The fourth best review

Every year there is one game that I look back on and realize was a true sleeper hit. I remember the original trailer for Journey to the Savage Planet. I thought it looked like just another survival game in a crowded genre. I didn’t have a lot of interest. Yet here we are in the first month of 2020 and it is already on my short list for games of the year. It combines familiar elements with a touch of humor and a great loop that makes it fun from beginning to end. While there are plenty of titles being delayed, those looking for a good romp early in 2020 need to look no further than Typhoon Studios’ first effort.

When I booted the game up I got some serious No Man’s Sky vibes. The color palette and eccentric design makes it feel like a planet I might have stumbled across in that game. Then as it settles in, I realize that this is a much more compact and focused game. The mission is clear, the objectives are simple, and the exploration is fantastic.

MSRP: $29.99
Platforms: XB1 (reviewed), PS4, PC
Price I’d Pay: $29.99

The idea is that the player is an employee of the fourth best interstellar exploration company on a journey to learn as much about the planet as possible. Their ship crashes and while they are there also need to repair it. The humor kicks in immediately with messages from the home office, a string of emails that are comically written, and the commercials. I loved these things. I would return to my ship often just to see if a new one was available. They are spoof commercials that remind me of something directly out of Adult Swim. The humor lands for the most part and I found it scattered throughout the game. It adds a nice flavor to the exploration.

This is a first-person experience, and while it takes a little time to adjust, it works well. There are light combat and exploration aspects that remind me of titles like Metroid. Each upgrade comes with new travel abilities and are required to move forward. When I died, I could do a corpse run to grab my crafting materials, but it never felt oppressive. There are portals scattered throughout that meant anytime I needed to get somewhere it wasn’t a long haul.

Exploring each world was fun. There are four main areas and each one has its own set of creatures and objects to scan, as well as a host of hidden items and upgrades. Farming can become tedious after a while in order to craft upgrades, but never detrimental. Every time I found myself bored of doing something, the game seemed to pick it up. While the journey is only 10-15 hours, it never felt like it was stretching out the pace for padding.

There is also a co-op aspect of the game. Players can join in on their friends’ adventure. Sadly that progress is not carried over so I spent most of my time going it alone. It is a neat diversion, but not a mode I would find myself playing a lot simply due to progression.

Visually the game is very colorful and I love the creature designs. They feel as wacky and animated as the writing. Enemies explode into large blobs of goo while spraying crafting materials around. The animations on killing enemies are also hilarious. One enemy required me to sneak up behind it then poke it in its one eye to take it down. I love the humor and setting of this world.

Journey to the Savage Planet is a great freshman effort from Typhoon and one of the early surprises of 2020. I will be thinking about this game as the year goes on as one of the best surprises I had literally no interest in upon kicking it off. If you enjoy exploration games like Metroid Prime I highly suggest giving it a go. The charm, humor, and game loop are just fresh enough to keep players interested in this relatively slow time for releases. The price tag also doesn’t hurt.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Wonderfully colorful world
  • The commercials
  • Satisfying loop
  • Combat issues
Written by
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.