Sunday, February 16, 2020

Eric Vs. 365 - Day 231 - Journey to the Savage Planet

Journey to the Savage Planet is one of the pleasant surprises so far of 2020. It's like if Metroid Prime had a sense of humor. It's like No Man's Sky if exploring a planet and collecting resources was actually interesting. It's bright and colorful and goofy and generally a lot of fun. The combat is awful. Yeah, it's a whole lot of fun. Except that one part. Read on for more and to watch gameplay.

In Journey to the Savage Planet you play as an explorer sent to a far away planet to determine whether it is suitable for humans to live on. The planet you end up on is full of strange orange goo, land masses floating in the sky, and all sorts of goofy creatures. It's bright and colorful and sounds awesome and is surprisingly engrossing.

It is a first person game where your primary focuses are on scanning flora and fauna and alien artifacts. As you explore you earn new upgrades that let you double or triple jump, grapple on to set points in the environments, stomp down from the air, and more. It is very much a "Metroidvania" where you return to previous areas over and over again with new abilities so you can reach previously unreachable areas or find secret stuff. The first-person platforming is solid and once you get a few abilities you can jump and grapple and zip around areas with surprising ease. 

The only bad part of Journey to the Savage Planet is the combat. Thankfully, there actually isn't a ton of combat and most of the creatures you come across aren't aggressive, but the handful of times you actually have to fight something is pretty awful. First, there's no lock on button, which was just a huge mistake. Second, the controls are really imprecise and don't feel good when you're trying to precisely aim at stuff. It just doesn't work well. Third, your weapon absolutely sucks. You only have a handful of shots before it has to recharge and it's a weak piddly pea shooter for pretty much the entire run of the game. Shooting stuff sucks. There are a handful of actual real "has a health bar and everything" boss fights that really highlight the problems with the combat. The game simply asks far more of you than the awful combat can keep up with. You'll beat the bosses with generally no problems, but it just isn't satisfying or fun to do so.

Outside of combat, the game is really great, though. Exploration is satisfying and collecting every last bit of goo and resources is surprisingly addictive. I just kept going back in until I had it all. I played for 17-hours to get to about 98% completion (there's some alien artifacts or some crap I don't care about) and I'm done. It was generally a lot of fun. For $30, I'd highly recommend it. 

Look at that, an indie game that was actually appropriately priced so it's easy to recommend. You don't see that every day.