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July 2019

Journey to the Savage Planet

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: 505 Games
Developer: Typhoon Studios
Release Date: 2020

About Tony "OUberLord" Mitera

I've been entrenched in the world of game reviews for almost a decade, and I've been playing them for even longer. I'm primarily a PC gamer, though I own and play pretty much all modern platforms. When I'm not shooting up the place in the online arena, I can be found working in the IT field, which has just as many computers but far less shooting. Usually.


PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Journey to the Savage Planet'

by Tony "OUberLord" Mitera on June 13, 2019 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

Journey to the Savage Planet is an upbeat first-person adventure game set in a bright and colorful alien world filled with weird and wonderful creatures.

I really had no idea what to expect stepping into my playtime with Journey to the Savage Planet.  I certainly didn't expect to find one of the more enjoyable games I played that day, nor did I expect the level of humor that the title offered.  In it, you play as an employee of Kindred Aerospace, proudly the fourth best company in the space exploration industry.  Sent down with little more than the simplest of gear and best wishes, you must explore and catalog the entirety of a newly discovered planet.  It should have been barren of intelligent life, but the giant tower on the planet's surface seems to indicate otherwise.

Upon the start of the game, you wake up in The Javelin, your meager ship that serves as a base of operations.  Upon teleporting down to the surface, you can begin to survey the area and scan the flora and fauna that you find.  Not every object can be scanned, but scanning all the possibilities is one of your journal's tasks.  Scanning objects or creatures can also give you a little more insight into them, such as flowers that can restore vitality.

There's a fair amount of humor in the game.  Slap a pufferbird, and it gets mad; slap it around again or just shoot it, and it explodes into a bunch of green goo.  Kick it into a, ahem, "meat vortex" creature on the wall, and watch as it gets ground up and splattered about, complete with chainsaw noises.  Heck, there's one area that was walled off with a vine-like blockage until the nearby meat vortex got its fill of pufferbird meat by way of a field goal kick.  Seriously, the game is bonkers, complete with an AI that is condescending in a way that I haven't seen since Far Cry Blood Dragon.

It's also a lot of fun.  You have high mobility thanks to bounce pads in the environment and a double-jump, and that mobility expands further as you acquire things like the grappling hook.  You can clamber up onto ledges that you can't quite reach with a jump, but otherwise, you must be very careful to leap onto and climb over the many obstacles in the terrain.  Other dangers, such as what looked like meat vortexes stuck in "reverse" spray a stream that harms you if you stand in it, which makes it critical to time jumps properly in the area.

Pufferbirds aren't a real threat, but other creatures are and will attack on sight, such a flying squid-like creatures or others that are armored except for a small area on their tails.  Killing them nets you resources like carbon and silicon, which in turn lets you craft upgrades, such as larger magazines for your gun or a variety of scanning and other upgrades.  You can also find alien alloys in the environment, usually via some thorough exploration, which are required for some of the more powerful upgrades.

It's a weird game but a fun one all the same.  Journey to the Savage Planet isn't intended to be a full-priced game nor a full-sized one, but with a projected 10-hour play time, it seems to provide enough gameplay value.  It should come out some time in early 2020, and I'll be keeping an eye on it to see how it continues to shape up between now and then.  It's not a serious game, so there's a lot of comedy and fun to be had within it.

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