‘Journey to the Savage Planet:’ A planet full of dreams

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‘Journey to the Savage Planet:’ A planet full of dreams

Image courtesy of SavagePlanetGame.com

Image courtesy of SavagePlanetGame.com

Image courtesy of SavagePlanetGame.com

Image courtesy of SavagePlanetGame.com

By Dominic D'Amico

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“Journey to the Savage Planet” is at its best when all its separate elements are running smoothly, in tandem with one another. Occasionally though, certain elements can go rogue and remove players from the experience. Luckily those rogue moments are few and far between, because all in all, “Journey to the Savage Planet” is an entertaining, mostly funny trip through a chimerical world packed with interesting sights, sounds and critters.

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Screen capture from “Journey to the Savage Planet.”

Story-wise, “Journey to the Savage Planet” starts with the player arriving on the far-off planet AR-Y26, supposedly devoid of intelligent life, with the goal of gathering data about the native plants and animals to see if it can be colonized. As an employee of Kindred Aerospace, the recently crowned “4th Best Stellar Exploration Company,” players have been sent without any sort of equipment for protection or traversal.

Instead, the player has been sent sent with a 3D printer that utilizes scavenged resources to create new gear, a snarky AI assistant named EKO and a vending machine full of a food paste called Grob. As players step out into the world, a massive alien tower rising above the landscape makes it apparent the world isn’t as devoid of intelligent life as previously thought.

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Screen capture from “Journey to the Savage Planet.”

But where games like “No Man’s Sky” take more serious approaches, “Journey to the Savage Planet” follows in the footsteps of games like the “Borderlands” series as well as “The Outer Worlds” with a satirical approach. As players scan the local flora and fauna, EKO chimes in with wry explanations. For example, scanning a plant that heals the player elicits the explanation “They’re drugs. But good drugs. For healing. Not fun.”

Inside the player’s ship, “The Javelin,” fake commercials play on the television for absurd, outlandish products. For the most part, the humor lands well, but occasionally a crude, crass attempt at a joke comes crashing out of nowhere and sours the experience.

In terms of gameplay, “Journey to the Savage Planet” combines Metroidvania style adventure gameplay with less than stellar shooting mechanics. Traversal across environments is a blast, especially once players start to collect upgrades to stamina and equipment.

Exploring the different environments will reveal treasures and secrets that require new or upgraded items, giving players activities and items to return for after beating the final boss. Combat, though, is kind of slow and hard to handle. Players often have to lead shots, plus there’s no way to aim down the sights. Instead, aiming with the weapon feels like the character just leaned their head forward a bit.

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Finally, the music for “Journey to the Savage Planet” is excellent. Twangy strings and guitars lend a bluegrass vibe to proceedings as players wander and explore. When the musical pace picks up during fights and boss battles, the music gives the whole affair a wonderfully frantic, improvised feeling.

From the first steps outside the main character’s spaceship into an icy, glacial crater at the start of the game, to grappling high in the sky across verdant floating islands in one of the final areas, “Journey to the Savage Planet” is an amazing sight to see. The combat could handle better and the occasional joke falls flat, but overall “Journey to the Savage Planet” is an incredibly worthwhile experience.

Overall rating: 8.0/10

This game was reviewed by Dominic D’Amico, playing on Xbox One S. Game code was provided by 505 Games.