Journey to the Savage Planet invites comparisons with No Man’s Sky, mainly because of its gaudy, alien palette. But the similarities end with their similar colors. Savage Planet is an entirely different beast.
It’s set on a single planet, every inch of which has been carefully designed by developer Typhoon Studios. Players are tasked with investigating the planet’s various biomes in order to discover if it is amenable to human colonization.
Richly textured plant-life and weird fungi live and prosper alongside cute little creatures, that do no harm to anyone. That is, until I arrive, heaving a pistol. I huff and puff through the world, causing mayhem, as I try to collect the materials I need to craft the tools I require to complete the mission.
It’s a comedy romp of sorts, in which I’m obliged to use various skills to advance. Each scene opens out into new and surprising vistas, with their own challenges. Apart from exploration and experimentation, I also need to solve puzzles, jump across platforms and negotiate tricky encounters with increasingly hostile aliens. Stealth is a useful tactic, especially as my pistol is really not up to much.
The game’s goal is a massive tower, which I try to ascend, using a twisty path of my own devising, as I search out both the best route, and the tools I’ll need to continue. One of the first challenges is to make a grappling hook, for example.
Montreal-based Typhoon Studios is headed up by Alex Hutchinson, who is best known as creative director on Far Cry 4 and Assassin’s Creed 3. The game is being published by 505 Games and will be released early next year on PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One.