At PAX West 2019, we got the chance to get hands-on time with a new science fiction adventure, Journey to the Savage Planet. More specifically, we got the chance to try out an all new location, Biome 2, and play the newly announced co-op mode.
Co-op games seem to be making a comeback with this year’s fall launches focusing on cooperative play and/or multiplayer modes. While you can enjoy Journey to the Savage Planet alone, you can get so much more out of the title when exploring as a duo. Developed by Typhoon Studios and published by 505 Games, this upbeat first-person adventure game offers up a load of exploration as you play through a colorful alien world filled with weird and adorable creatures, all inspired by the Atom Punk visions of the Golden Age of Science Fiction.
As an explorer from the fourth-best interstellar exploration space corporation – Kindred Aerospace, you’re there to catalog the flora and fauna and to decide if the planet is good enough for human life. With exploration, crafting, platforming, and a load comedic relief, Journey to the Savage Planet is a lighthearted and fun game that’s sure to take days of your time.
Perhaps one of the most immersive elements of the game is it’s difficult and dynamic platforming elements. They work extremely well and add elements of difficulty to the beautiful and vibrant world. Upgrade your equipment to open new areas of the world accessible only through different types of movement and of course, harvest resources from the planet and its lifeforms, and find hidden secrets, shrines to unlock new tools.
The PAX West demo offered up the first look at Journey to the Savage Planet’s co-op mode, so of course it deserves a truly co-op review. Keep reading for Matt and mine’s thoughts on the demo.
What was your favorite mechanic?
Kate: Hands down, my favorite mechanic was the platforming. While the combat was fun and inventive, the platforming aspect of the game was beautifully challenging. Relying on timing, every section of the planet required platforming to be accessible. This made movement a challenge and punished you for not grappling at the right time. But, as the demo progressed, it taught you everything you needed to succeed. One of the best platforming mechanics was creating your own anchors by using seeds to allow you to grapple across large areas. While it won’t be easy for those unfamiliar with platforms or who are bad at timing, if you stick with it, the game eases up on the challenge enough to let you enter its world.
Matt: My favorite mechanic was being able to create anchors from seeds that allowed you to grapple across large areas. This along with a jetpack, because everyone knows that having a jetpack is always a plus. These two things alone allowed you to platform around the world and be creative in doing it. I am also a fan of exploration games, so having a scanning mechanic is always a plus. This scanning ability allowed you to learn about the planet as you traveled and gave you important information that allowed you to find either useful plants or be cautious around certain creatures.
How did the co-op play?
Kate: Since the demo offered to press for appointments was the debut of the new co-op mode, I didn’t even know that the game had a single-player or started that way. The co-op was seamless and each moment of exploration was great to experience with a partner, especially when it came to solving the puzzle of melting amber to allow a resource to flow.
Matt: The game allows you to have a partner to venture around the planet exploring and can be a lot of fun, especially when encountering unknown species, as you never know what will happen. I accidentally blew both my partner and me up trying to mess around with explosive seeds. No one was upset or anything, it was just funny. I do like that they added the challenge of sharing resources and did a nice balance of it as well. It was challenging and made both of you work together in resource management and agree upon who got to spend the resources crafting and leveling up. They gave both players resources, so while there was some management, it wasn’t a killer in gathering resources. In just the demo, we were able to unlock and level up some perks all by working together and focusing on what resources we needed to gather.
What was the most creative piece of Journey to the Savage Planet?
Kate: The most creative piece of the game was the world itself and how we had a choice on how we interact with it. Bright colors and big-eyed enemies created a world that is warm and friendly. This made it hard to kill the creatures in it – but that’s the cool thing, you don’t have to. Journey to the Savage Planet has the most adorable creatures. Large-eyed and beaked, the little alien chickens offer up laughs and resources. While I love combat games, I’ve loved games like Astroneer which actively chose to make a game without guns or killing. That said, Journey to the Savage Planet offers up a balance between exploration and combat.
While the little space chickens offer up vital resources, you can choose to kill them to gain them or you can choose to feed them and collect their poop. Both ways are viable and ultimately, if you’re looking for a little comedy, you can punt the precious babies who make a sadly adorable noise.
Matt: The world is beautiful and creature design is so cute, but the most creative part to me is the thrown in comedy and jokes. You are working for the fourth-best interstellar exploration space corporation. Yes, the fourth-best and they really play up that it is indeed the fourth-best. Your command post has TV ads running in the background for poorly designed test products, they have computers simulating you doing paperwork, and just reading some ship logs are just so much fun to read. The devs talked about how you see more and more of this as you progress through the story and it is just an added layer to the game that I really enjoyed.
In just 30-minutes, the co-op demo for Journey to the Savage Planet blew us away. Since each of our respective sessions was completed with the help of one of the devs on the game, we can’t wait to step into the world of the game together.
Journey to the Savage Planet is scheduled to release January of 2020 on PlayStation4, Xbox One, and the Epic Games Store.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.