Title: Journey to the Savage Planet: Hot Garbage
Developer: Typhoon Studios
Release Date: April 15, 2020
Reviewed On: Xbox One
Publisher: 505 Games
Genre: Action Adventure
I’ll admit that I was initially impressed with Journey to the Savage Planet. The slow start and fields of empty space made me assume that game was nothing but big-eyed birds and funny dialogue. But as the adventure continued, my character gained new equipment that made those empty spaces into hidden areas full of more upgrades and elements to craft with.
Yes, Journey to the Savage Planet is a bonafide exploration game through and through. With the new Hot Garbage DLC, the hope was to expand on the existing mechanics that made this adventure so good in the first place but instead, but instead, Hot Garbage seems to be its own adventure.
Hot Garbage adds the new area, named Planet DL-C1, accessible from the teleporter. From there, players are introduced to the beachfront world that is being taken over by Viper Industries. Players have to find out why Viper is transpassing on a Kindred bought planet, dumping toxic waste all over the otherwise beautiful tropical world.
The story of Hot Garbage is relatively light, with much of the narrative focusing on stopping a faceless corporation while a humous yet rude AI barks at you until the final boss fight. As a campaign that can be completed in a few hours, the main appeal is the additional exploring players can do. From finding holographic postcards to hacking Viper equipment, This DLC is for players that enjoyed Typhoon Studios’ clever level designs and sense of discovery from the base game.
That’s pretty much the new elements from Hot Garbage that players can expect, basic enemies are glorified palette swaps from the base game, just with an island theme to match. Like the game’s well-known Pufferbird changed to look like a tucan yet moves and functions the same.
Though the new robot enemies that patrol the Viper facilities are fun to fight, as they change the way players need to defeat them each time they are encountered. This has players utilize the different fruits and plants that can be collected throughout the game. Some robots’ weak points can only be shown from being hit by either a bomb, acid, or lightning plants, making for the most dynamic battles in the title.
When not in battle, Players can find new ways to travel through the new island. Purple gas rings that are spread throughout the map can boost the jetpack fuel to fly further distances, as long as players keep passing through the loops. Unfortunately, I found this feature to be a bit frustrating as the jetpack loses momentum and height very quickly, making it hard to recover, causing you just to fall. While it was convenient to use a nearby teleporter to try again, it was disappointing given how much more fun and forgiving it was to use the Photon Tether compared to the Jetpack booster rings.
The other new upgrades in Hot Garbage are the Toxic Deshocker, which players get playing the campaign in order to pass the toxic gas covering some areas, as well as the Underwater Boots, optional and used to collect the secondary objectives in the ocean.
Upgrades don’t add much to gameplay other than accessing areas players couldn’t get to before and are only usable on the Tropical planet, not on the different areas from the base game. This is disappointing given that upgrades usually give the character a reason to backtrack through old sections and collect more elements or upgrades.
As for the planet that the DLC is based on, the tropical theme is full of new flora and fauna, but it doesn’t match the base game’s environments. You see, Journey to the Savage Planet has an otherworldly look that is paired with a sci-fi Saturday morning cartoon, making the beachfront island a dull setting that kind of deviates from the base game. Given Hot Garbage’s story and themes, I could give it a pass as the graphics and animations are still a joy to look at.
As far as downloadable content goes, Journey to the Savage Planet’s gameplay could have benefitted from Hot Garbage’s additions if it wasn’t made to be a separate experience. Mechanics like boosted Jetpacks and Underwater Boots would have been great to use on the planet of AR-Y 26. Instead, planet DL-C1 is a self-contained add-on that provides new equipment along with new ways to use old abilities. With its low cost of entry, the value of extending some good gameplay is always a solid choice.
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