Squanch Game’s intergalactic action-comedy hit High on Life returns with mini-sequel DLC High on Knife. Two years after defeating the G3 cartel, the bounty hunter returns to help Knifey track down a package from his home planet. This brand-new story sees returning characters and guns as well as brand new ones, and seamlessly blends a new, seasonally fitting horror direction. High on Life’s iconic shooter formula mix-ups and Squanch’s unique brand of comedy to create a truly unique gaming experience, though one that isn’t without its hiccups.
I want to address something of an elephant in the room before going further into this review. Justin Roiland, who was involved in the original High on Life and was sort of central to the marketing of that game, is not featured in High on Knife. I shouldn’t have to explain why that is, nor why I think Squanch Games made the right decision, but to avoid controversy I’ll say that the way the departure of his character is handled in the game is hilarious and pretty fitting for the universe. Where I expected Squanch might use a sound-alike actor, they actually completely replace the character of Kenny for the DLC. Your new Gatlian, Harper, is just as likable and funny as Kenny was, without being a carbon copy of his personality — choosing to make Harper her own distinct character was the right move on Squanch’s behalf.
The jump forward into the future feels completely natural in High on Knife’s opening. Whether you’ve played the main game or not, you’ll instantly have an understanding of where you are in the universe. After the events of the main game, the Bounty Hunter has made quite the name for themselves, being featured on the news and continuing to hunt bounties in a new galaxy now populated by humans. You’re returning from one of said bounties when you get a missed package noticed from Muxxalon (I think that was the name. You’re going to have to excuse me, as I struggled to remember pretty much every name in the game no matter how many times it was presented to me.) This package turns out to be from Knifey’s homeworld, and he can use the return address to finally find a way home.
Using the package as your bounty, you travel to a salty planet inhabited by sick and dying slugs in order to track down the mobile Muxxalon facility. Just like High on Life, High on Knife has two huge strengths: the characters and their dialogue, and the gunplay. You’ll get into both of them right away in the hub town of Salt Lick City, where you’ll have a slew of hilarious interactions with slug people and get introduced to your new gun (not a Gatlian this time, but my personal favorite) B.A.L.L., which is a sort of ping-pong inspired death machine that absolutely shreds through crowds of enemies.
You’ll also have all of your Gatlians and bounty hunter tech available from the main game, so you won’t have to worry about missing out on your favorite Gat mods or upgrades.
The DLC is absolutely packed with great characters, though they seem to lean a bit more on the disgusting side this time around. A slug that coughs up on you, a giant naked man who needs you to clear parasites off his ass, and a great man-shaped cow thing you have to crawl into the anus of are just some of the sick little creatures you’ll encounter this time around. It almost feels like High on Knife is relying more on gross-out humor than the base game, and while I’m not usually a fan, I’ll say it didn’t push me past my limit on my playthrough.
Getting to the Muxxalon facility is where the game really takes off and slides into its own identity. The whole thing being a thinly veiled parody of Amazon was something, as a former Amazon employee, I really appreciated, but where it really stands out from the base game is the more horror-driven approach it takes. You certainly won’t be scared out of your socks but the theme of the area is potent and really feels like something fresh from the High on Life experience.
This is also where I started to experience bugs with the game, which I quickly attributed to the thick globs of slime coating the walls. Whatever technology they used to render the physics of this slime, it did not agree with my high-end gaming rig, and I would get random and serious frame drops. These intermittent slowdowns made fighting through Muxxalon a pain. If I wasn’t convinced this was something that could be fixed in a day one patch, I’d say the game is unplayable. I’m hoping Squanch notices this and fixes it quickly.
Beyond the change in characters and setting, Knifey also gets a fitting upgrade in your quest to take him home, a sick new chainsaw blade. Having a chainknife that shrieks and cackles in delight as you cut through slimy zombies is without a doubt a big highlight of the DLC. Seeing that this is Knifey’s big adventure, I’m glad he got to remain in the spotlight with a sick and mechanically important upgrade to his stabby bits. Plus, I deeply appreciate any chance I can get to listen to Michael Cusack scream in funny voices.
The Final Word
Take another stab at life with High on Knife, a slime-squelching and poppers-huffing adventure with everyone’s favorite stabba. Though I experienced some serious performance issues in a very prominent part of the DLC, I’m convinced Squanch Games can and will patch that out before it becomes a real problem. So grab Knifey, new friend Harper and all of your other Gatlians (and don’t forget your B.A.L.L.S) and rip and tear through another wacky and weird adventure.
Try Hard Guides was provided with a PC review copy of this game. Find more detailed looks at popular and upcoming titles in the Game Reviews section of our website! High on Knife is available as DLC wherever High on Life is sold.