For the past 10 days or so I have been playing Journey to the Savage Planet in my evenings, and I am so excited to have had the opportunity to review this game. I’ve been playing on PS4, but this game is also releasing on Xbox One and Microsoft Windows, with a worth-every-penny price point of £23.99… So let’s dive in!
Journey to the Savage Planet is a first-person adventure and exploration game that you can play through on your own or with someone else via an online co-op mode. Gameplay is geared towards adventure and exploration, as you take on the role of a scientist, cartographer, adventurer and at times a soldier. The game has elements of both an FPS and RPG.
Journey to the Savage Planet puts you, the player, at the heart of exploration. When you wake up in the Javelin (your space ship), you are greeted with a video explaining that you have arrived on your planet and you’re ready to go! You work for Kindred Aerospace; the 4th best space exploration company in the galaxy. Mankind is sick of being confined to just the Earth and is looking for planets to expand onto – The tone of the game is highly satirical, but in a jovial, light-hearted way. Throughout your journey you will discover a little bit about what life on Earth has become, via emails and adverts and other videos that are sent to you inside of the Javelin.
Stepping outside the Javelin onto AR-Y 26, you learn from your helpful AI that you must survey the planet for its suitability… Oh, and also find some fuel because you haven’t been given enough to get home… And thus begins your journey.
As you move through the brightly coloured world you encounter various different creatures that you have to scan, sample and occasionally kill. The creatures range from adorable, to simple, to outright bizarre. Some are friendly some are not… But as previously mentioned, combat isn’t really the main focus of this game. Fights are pretty much categorised into shooting a creature a couple of times to kill it, or in typical boss fight style, working out a creature’s pattern and then shooting it in its exposed weak points. So far I’ve found all the fights to be manageable, and I am by no means a combat expert when it comes to games. I have died a fair few times in this game… And the way the game handles you dying is ingenious. One of my favourite things is shamefully burying my old body, as morbid as it is!
As you progress through the game scanning everything in sight (there are 30+ creatures) and learning more, you have the opportunity to upgrade your gear. There are main quest upgrades that you have to get to progress, but there are also upgrades you can get by completing science experiments; these are your side quests. A big mistake I made was getting so excited by the main campaign that I neglected my science experiments, which would have been much easier to do if I’d paid attention them and done them as I went along. Whilst it’s definitely not necessary to do these to complete the game, if you want to Platinum it, or just want an easier time of things, the upgrades they provide are very useful. Some areas are not really accessible without them, lending to a Metroid-like sense of exploration.
There’s lots of opportunity for those that like collectibles as well; the main collectible is orange goos, strange jellies that give you extra life and stamina – There’s enough of these about that you can find a fair few without going out of your way giving you enough of a health upgrade, but for the true collector they pose a fun challenge. There are also other collectibles in game, but I don’t want to spoil anything.
Journey to the Savage Planet also offers online co-op, but due to the limited pre-release access I have not managed to do any of this; I am really looking forward to it when it comes out, and when more people are on the servers because I think this could be a really fun way of experiencing the game!
What I like most about Journey to the Savage Planet is that it’s an exploration game with and end point. This is pretty appealing to me because it makes me feel like my exploration has achieved something, and is leading towards something larger. Whilst other exploration games offer the intrinsic satisfaction of just finding things, Journey to the Savage Planet dangles the juicy carrot of a solvable mystery. That mystery being “are you truly alone on this planet supposedly void of intelligent lifeforms”?
Time-wise the game is relatively short. One achievement suggests that you could finish the game in 3 hours if you wished… But this is definitely a speedrun rewarding achievement. I’ve spent about 12 hours on the game so far, and I’m at about 60% completion… I like to look everywhere! Currently there are 4 biomes to explore, and I’ve explored 3 of them. Typhoon Studios has hinted that additional content is planned for the game for the future, however, so I’m interested to see how this expands.
On my playthrough I haven’t experienced any bugs, just beautiful fluid gameplay. This, mixed with all of the humour, makes this game an absolute treasure to play. Although I haven’t come to the end of my journey yet, this game is a 10/10 for me. I’m so excited to jump into online gameplay, and I don’t think you would regret picking up this charming game!