credits clean-up had me chasing collectibles and resources in a manner that so few games do these days, but Hot Garbage doesn’t provide the same thrill, save for 22 postcards to find.

Collectively, Hot Garbage feels more like a missing chapter than a post-game return.

The new locale, despite being a new planet with new flora and fauna, largely feels like the others, too, though in this case, it’s more forgivable as the game’s aesthetics remain so awesome. The constant blend of pinks, greens, and oranges still looks wonderful even in your new land of Boomerdale, a retirement community for the people who made CBS America’s most-watched network.

One way in which the DLC does clearly improve on its foundation is its final boss. The main game’s sludgy endgame villain unleashed a bombardment of attacks often too hectic to maneuver with any real sense of skill. The DLC’s Big Bad, while about as fleshed out as a ghost, provides for a multi-stage showdown akin to so many of the games which clearly inspired Typhoon.

You’ll know just what to do when you see it, satisfyingly leaving it up to your execution at that point.

Like other parts of the add-on, this battle uses the game’s new traversal mechanic, which allows players to jetpack around the region so long as they coast checkpoint to checkpoint and refill their gauges properly. You’ll only get a few seconds on a full gauge, so it becomes a wholly new and interesting platforming puzzle to get from A to B, even as the mechanic sometimes feels like you need a third hand due to some camera issues.

Pros
  • Features the best boss battle of the entire game
Cons
  • Lacking in reasons to stick around after a swift DLC campaign
  • Feels built primarily for players who haven’t yet finished the main game

Hot Garbage manages to capture some of what made Journey to the Savage Planet interesting, like its vibrant world and a busy blend of combat and platforming, but it leaves some of the best bits, like secrets and unlockables, behind.

If you haven’t yet played Savage Planet, I definitely recommend adding Hot Garbage to the game when you jump in, as its rewards seem designed to suit you better than the seasoned players who have already cataloged the entire alien world and all its colorful, farting birds.

[Note: A copy of Journey to the Savage Planet’s Hot Garbage DLC was provided by 505 Games for the purpose of this review.]

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Journey to the Savage Planet Hot Garbage DLC Review
Hot Garbage was assumed to be aimed at players who have seen the whole game by now, but it ends up playing best for those still scanning the alien world.

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Author
Mark Delaney
Mark is a dad, husband, bicyclist, animal rights activist, and a gamer, of course. You can find him on all platforms covering co-op, indies, horror, battle royale, or whatever else he's obsessing over right now. In addition to GameSkinny, he's been published on GameSpot, IGN, GamesRadar, EGM, Escapist, Official Xbox Magazine, and a bunch of other great outlets.