Last generation of consoles was plagued with drab, grey and brown soulless titles, which all looked alike, and had very little to offer in any department, and while the variety has certainly improved during the generation’s last year, then it has still left a lot to be desired. However, as we have turned our backs at PlayStation 3s, and Xbox 360s, we’ve all been hit around our heads with vibrant and exciting titles, which were ten times more captivating than the games of the previous generation.
Many were satisfied with titles such as Infamous Second Son, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Fortnite, then such didn’t really satisfy the developers, and publishers alike. And they begun to push ever more eccentric titles such as The Outer Worlds, and much more relevant, Journey to the Savage Planet. While sharing some similarities with the prior, is ten, if not twenty times more vibrant and exciting.
Journey to the Savage Planet’s colour palette is incredibly eye catching, if not a little distracting. It is full to the brim of colours such as Lava Red, Electric Yellow, or Ocean Blue. And all those colours are constantly jumping out of the screen, and right in your face, as you are making your way through the titular Savage Planet.
Use of vibrant, and eye-catching colours is by far one of the title’s strongest sides. But what makes those really tick, is the over the top, caricature like design of all in-game models – and by all, I mean each and every single one. From fauna and flora, through the character models, all the way down to the level design, Journey to the Savage Planet is simply superb. The title’s models are incredibly pleasing, and even funny at times, then unfortunately, they can all be counted on the fingers of a single hand.
Journey to the Savage Planet, is by no means a triple-A title, and its £25 price tag, clearly shows that. However, the title’s miniscule number of models, makes it sometimes feel a little low-budget. As for the 60/70% of your playthrough you will come across two models of fauna, which differs only in colour. And sure, there are major additions to this pool, but it comes incredibly late into the game, and a lot of it can be missed, as certain animals are locked to very particular environments.
When it comes to core gameplay mechanics, Journey to the Savage Planet is full of exciting methods of traversal, as well as forms of combat. And the title’s RPG like progression systems, only further elevates the enjoyment which you can syphon out of Journey to the Savage Planet. Jumping, double jumping boosting, rappling, zip-lining, you name it, Journey to the Savage Planet has it all. And the core exploration, and traversal are the two most enjoyable gameplay aspects of the experience.
As you have probably seen on some of the title’s trailers, Journey to the Savage Planet also feature a steady dose of combat, and boss fights. And while the boss fights are rather enjoyable, then they all feel rather similar, as they’re always a mix of jumping puzzles, and weak-spot shooting. But that being said, they are not overly irritating, and feature the right mix of difficulty, and fun factor.
Unlike traversal, the combat of Journey to the Savage Planet is rather simplistic. You are given a single gun, with an alternate fire mode – and that’s it. And the only thing that excuses the lack of additional weapons, is the inclusion of additional tools such as grenades, corrosive bombs, lightning fruit, and more. And those do ease the combat significantly, then they are not necessary, and the title can be completed without ever touching them. And the only time when you’ll actually need any of those tools is during puzzles, and traversal.
With how meagre the title’s combat is, and how advanced are the traversal and puzzle mechanics, it almost feels like the combat has been ham-fisted into the game, just for the sake of it. And thankfully, the combat is rather smooth and nonintrusive, so it doesn’t dampen the experience in any way. However, Journey to the Savage Planet could have achieved much greater heights, if it only concentrated more on exploration, and left the combat behind. Because in the end, the title’s exploration could have been even better, while the combat appears rather pale in comparison to the title’s other features.
As I’ve mentioned previously, Journey to the Savage Planet features some RPG elements, and those are all centred on crafting additional components, using discovered resources, then ultimately, all the upgrades are meaningful and exciting enough, to warrant both your time, and your effort. And in all honesty, the pursuit of the new upgrades, and ultimately new levels, is so incredibly enjoyable, that it at times overshadows the title’s core narrative. And this is mainly due to the fact that pursuit of new upgrades has you explore every additional nook and cranny, whereas as the core plot, has you somewhat gun down a rather narrow path.
In order to just complete Journey to the Savage Planet, you have to explore maybe 60% of the game’s environments, if not less. But in order to craft all the upgrades, and fully level-up your character, you need to explore everything that title has to offer. And Journey to the Savage Planet is at its most satisfying, when you leave the main narrative in the bin, and just submerge yourself in the sea of additional content which the title has to offer. And you can do that either alone, or with a coop partner.
Coop, has seen a re-emergence in the recent years. However, the vast majority of modern coop games are limited to couch-coop indie titles, or throwaway modes within AAA games. And Journey to the Savage Planet is one of the very few current gen games, which allows you to play it from start to finish, with a partner in-hand. However, if you have nobody to play with, or simply want to play alone, then that’s not a problem, as all of Journey to the Savage Planet content can be experience in single player as well as coop.
Lastly, I feel that it is important to point out that Journey to the Savage Planet does feature its fair share of minor issues. It features no major bugs, or glitches, but the title’s exploration can be easily gamed, through abuse of the double-jumping mechanic. And more often than not, you will be able to access seemingly blocked off area, by simply scaling objects, which you shouldn’t really be able to scale. Finally, the last minor issue with the title, is that some of its textures, can look a little underwhelming at times, and can stick-out of the environments like a sore thumb. But if you’ve played Destiny 2, which is full of issues like that, then Journey to the Savage Planet is nothing for you to worry about.
Initially, I wanted to give Journey to the Savage Planet an above-average 7/10. However, after I have stuck with this particular title for longer, I begun to appreciate its fascinating simplicity more and more. And after I gave it a go in co-op, I came to realise that Journey to the Savage Planet is a much better game than I initially thought, and in the end, I was hovering around the impressive high-end score. But ultimately, the rather unnecessary combat, and the lack of balance in terms of quality of gameplay, made me step down a peg lower, Journey to the Savage planet may not be the next big thing, but it is solid enough for Typhoon Studios’ first (and last) outing into independent development.