Review Score: 4.5/5
It's fair to say that the premise of Journey to the Savage Planet is one we've seen many times in the past. In previews and teasers, it looked as if the game was going to be similar to No Man's Sky, but with a lot more colour and humour thrown in. Having had the opportunity to play through the vibrant and addictive space adventure, it's clear that it's all of this, but also a lot more.
Canadian video game development company Typhoon Studios have been preparing for the big release of their debut title for some time, so to see it finally come to fruition was surely an incredible moment for all involved.
The colonisation of a planet is usually at the centre of games of this sort, and it's no different here. What we know about the real-life history of colonisation however, is that it was often a very violent and unjust affair. Though this isn't a game which is going to bash you over the head with an education and history lesson, it does use satire in an extremely intelligent way to highlight the reality surrounding the situation your explorer finds themselves in.
It's this aspect of Journey to the Savage Planet which makes it such an addictive play. Yes, the Metroid Prime-esque exploration and upgrades are all fantastic elements, but the laugh-out-loud narrative and dialogue is what makes this game really pop. It's clear that the writing team have gone through their script with a fine-tooth comb, polishing up any rough edges so that every drop of comedy draws laughter. Your AI companion EKO is the source of plenty of these laughs, unafraid to point out the reality of your invader status.
The planet you find yourself on is one already inhabited by a bunch of different creatures, including the absolutely adorable Pufferbirds who don't wish you any harm; and the Baboushka birds which scream in terror whenever they see you heading in their direction.
There are also a whole bunch of different animals that will try to take you down as soon as they see you, such as the frustrating Jellywaft which float and shoot ink at you; as well as the challenging Boomerbang that you'll sometimes only see coming once it's flung itself into your face. Part of the beauty of meeting all of these different creatures is finding out just how they react to you, and how to deal with them if they turn out to be a problem.
It would be hard to describe this game as having a map that is open world, as you do actually have to follow the linear narrative to unlock new sections, but it feels so vast and packed full of unique details that you never really feel like you're having your hand held. Though you have to spend your time returning to your ship to upgrade your abilities as well as your weapons, the teleporters scattered throughout the planet allow you to get to and from those areas with ease.
Typhoon have smashed their first release out of the park, setting a very high bar for any future releases. They've dropped a game that you can pick up for 10 minutes, or four hours. It's for the casual gamer, as well as those of us who like to see every nook and cranny that a video game has to offer. It's packed full of colourful and creative inventions, and is a title that will stick with you for quite some time even when you reach its eventual conclusion.
Journey to the Savage Planet is available now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. A code for Xbox One was provided to Female First in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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