Published on January 28th, 2020 | by John Werner
Journey to the Savage Planet Xbox One Review
Summary: Discover a hilarious and colourful alien world full of adventure!
“Journey to the Savage Planet” takes players on a fun and colourful adventure as they explore the uncharted planet AR-Y 26. As the newest to Kindred Aerospace, the 4th best interstellar exploration company in the universe, your job is to collect data and help determine if this planet is suitable for human colonization. The game combines FPS combat with craftable upgrades to aid players in this comical, co-op open world adventure developed by Typhoon Studios.
“Journey to the Savage Planet” sets the scene and tone of the game pretty quickly with clever writing and comical dialogue. By the time players begin their adventure, they will have a very clear idea of what is expected of them and why they’re doing it. You take on the role as the newest recruit of Kindred Aerospace, the 4th best interstellar exploration company and you’ve spent the last seven years in hyper-sleep as your spaceship has flown towards an unexplored planet. Your assignment is quite simple: explore the planet, do some (questionable) science experiments and determine whether or not the planet is suitable for human colonisation. However, there are two obstacles in your way: Kindred’s limited budget for your mission and the giant tower of unknown origins. It is now up to you to gather the necessary resources to craft better equipment as you venture forth to discover the secret behind this mysterious tower.
Like any open world game, crafting new equipment and upgrades plays a big part in “Journey to the Savage Planet”, with each upgrade opening up new areas to explore on the alien planet. As you’d expect, upgrades are mostly about increasing inventory space, weapon damage or unlocking that one vital piece of equipment that you need in order to move onto the next part of the map. In truth, unlocking these upgrades is surprisingly more fun and exciting than you’d expect, which is all thanks to your ships (somewhat sadistic) A.I and Kindred’s CEO Martin Tweed. Apparently, according to a video message from Martin, there wasn’t enough money in the budget to equip you with all the tools you’ll need to complete your mission, let alone the fuel required to fly back home to Earth. That’s why your ship has been equipped with a 3D printer, all you need to do is find the resources for whatever it is you want to build. To do that, you need to get up close and personal with the local wildlife and kick the carbon out of them. Literally!
Combat in “Journey to the Savage Planet” is both rewarding and risky no matter what stage of the game you’re at. The reward, depending on your foe, is either valuable crafting resources gathered from the numerous species of flora and fauna or a difficult boss fight that unlocks progression to the next stage of the game. Both have the same risk: death. In the event of your untimely demise, your consciousness is injected into a fresh clone back on board your ship, leaving all the resources you collected behind. However, all is not lost because not only can you reclaim your cargo, you can also bury your own dead body providing that it can still be found. I still remember the first time I died and came across my own dead body. There it was, lying on the ground, curled up in a ball, all peaceful like. As I stood over my remains, I recall the ship’s A.I telling me not to stare at it too long or risk having an existential crisis. Yet, the only thing that crossed my mind was trying to figure out where that exploding puffin came from.
The planet, designated AR-Y26, is broken up into four main biomes, each with its own sub regions and environments ranging from icy tundras to lush forests. However, to keep things interesting, the planet is mostly made up of floating islands that require players to utilise various population methods to traverse the unique terrain. During my play, I found this to be one of the highlights of the game due to the vast number of hidden items scattered around the map. Returning back to earlier stages of the game to complete challenges or unlock hidden areas proved to be as fun as it was rewarding. As there is no formal map showing where you have or haven’t been, players need to rely on their memory to find unexplored locations that they might have previously come across. While many people might consider this to be quite a bland method of dragging out the amount of gameplay, “Journey to the Savage Planet” manages to make something trivial quite fun and exciting but most importantly, challenging.
Rather than equipping players with traditional weapons and explosives, players use an array of different seeds and fruits as throwable weapons and utilities. The unique properties of the planets alien furan make for useful gadgets that when used correctly, can often turn the tide in a fight. However, their most common use is for solving the many puzzles around the planet. Aside from the typical elemental damage fruit that explode on impact, AR-Y26 also offers some more interesting options for players to utilise. One particular item is a snot-like berry that when thrown, turns into a giant spongy plant that acts as a spring board. I found this to be quite fun when dealing with charging enemies that would be propelled into the air, only to launch themselves off the edge of a cliff.
“Journey to the Savage Planet” is a fantastically written and equally fun game in a beautiful setting that will have players laughing at every turn. Whilst not the longest or biggest game of this genre, I do believe that players will get a decent amount of replay value thanks to the co-op features and multiple endings. As a whole, “Journey to the Savage Planet” is a rather simple game but still manages to find unique ways to challenge a player both during combat and exploration. My only dislike is that there could have been a few more side missions that didn’t revolve around item collection. It would have been great to have more incentive to go off the main path aside from hunting for upgrades. But in saying that, I found the exploration aspect of this game quite fun thanks to the innovative level design. This is definitely a fun little game that is worth checking out or playing with a friend.