Journey to the Savage Planet Feels Like A Game I've Played Many Times Before

Despite how colorful it is, planet exploration is a little drab in Journey to the Savage Planet.

Journey to the Savage Planet reminds me of a lot of games. Immediately upon exiting my spaceship, I'm told of a tool I have for harvesting plants and weird creatures; a scanner to collect data. I can get into trouble with the round bird critters if I aim my gun a certain way. The world I'm on is very, very colorful. The sense of humor is light and tongue in cheek. If this all sounds familiar, that's because we've all played this sort of game before. In Satisfactory. In No Man's Sky. In Astroneer. Even, to an extent, in Destiny.

But this is Journey to the Savage Planet from Typhoon Studios, and this is our first hands-on with the vibrant, cheeky adventure game. As promised in trailers, you're a new recruit to the Kindred Aerospace Pioneer Program, dubbed as the "4th Best" space exploration corporation. Your goal is to explore an uncharted planet, catalog what lives on it, and deem it habitable for humans. Or not.

Its world is immediately eye-catching, and it's definitively not procedurally generated unlike most others in the sci-fi exploration genre. Climates change from bristling cold to tropical paradise with a hop across the planet's islands, and the creatures change to match. In one instance, when crossing what I thought was a frozen lake, the ground beneath me shattered. I had to take out some flying octopus things, and that was that. The problem is, that was the most exciting part of my whole demo.

Journey to the Savage Planet is one of those aimless sorts of exploration games. There are waypoints you can follow, sure, but your own curiosity is the main drive. For instance, I found myself in a giant lava-flowing cave at one point. I hopped across some rocks to get to the other side, neglected to find anything interesting with my scanner in the new area, and turned right back around to leave. My time with Journey to the Savage Planet was a lot of that; going somewhere, not being sure what to do even as I sifted through menus and objectives while aimlessly scanning things, before giving up and moving along.

For pure exploration game fans, I'm sure there's a lot to love. The environments are pretty; there's a lot to craft and mysterious things to chase down. It's the sort of game that's admittedly hard to demo, as we were given relatively free reign in a sliver of a world with a few recommended objectives, like crafting a hook that can grapple to certain flowers.

Unfortunately, the objective markers were obtuse and the descriptions in menus unclear, so I never got around to crafting that grappling hook. It told me to find some element, without telling me where it comes from. I aimlessly wandered around, shooting flowers and other plants in the hope I would find it, but had no luck. Luckily, I at least completed another objective, as I happened upon a strange alien-built stone gazebo, which I scanned and thus unlocked a new teleportation point so I could easily zip around the planet.

It's a jungle out there. | Typhoon Studios/505 Games

I also found a sentient flower mini-boss that spit things at me. I was advised by a nearby representative to sneak around and whack it rather than take it on aggressively. Combat in general feels fine, if not a little one note. Without a larger sense of what I'm building toward, gathering goods and cataloging flora and fauna didn't have much impact.

The biggest takeaway I had from Journey to the Savage Planet was a pervasive feeling of deja vu. In my notebook, I scribbled "I have played this game before;" not in a literal sense, but in an "I don't know what the hook of this game is" way.

I thought back to other adventure games of its type. No Man's Sky's hook is the vastness of its procedurally generated universe. Astroneer's angle is its pastel colors and overall chill vibe. Satisfactory has its factory building focus in between the vibrant planet exploration. The humor in Journey to the Savage Planet also reminds me of Destiny at its worst, like the pestering A.I. Failsafe on the planet Nessus. Even Obsidian's upcoming The Outer Worlds shares a color palette that has made me confuse it with Journey to the Savage Planet on multiple occasions. We'll see if Journey to the Savage Planet shakes out a more memorable identity when it releases in 2020 for PC on the Epic Games Store, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Tagged with 505 Games, Adventure, E3 2019, Opinions, PC, PlayStation 4, Survival, Typhoon Studios, Xbox One.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Read this next

The Game Awards 2018 News Recap: Far Cry New Dawn, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, Mortal Kombat 11, The Outer Worlds, and More

It was a packed night of reveals at The Game Awards. Here are all the announcements!

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Snags The Headliner Spot At Evo 2019

Street Fighter will be a little bit earlier this year.

Mega Man X is Back!...On Mobile

No, it's not Mega Man X9 (yet), but at least you get to play as Cinnamon.

Elsinore Review

What a piece of work is a man.

Stardew Valley Fish Guide

Fishing is one of the best ways to make money in Stardew Valley. Here’s all of the info you need to know.

More Opinions

Blacksad: Under the Skin Stars a Feline as a Detective, But It's No Kid-Friendly Zootopia

Blacksad: Under the Skin is like volume 2.5 in terms of when it takes place in the comic book series.

Splatoon 2 Players Are Dressing Up For The End Of The World

We're near the end of Splatoon 2's updates and events, but it's going out in style.

Sky: Children of the Light Might Be the Best Looking Mobile Game Ever

Thatgamecompany's long-awaited follow-up to Journey has some beautiful clouds, and it looks surprisingly great on mobile too.

Metal Gear Solid 2's Commentary On America On The Brink Resonates Just As Strong Today

An essay on Metal Gear Solid 2, from the new book collection of Metal Gear Solid essays called Okay, Hero.

More on PC

Elsinore Review

What a piece of work is a man.

Stardew Valley Fish Guide

Fishing is one of the best ways to make money in Stardew Valley. Here’s all of the info you need to know.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare Release Date - Platforms, DLC

Call of Duty Modern Warfare is a re-imagining of the 2007 classic. Here’s what you need to know.

NBA 2K20 Top Shooters - Best Shooters, Highest Shot Rating

If you want to put together a great team in NBA 2K20, you’ll need great shooters. Here are the best Shooters in NBA 2K20.

NBA 2K20 Ratings - All the Best NBA 2K20 Player Ratings We Know So Far

The player rating for NBA 2K20 have started to be revealed. Here’s what we know so far.

Fortnite Season 10 Start Date - Mecha Versus Monster Battle, When Does Season 10 in Fortnite Start?

Fortnite is set to change once again. Here’s what we know about Fortnite Season 10 so far, including a start date, and more.

More Adventure Games

Elsinore Review

What a piece of work is a man.

"Eventually, All of Our Games Will Be Safely in the Cloud Too and We'll Feel Great About It"

THIS WEEK IN BUSINESS | Google responds to legitimate concerns about Stadia by talking to would-be customers like they are toddlers.

Blacksad: Under the Skin Stars a Feline as a Detective, But It's No Kid-Friendly Zootopia

Blacksad: Under the Skin is like volume 2.5 in terms of when it takes place in the comic book series.

Sky: Children of the Light Might Be the Best Looking Mobile Game Ever

Thatgamecompany's long-awaited follow-up to Journey has some beautiful clouds, and it looks surprisingly great on mobile too.