Journey to the Savage Planet was an exercise in brevity that many, many other games could learn from. It had no filler and let players explore and tinker with the titular savage planet without overstaying its welcome. By that very notion, DLC almost seems counterintuitive to such a lean game. Hot Garbage, the game’s first premium add-on, doesn’t fill the game with some of the aforementioned warm trash, but is instead another carefully restrained yet safe helping of the main course.
Journey to the Savage Planet Hot Garbage DLC Review | A warm greeting
Hot Garbage immediately reminds you of this as you step out of the teleporter onto DL-C1 and are greeted with a goofy sign about Boomerdale, an upcoming retirement community on the beachfront. It’s a perfectly placed gag that instantly prepares you for the humor in the three-hour add-on.
The rest of the jokes in the dialogue and codex descriptions are in line with the main game and have the same strengths. EKO is still just barely helpful with her quips and that borderline incompetence remains one the high points of the writing. Her sharp wit keeps her from being annoying, which is not something the new AI can claim with such certainty. He serves as the main antagonist and he does have a few solid lines here and there, but his tongue is not as silver as EKO’s.
Slapping birds remains a simple pleasure, especially given how the tropical pufferbirds in DL-C1 are essentially just legally safe Toucan Sam knockoffs that even explode into Fruit Loops and milk. It’s a dumb enough joke to work. Again, Journey to the Savage Planet is a particular kind of stupid that’s self-aware and presented with an admirable amount of confidence that’s easy to love.
Journey to the Savage Planet Hot Garbage DLC Review | Reusing punchlines
It’s still possible to create your own humor through random, incidental moments, but it’s almost the same exact improvised joke book from the core game. The few new foes don’t have the same level of reactibility nor are there new gadgets that introduce some other potential form of comedy. Throwing a bombegranate on a pufferbird and punting it into a crowd is still funny, but it’s something you’ve seen before because your of similar toolbelt.
Purple rings are scattered around the island and let you temporarily fly around yet their usefulness is hamstrung by scarce and ethereal they are. Having some more permanent gadget would have been ideal, even if that would be harder to seamlessly implement into the core game. Hot Garbage still has some upgrades, but they’re all relegated to your health or stamina and are carrots that are still worth chasing despite not tasting as sweet at the end.
Journey to the Savage Planet Hot Garbage DLC Review | Exploring the unknown
Although some upgrades aren’t as mechanically exciting, Hot Garbage is still a blast to traverse. Like the main game, DL-C1 is a digestible plot of land that is big enough to meaningfully explore without being bloated merely for the sake of filling some arbitrary milestone. The jump pack and grappling hook are also the best tools for the job, adding in verticality and some appreciated platforming.
The gear is only part of the equation since exploration itself is actually satisfying since the game lets your curiosity guide you instead of icons on a map or overbearing waypoints. Waypoints do mark objectives but the game still lets you figure out the puzzle once you get there. While the DLC is small enough to possibly forgo beacons altogether, Hot Garbage still lets you use your brain without killing the pace or opening up the door to frustration.
The Journey to the Savage Planet Hot Garbage DLC doesn’t introduce anything particularly spectacular. Instead, it serves as a helpful reminder of why the game as a whole is so special in the first place. Investigating an alien planet with a delightfully stupid sense of humor is a unique joy that’s on brand for Journey to the Savage Planet, despite lacking the new gadgets and some of the player-driven stories that the core experience had. Hot Garbage is still more than enough of an excuse to kick a few pufferbirds around even if they don’t reach as high of an altitude.
GameRevolution reviewed the Journey to the Savage Planet Hot Garbage DLC on PC with a copy provided by the publisher.