In Journey to the Savage Planet, you’ll explore a vast, colorful world bountiful of life and with many secrets to behold with your trusty pistol and your left hand.
Title: Journey to the Savage Planet
Developer: Typhoon Studios
Publisher: 505 Games
Platforms: PlayStation 4 (version reviewed), Xbox One, Windows
Release date: January 28, 2020
This game reminds me an awful lot of something like No Man’s Sky; but, that’s okay. I never really got around to playing that game and felt like it was a tad bit too late to join the party. Even if Journey to the Savage Planet wasn’t inspired by No Man’s Sky, it’s a good substitute to tend to that itch for a sci-fi exploration game.
It’s an adventure game at its core. The premise is set with you being part of an aerospace company deploying you to a faraway planet, AR-Y 26, to scout the land and its inhabitants to determine whether or not this place is suitable for human development. Here’s the catch— you have very little tools to fend for yourself on this uncharted planet so you have to make do with the environment and materials you gather throughout.
The small dedicated team at Typhoon Studios created a pretty game that prides itself on its quirky and satirical humor. Explore the world presented to you through the lens of a rather humorous self-selected avatar at the beginning of the game. I hope all the others were just as fun, but the one I went with was a dog. In my playthrough, my character would pant like a dog when running low on stamina and yelp when getting hurt.
While there are elements of an RPG or FPS or 3D platformers, Journey to the Savage Planet is built around the discovery of the local fauna and flora. Some of the fauna are passive while others are more hostile. Your tools for combat are your Nomad Z220X Bolt-Beamer which is basically a sophisticated battery-powered pistol, whatever tool you can use with your left hand, or just melee.
By default, you’re usually carrying this tactical “Grob” bait in your left hand. “Grob” is this purple gelatinous substance that can taste like over two billion different food flavors and combinations. There’s a funny commercial that plays in-game showcasing the product. You can use this bait to distract the fauna to either scan them or extract additional materials from them.
Eventually, you will find things like bombegranates (explosive fruits) to blow up cracked cave entrances, corrosive biles to melt enemy armor or roadblocks and other materials in the world to help with your journey. All of these can be used with your left hand. The left-hand mechanic looks funny but I’ve grown to appreciate it. It’s nice to visually see what you have instead of looking at a small UI icon and perhaps using something you didn’t want to use.
Journey to the Savage Planet really does allow you to explore to your heart’s content, with some periodic barriers like needing certain upgrades to get to new places. Previously I had mentioned you can find various left hand equips. At first, you are only able to pick them up as you find them and use them before they expire. After further game progression, you can be able to store them in your gear for future use against enemies or for accessing secret areas.
You’ll get more objectives as you scan more things and progress in the campaign. That also includes finding common and rare materials to upgrade your equipment at your home base, or the Javelin. The Javelin is your safe haven and probably the best place to save and quit when your gaming sessions end. You can also check the progress of your adventure as well as videos from Kindred Aerospace and other data log entries. I mostly went there for the 3D printer which is the game’s workbench.
You’re not entirely alone out in AR-Y 26. Your AI companion EKO provides some useful insight on the environment and oftentimes quirky commentary. Hell, you can even opt to play this game cooperatively. There aren’t any benefits or disadvantages of playing alone or with another person. Honestly, with another person playing with me, this would make the game easier than it already is.
The UI, mission tracking, and upgrade trees are all very straightforward. You can select a certain objective you want to complete through your Kindex and it’ll pinpoint the location you need to get to in order to complete it. Should you die at any point in the game, you leave all the materials you gathered at a crate close to your area of death. It becomes a side mission to go find that crate to recover all lost items. The upgrades will tell you what kind of materials and how much you need to craft them, along with any sort of side mission you have to complete in order to unlock the ability to.
There’s a lot of traveling and occasional backtracking in Journey to the Savage Planet. Luckily at key places in the explorable biomes, there are teleporters for fast traveling to make the experience much less tedious. That’s also a notable quality of the game too. It isn’t tedious.
I never had to halt my adventure to grind for materials. Killed animals drop generous amounts of required crafting parts and there are a plethora of ore and mineral deposits along the way. Sometimes the more hostile animals can be a nuisance so you’d want to dispose of them and take their spoils. The only real “grind” of the game is trying to complete challenges and objectives to level up your field rank or finding rare alien alloys to upgrade your toolkit.
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There isn’t much of a challenge since most of the hostile fauna don’t pose too much of a threat, especially when you get their attack patterns down. I only died 5 times and they were all from environmental factors (basically falling to my death). After ten hours of gameplay, I managed to achieve over 90% completion of my playthrough, and that includes collectibles, secrets, and scans along the way. If you’re well versed in FPS games and are good with platforming, this game is a cakewalk.
It’s more of a casual game if anything, with only slight spikes in difficulty when fighting the bosses (which I wish there were more of). There doesn’t seem to be much replay value of this game (until the DLC comes out) unless you go for a 100% save file or all the achievements/trophies. The game is well-polished. Controls responded very well and I rarely encountered bugs in my playthrough. Perhaps my expectations were a tad different. But the best way I can go about explaining this game is that it’s just “chill.”
A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.