by Henry Stockdale
reviewed on PC
Kindred Aerospaceís Golden Age Of Exploration
The late 1930s to 1950s were a turning point for Sci-Fi, often known as the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Itís when the genre gained wider public recognition and established many conventions weíve come to expect, aiming more for realism than funny gadgets. Focusing on adventure and exploration, Typhoon Studios seeks to invoke nostalgia from this era by satirising it with its debut title, Journey To The Savage Planet. Sent to explore an uncharted planet in a far corner of the universe, itís a fantastic light-hearted adventure and one that's worth your time.
Playing as an unnamed explorer, you start as a recruit to Kindred Aerospaceís pioneer program, your mission being to explore planet AR-Y26 in the hopes of finding a new home for humanity, piloting a spaceship called the Javelin. Hope doesnít pay the bills however and Kindred only provided enough fuel for a one-way journey, never mind exploration equipment. Guided by companion AI E.K.O, you set out to explore AR-Y26 whilst also searching for a fuel source. Upon leaving the Javelin, you discover that itís not as uninhabited as previously expected and shows signs of intelligent life.
From here, youíll be tasked with researching AR-Y26 as Kindred send out missions, seeing you act as scientist, adventurer and cartographer all at once. You can track your missions through the journal, which also provides blueprint information on materials required for tech upgrades. Alongside main missions, optional science experiments such as gathering live samples or killing aliens in more creative manners are included, adding extra fun into the title. You can choose to explore alone but Typhoon Games have included online co-op for two players. It certainly enhances the adventure but sadly, local co-op is not an option.
Within the Javelin you can craft new items via a 3D printer once the blueprints are completed and these boost your exploration abilities, alongside providing gun upgrades. As you progress, youíll find sources of aluminium, carbon, silicon and alien alloys and these cover material costs for your upgrades, with some being dropped from aliens and others found within mineral deposits. During your adventure, E.K.O develops new items such as grappling hooks and a jet pack that allows for wider exploration.
The Vast Biomes of AR-Y26
As you travel across AR-Y26, you can scan the alien wildlife, points of interest, resources, flora and more, contained within a sub-journal called the ďKindexĒ, reminiscent of Metroid Primeís scanning system. You can also find alien edibles that power up your explorer by providing additional health and stamina. The game rewards further exploration, so your best chance of survival is to be thorough and it'll alert you if a secret is nearby. If you die on the adventure, your materials will drop but you can return to that area and collect them.
Whilst crafting and combat mechanics exist, itís an adventure game at heart with FPS/RPG elements, but itís hard to describe Journey To The Savage Planet as anything other than fantastic. The exploration mechanics are solid with plenty to investigate, missions are expansive and the Javelinís crafting system proves simple yet effective. Thereís a lot of fun to be had all around and with further content promised for the future, weíll soon have even more to explore.
There are four explorable biomes within Journey To The Savage Planet, bringing a range of locations like lava caves, alien towers, poisonous swamps, beautiful forests and more, all providing multiple crafting opportunities and ending with a boss battle. For players looking to go that one-step further, Typhoon also included a photo mode that comes with visual filters. Itís a visual delight, presenting a vibrant graphical style that really brings the world alive with well-designed creatures and a wide variety of interesting locations.
A Fantastic Journey
Typhoon Studios have done a tremendous job with their debut game, bringing us a vibrant adventure. Journey To The Savage Planet comes with plenty of exploration opportunities, refined gameplay mechanics, online co-op and a story that will keep you laughing. Itís hard to find fault here, lack of local co-op aside, and releasing with a mid-range price point, it comes highly recommended.
Visually Gorgeous, Immersive Adventure, Funny and Light-hearted Story
No Local Co-Op