|Journey to the Savage Planet|
|release date||January 2020|
Players are used to being wary and distrustful of Epic Games Store exclusives. Often such games suffer from technical and conceptual flaws, especially when it comes to a small development team. Theoretically, Journey to the Savage Planet could have been included in this list – the first project from the young studio Typhoon Studios in the hackneyed survival genre. In fact, it turned out that this is a good fun metroidvania, which can captivate well for several evenings.
We find ourselves in the role of an explorer of distant worlds on a wild alien planet, where Kindred Aerospace Corporation sent us. Our ship, of course, broke down, and now we have to fix it, simultaneously studying the surroundings.
Standard premise for a survival and crafting game. But the story is told in a light humorous manner. Instead of intriguing pathos, we are greeted by funny introductory videos, diluted with advertising that accompanies each visit to the ship. This is not a serious scientific journey to another world, but a fun adventure where your character kicks the local goggle-eyed animals, eats all sorts of obscure substances and dashingly jumps across the platforms in search of secrets.
The very first task, which requires contact with living creatures, offers to feed cute plump birds with food so that they produce valuable excrement with carbon – the main raw material for subsequent crafting. And after creating a pistol, we make our way from the caves to open spaces, where we begin to gradually explore the available territory.
On the horizon, a mysterious alien tower looms in the clouds, which is the ultimate goal of the journey. But in order to get to it, you need to gradually explore all the locations and perform a number of auxiliary actions. For example, you need a rocket pack for big jumps. We study the marked zone, solve some problem, get a new element and resources, create a satchel out of them. We penetrate with him into a new zone, get new tasks, look for elements to create a local hook-cat, after which we climb even higher and face the following tasks.
Journey to the Savage Planet is tied to a staged leveling, where each new piece of equipment allows you to penetrate new zones. At the same time, from the very beginning, the game demonstrates its openness, where there are many tricky paths, points for hooking and various remote platforms. Everything is within sight, but many places cannot be reached without the necessary tools.
As he explores the world, our hero gets the opportunity to collect various seeds and mucus from plants, which also help in further advancement. Certain fruits replace grenades, allowing them to breach fragile walls. Acidic fruits can dissolve cocoons and growths on alien machinery.
In addition to key places tied to the story progression, the game is replete with many secrets. It is worth turning a little to the side, jumping onto a distant cliff or making your way into a small cave – everywhere you will find a reward. These can be fruits that increase the character’s characteristics (health, stamina), an alien alloy for creating upgrades, and other resources. The rewards are not always comparable to the efforts that were made to penetrate the secret zone, but an attentive researcher gets more opportunities for pumping. And besides the obligatory upgrades, you can increase the effectiveness of your pistol, the capacity of your bag, and so on.
If at the first stages the hero is able to jump over small crevices, then closer to the final he can famously jump on special springboards and glide between rocky islands floating in the air. For such mechanics, the accuracy of movements and the responsiveness of the character play an important role. And this is not to complain about – the hero obediently fulfills all the commands, does not slip off small ledges and does not move out of inertia after long jumps.
Periodically, we are placed in front of a sealed door or altar, requiring us to activate them through interaction with related objects. In the simplest case, these are three hidden points that you need to get to through the intricacies of the landscape. But towards the end, the puzzles become more complicated and acquire more and more conditions.
Often Journey to the Savage Planet forces you to counteract aggressive little animals. Flying octopuses and spinning lizards can attack us. The confrontation with the radar plant is funny. If you get into the visibility zone of this enemy, he will bombard you with bombs, and he will become invulnerable. But if you quietly sneak up on him from the back, you will neutralize the threat with one poke in the eye.
At certain stages, before entering a new location, we are expected to meet with bosses. It could be an overgrown crab spitting fire, or a huge predatory vine that filled a large cave. Each enemy is unique in its own way, has special attacks and vulnerabilities. And if the battles with simple little animals may seem simple, then the skirmishes with the bosses turn into peppy action. Here you have to combine fast jumps and shooting, instantly dodge retaliatory attacks. At such moments, the game opens up from the other side and shows how dynamic it can be.
Journey to the Savage Planet is caricatured and hilarious thanks to the distinctive style that comes through in the unusual design of plants and animals, from harmless goggle-eyed birds to huge menacing bosses. Interaction with the world is implemented in a funny way – the hero unceremoniously drills ancient artifacts and grunts funny when jumping. And all the tasks are ironically commented by the AI of the ship. Such elements create a feeling of light, relaxed atmosphere.
Often the visual style helps developers to hide the technical imperfection of the graphics. This is partly true for Journey to the Savage Planet, but the game world is very diverse and full of diverse elements. And in large spaces, we can observe beautiful alien panoramas with a high rendering range.
The game uses the Unreal Engine 4 and runs in the DirectX 11 environment. It has moderate system requirements. Real performance can be judged from our testing of video cards. Below is the updated data from the Games vs. Graphics Cards 6 review, with test results at three resolutions.
For testing, a run was repeated from the spacecraft landing zone to the local jungle. Maximum graphics settings Epic.
Full comfort at a resolution of 1920×1080 will be provided by the GeForce GTX 1060. And even the old GeForce GTX 780 Ti video card shows good results, overtaking the Radeon RX 580. Older video cards showed the same results, resting on the potential of the processor.
With an increase in resolution, we again observe a situation where the processor does not allow jumping above 80 fps. For a comfortable game, a GeForce GTX 1660 Super and a simple version of the Radeon RX 5600 XT (without an updated BIOS) are enough.
The GeForce RTX 2070 Super handles 4K resolution reasonably well, more powerful NVIDIA models are capable of delivering 60 fps and higher. Top AMD solutions with a resolution of 3840×2160 cannot cope with Ultra graphics.
Journey to the Savage Planet is a fun adventure set in an unusual alien world that focuses on exploring locations and leveling up, which opens up new opportunities for further exploration. The game constantly throws up new puzzles as you move deeper into the planet. This is a well-made metroidvania, where the process dominates the plot component. In some places, there is not enough strong motivation, which is why what is happening turns into a banal pursuit of collectibles. But since Journey to the Savage Planet can be completed in several evenings, it does not have time to become boring. And the ability to play with a friend in cooperative mode will make the process of exploring a strange world even more fun.