Originally announced at the Game Awards 2018, Journey to the Savage Planet is a mash up of No Man's Sky and the acerbic humour of Obsidian's The Outer Worlds. We went Hands On with the latest build during EGX 2019
Savage Planet puts you straight into the boots of an intrepid explorer, unceremoniously dumped onto an alien world to assess and secure it for a potential future colony site. Right off the bat, you'll quickly realise that the game places its tongue firmly in cheek; the quirky A.I. voiceover, and outlandish creature design, totally fit the technicolour visuals and pervasive levity.
Although acute visual detail, even on PC, is a tad lacking, and you can see the engine creaking a tad, Typhoon Games should be applauded for producing a graphically distinct environment that is begging to be explored. Generally speaking, you're left to your own devices, and the lack of obvious hand-holding is a refreshing change of pace.
In a highly appreciated nod to the seminal Metroid Prime, you'll spend a lot of time scanning creatures and bizarre plantlife to further your understanding, access new areas, and craft items. You've got various contraptions that can be deployed to lure in your targets, from a basic throwable bait to more elaborate options like a sticky gelatinous blob. Each alien you encounter has a different set of behaviours, and we defy anyone to not find the huge eyed, but absurdly proportioned, bird the most endearing thing you've ever seen.
There's a few simple mechanical elements where the game falls short. Player movement does feel a little stilted, and we regularly found ourselves getting caught on parts of the environment. The aforementioned freedom to explore and accomplish your goals also does create an occasional sense of disorientation, and unnecessarily forces a more trial and error approach than is likely intended.
Still, there's a lightness to the experience that certainly brings a smile, and it's always a treat to see a title with a reasonable budget embrace an indie sensibility and let creativity lead the charge. The addition of a co-op mode, although unavailable during our Hands On session, makes so much sense, and could very easily catapult this title to greater heights.
In our books, one of the greatest metrics for success is whether or not you come away from a first hand experience with a new IP ready to jump back in. Despite being a touch rough around the edges, there can be no denying that Journey to the Savage Planet is something worth exploring further, and given its recent delay to next year, there's plenty of opportunity for Typhoon Games to tighten things up and deliver on a title oozing with promise.
Journey to the Savage Planet, from developer Typhoon Games and publisher 505 Games, launches on January 28th 2020 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.