Space: the – not so – final frontier. We had quite a few fun and interesting space games last decade, and we start this one with a fun and upbeat game; Journey to the Savage Planet. Initially I got No Man’s Sky type vibes from it, though the more I played the more it became apparent that Journey goes in a different direction. Accompanied by only an annoying AI and a handheld 3D printer, can it keep you hooked and wanting to explore the universe laid out before you? It certainly has a good shot in my opinion.
After a short opening, where we awake from a slumber and learn that we work for Kindred – a not at all evil corp -we’re off out to work and explore a strange and crazy planet. Naturally, we soon discover that we’re not as alone as first thought, though the mission at hand needs doing regardless, so on we go to look about and loot whatever resources we can.
During exploration of this world you’ll come across many new life forms. These must all be catalogued to aid the efforts of Kindred to find a new home for the human race. There’s plenty of creatures, fauna and more to scan and log; it’s here that the NMS comparisons felt the most apt. You do have another main objective though, as a large floating building discovered early on needs investigating. Your motivation is that Kindred will come along and bomb the planet otherwise, so best get exploring sharpish!
It doesn’t take long to settle into the swing of things though, and once you do you’ll find there’s plenty to find. Alien artefacts and items can be found to upgrade your stats, though you’ll also need materials to craft them. These can be found from cracking open rocks around the world, or by killing the creatures and enemies and looting their remains. There are many types of these around, though I did find there to be an over reliance on simply re-skinning creatures. The pufferbirds are an early highlight, with their big, round eyes granting them a deceptively cutesy appearance. Whether the pufferbirds or some of the more gargantuan creatures such as the cragclaw, they are all very uniquely designed and animated. Some will be a bit more timid until you get near, while others charge as soon as you’re in eye line. They all have one thing in common though – a loathing for guns, specifically yours as it’s aimed at them!
Completing missions unlocks further upgrades to your gear to use, such as higher jumps, stronger damaging weapons and even better grappling hooks to aid in exploration. Areas visited will often have sections you’ll be unable to access upon first visit, adding in a nice Metroidvania aspect to exploration. In between completing missions there are a few boss fights to tend to. Dying in these does force a bit of a retread over some ground from the nearest checkpoint rather than a quick restart mind, so make sure you’re prepared before going in.
So all this running, gunning and collecting is all good, but tying it all together is a compelling narrative. As mentioned up top, you’re accompanied by a well spoken AI throughout – she had me genuinely cracking up with some of her lines. Much has been made pre-release of Typhoons hope to craft a fun adventure story and in my opinion they’ve done a decent job of it.
It’s also quite the looker. Everything is bright and poppy, with excellent use of shade and colour to really keep your attention. Add in some great music and sound effects and we’ve got a soild A/V package on top of some fun gameplay.
I had a rather great time with Journey to the Savage Planet. With bright visuals full of colour and character sucking you in and some funny, engaging writing encouraging progression, Typhoon have done a solid job on their first outing. Great exploration and combat are just the icing on the cake, with more than enough to do to keep you coming back for some time.