High On Life: High On Knife Review

It’s been a hot minute since we’ve spent some time with the Gatlians, hasn’t it? Ten months after the release of High On Life, Squanch Games is back with an expansion to High On Life fittingly titled High on Knife. This horror-inspired expansion features two new levels, a brand new pinball-inspired Gatlian gun, and an expanded role for the breakout character Knifey.

As you may recall from my review of High On Life (don’t worry, this isn’t a pop quiz), I said that High On Life had some characters who were “not given as much attention as I would have liked. Least of all the scene-stealing Knifey who is woefully underutilized.” So, to see a whole expansion dedicated to the bloodthirsty Aussie knife with no filter came as a very pleasant surprise and a much overdue correction. But, does High On Knife work as well as Life did… therein lies the question.

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Knifey is back!

To begin with the positives, the gameplay here is once again rock solid. The Doom-inspired shooting is as tight, fluid and fun as ever. The new pinball-themed gun may even be my favourite to use in the game so far. You’ll be exploring, sliding and wall-crawling (not quite like Spiderman, more like a motorcycle in a spherical cage) your way through intricately designed levels with a hefty amount of secrets.

The story for this expansion is also rock-solid, telling a simple but effective story about Knifey trying to track down his home planet. Throw in a few out-of-nowhere references to classic American TV staples, some pointed critique at Muxxalon, an Amazon parody whose name could also be read as “Musk, Elon” and moments of Knifey’s signature rage and what’s here is quite entertaining.

What it also is, surprisingly, is scary. The second half of the expansion is closer in tone to a horror game like Dead Space or The Callisto Protocol with some surprisingly effective scares and some strong atmosphere. This is still High On Life, it’s not as if it’s gonna scare you badly at any point, but this is a fun comedic horror tone evocative of some of the genre’s greats.

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High On Knife can get scary

To touch upon the aesthetics, once again, High On Knife is a title that is punching above its weight. The graphics are vibrant and colourful, but also appropriately horror-tinged when they need to be. The animation work is once again on point, with some incredibly detailed movements and some gnarly takedowns with Knifey. The soundtrack is top-notch and atmospheric, just as it was in the first game. Better yet, even with these extra flourishes in the presentation, the performance has been incredibly smooth in a way it simply wasn’t in my playthrough of the base game.

Where the expansion is a bit more mixed, however, is in the comedy. The oneliners, delivered by the same cast as before (one notable exception) and with some brand new hyper-funny additions like SNL’s Sarah Sherman, do not hit as consistently as they did in the base game of High On Life. That said, if High On Life was one laugh a minute, High On Knife is closer to one chuckle a minute. The exceptions come in two hilariously funny set-pieces. The first takes place in a bar and the second over the game’s final credits. I don’t want to reveal too much but, needless to say, I was close to bothering the neighbours with how hard I laughed there.

As for the elephant in the room, Justin Roiland is not a part of this game, after having stepped down as CEO of Squanch for well-documented reasons. As such, Kenny is written out of the game, with a functionally identical Gatlian, Harper (voiced by the aforementioned Sarah Sherman) taking his place. Harper makes for a likeable presence, and the lack of Kenny is addressed in appropriately humorous fashion. But I was admittedly surprised to see that the game did not go with a soundalike to take over the role. In any case, Knifey is the real star of this expansion with much more to say and do, and the other Gatlians all have a number of new lines to play with.

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Unmistakable High On Life action

Finally, to touch upon the value of the expansion, the price of the Game Pass bundle is incredibly fair and I believe worth the money. However, the price of the expansion on its own is a bit more touch and go. You can complete this in around two hours, as it runs around about a fourth the size of the original game. When you take into account that it’s around a fourth of the launch price, it’s pretty fair, but not a must-buy value.

All in all, I enjoyed my time with High On Knife. High On Life: High On Knife is not as funny as the base game, but it is just about as good in every other way. Honestly, I can’t wait to see what this team does next.


Source: https://www.thexboxhub.com/high-on-life-high-on-knife-review/

Source: https://webfulnet.com/

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