Journey to the Savage Planet is a game I wish never ended. While playing it, I was absolutely wrapped up in the world, the environments, the plants, animals and my mission. Journey to the Savage Planet is a game that came out of left-field for me and one that is a very welcome surprise indeed. From start to finish it’s polished, engaging, very funny and always dangling a carrot. There’s always something to do in Journey to the Savage Planet and it’s always entertaining.
Essentially a Metroidvania title, Journey to the Savage Planet feels a LOT like an homage to Metroid Prime. You’re stranded on an alien world. You need to repair your ship, scan the wildlife and environment and gradually collect upgrades to better explore.
It differs from Metroid in that its tongue is firmly planted in its cheek. Journey to the Savage Planet doesn’t take itself, or anything really, too seriously.
And that’s a good thing.
Journey to the Savage Planet Review
You work for Kindred, the 4th best interstellar exploration company and your mission is to explore the mysteries of AR-Y 26. You’ll be accompanied on your adventure by the ship’s AI, E.K.O. who provides regular, sassy feedback on your comings and goings as well as offering tips and hints in case you get stuck.
On leaving your ship, you venture out with almost nothing. No weapon, no items, just the suit on your back and a general direction to go provided by E.K.O.
It’s not long before you’re collecting different elements — Silicon, Carbon and Aluminium — fuel for your ship, Alien Alloy (upgradium) and Orange Goo to improve your health and stamina. The more you earn, the more you’re able to upgrade your items and abilities. As you gradually unlock these items and abilities, the world map starts to open up and you can explore further.
Like Metroid, some upgrades require special items found in the world. For example, to be able to properly handle explosive plants — Bombegranets — you’ll need to find an alien shrine, examine it and then build the upgrade. As you continue you’ll unlock acid bombs, electric stun fruit, a grappling beam, flying fox and more.
Initially, exploration is slow going and making your way across the planet takes quite some time. However, by the later stages of the game, you’ll be soaring through the sky, grappling along flying fox cables, leaping up cliff faces with your jetpack and dodging side to side with speed. Movement really is a winner in Journey to the Savage Planet which helps make exploring AR-Y 26 a total pleasure.
Another facet of Journey to the Savage Planet that makes AR-Y 26 a whole lot of fun is the environmental design. While the planet itself is pretty small and the areas you explore are as well, there’s a tonne of variety both visually and mechanically. You’ll move from snowy, ice-covered regions, through a lush forest, up mountains, in dark, dank caves, past lava and high up above the ground on floating platforms.
Everything about AR-Y 26 feels suitably alien, yet familiar. It’s a great balance as it means players will be able to explore the game and remember certain locations without getting too lost. If the environments were too alien and too foreign, exploring would have become a chore.
Shooting and Looting
While the majority of what you’ll be doing in Journey to the Savage Planet is exploring, backtracking, unlocking upgrades and tracking down collectibles, there is a little bit of combat. Thankfully, it’s not the focus. Your laser piston deals pretty significant damage to the weaker, non-aggressive creatures on the planet and it takes out the smaller predators with ease too.
However, the larger, mini-boss or sub-boss style enemies each have a specific puzzle element to them. Much like Metroid Prime, you’re going to need to figure out their weakness or pattern in order to defeat them. The shooting mechanics are quite slow and definitely not similar to an FPS. This is an exploration game first and the combat is incidental.
Eventually, you’ll unlock all regions in the game and make your way to the denouement. Once you see the credits roll, you’ll likely have plenty left to collect as there are tonnes of hidden and secret locations teeming with items and collectibles.
There’s a lot of love that’s gone into the creation of Journey to the Savage Planet and it shows. The attention to the player experience is top-notch and is wonderful for the duration. It’s been a very long time since the Metroid Prime Trilogy was wowing gamers and while this might not be quite as good, it’s very close.
Journey to the Savage Planet is the first good surprise for 2020 and it’s definitely a game for fans of adventure, exploration and, of course, Metroid Prime.
Journey to the Savage Planet was reviewed on PS4 using a digital copy provided by the developer.
Game Title: Journey to the Savage Planet