Every year at E3, I tend to find a game that has the potential to be a sleeper hit. In 2017, that was Outreach for me, while Control was that way for 2018. This year, I didn’t have a chance to check out an updated build of Control. Despite this, 505 Games did give me a chance to play Journey to the Savage Planet, the first game from Typhoon Studios, a new development team founded by Alex Hutchinson, Director of Assassin’s Creed III and Far Cry 4. Using a humorous presentation and a strong focus on exploration, this game could easily become a surprise title next year.
The premise of Journey to the Savage Planet is that you are a new recruit to a company called Kindred Aerospace. Kindred takes pride in proclaiming itself as the fourth best interstellar exploration program, and it really shows. Given no real direction, the player lands on an unexplored planet, tasked with seeing if it’s suitable for human life. This means researching the various lifeforms, be it alien or plant life. It also means doing Metroid Prime style scans of everything you can find. Equipped with an upgradable laser pistol and a few cans of GROB, the player takes on the task at their own pace.
Leaving a space ship, the player is able to jump and climb along the terrain, scanning organic life during exploration. Juicy upgrade orbs are scattered for players to find and eat to improve their health and stamina. The ships AI will tell you it’s dangerous and may cause mutation, but it’s worth it for better survival odds. Exploring really does share a lot in common with games like Metroid Prime and No Man’s Sky. Players can double jump and will have various platforming challenges in a colorful world. There’s even a grappling beam upgrade that can be crafted, though during my demo, I never gathered all the materials.
The wildlife was pretty diverse. You have the Pufferbirds, which are cute little farting creatures that love the taste of GROB. There’s a creature that preys on Pufferbirds that can best be described as a sentient blender. Pikemanders are large beasts that can essentially do Sonic the Hedgehog’s spin dash move, their only weak point being orbs on their tail. Finally, there were these strange jellyfish-like creatures that float around and attack periodically. If the enemy variety continues to be like this, then surely players won’t get too bored with what they fight.
Puzzles and platforming challenges will give players moments to use their head. Using cans of GROB, players can lure Pufferbirds to the blender creatures. This allows them to get sucked into their bladed mouth to destroy special vines. There are various other tools that players can obtain in the game, but it’ll take some work to get them. Like the grappling beam, players can collect materials to craft items from blueprints or even develop upgrades. It’s also worth mentioning that if the player dies, they respawn and have to gather their collection of materials.
Overall, Journey to the Savage Planet seems charming and funny in its own way. I can really see this game gaining popularity from word of mouth, as it’s not really a AAA title. Even so, the graphics are fun and vibrant, and the presentation is a clever way to keep players entertained. The game is currently set to release early next year, so keep an eye out for it. It’ll release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC through the Epic Games Store.
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