- Planet AR-Y 26, where I have mysteriously crash landed, is like one giant puzzle for the player to solve.
- Everything I need to survive on this hostile world can be obtained by scanning, shooting, and collecting the native fauna and flora.
- The company overlords at Kindred Aerospace are very, very interested in knowing more about the alien-made structures on the planet.
As I was resurrected back at the starship Javelin thanks to the
Bio-Replication Chamber, I made a quick mental note about the Giant Bombegranate
plant: “Explodes when kicked.”
This trial and error approach to exploration in the upcoming
to the Savage Planet, launching January 28 on Xbox One, is comical
and not-quite-as frustrating as I’d expect thanks to the inherent entertainment
that comes with a “What happens if I touch…” or “Is this cliff too high to jump
off?” methodology of charting an alien world. Not to mention the comedic violence
that occurs when I was encouraged to follow the game’s chaotic rule of space exploration:
shoot first, analyze later.
Planet AR-Y 26, where I have mysteriously crash landed, is
like one giant puzzle for the player to solve. As an astronaut for Kindred
Aerospace, which touts itself as the fourth-best interstellar exploration
company, it’s up to me to catalog and explore every inch of this strange, new
planet to determine its suitability for future colonization. And everything I
need to survive on this hostile world can be obtained by scanning, shooting,
and collecting the native fauna and flora.
Low on health? I can equip the trusty Nomad Pistol and shoot
a Vitality Plant to have it spew yellow jellybean-like capsules to refill
health. Need to upgrade equipment? I’ll just shoot creatures like the owl-like
Valley Pufferbird to collect such vital elements as aluminum, carbon, or plasma.
Through investigative scanning (and shooting) I soon learned which creatures
drop the resources I needed to help me on my journey.
Then it was a matter of returning to the Javelin to use the
onboard 3D printer to craft upgrades that can do everything from improve the
damage of my pistol to construct a Proton Tether (grappling hook) that let me
traverse previously unreachable areas by latching onto the perfectly named Grapple
As I explored more of the world, I discovered portals that permitted
me to fast travel across various areas of the planet. Which was incredibly
helpful, as I’d found there was a lot of backtracking to the Javelin in the
early going to craft upgrades and deposit resources. And should I die on my
adventure, I was resurrected (sorry, bio-replicated) back at the Javelin with
the opportunity to go back and uncover my loot. Pro tip: You get some bonus
resources should you find and bury your old body.
Accompanying me on this journey was an artificial
intelligence named E.K.O., a sarcastic and wise-cracking companion that helped
plot waypoints of interest and narrated my adventure; your astronaut has a
non-speaking role outside of a few grunts and mumbles. This narration really came
into play very early on, as I discovered some alien-made structures, indicating
that another species lived (lives?) on this planet. Only by exploring more of
the planet and uncovering other alien-made structures could I determine their
fate, something the company overlords at Kindred Aerospace are very, very
interested in knowing more about.
Part of the lore-building of Journey to the Savage Planet
includes a series of tape-recorded commercials that play on heavy rotation
onboard the Javelin which channel the best parts of absurdist shows like “Tim
and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” and “I Think You Should Leave”. Some of
these cover Kindred’s other endeavors, from the GROB (food paste in a can!) that
doubles as bait for the alien creatures, to Brain Wipes that are available in a
variety of styles, including apathetic, happy, or sociopathic. It’s all quite
weird, but I dig it. This is clearly a very bizarre, hyper-capitalist company you’re
working for and the feeling I get is that they’ve spread themselves too thin.
So being able to lay claim to the discovery of an alien civilization would do
wonders to their bottom line. Maybe even bump them up to third-best interstellar
exploration company! Time will tell.
There’s still plenty more for me to explore and discover across this savage planet, along with solving the unfolding mystery of not only Kindred’s intent but the status of the alien life that appears to have abandoned this place a long, long time ago. I can feel the metaphorical hooks digging in to keep playing Journey to the Savage Planet, which is already shaping up to be one of 2020’s early surprises. Keep your eyes on this one, or play it when it releases next week on Xbox One.
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