Whisked bullshit. I hold my stomach laughing because Journey to the Savage Planet intravenously instills this nonsense in regularly served snacks. The programmers of this work belong to the kind of spinner of my taste and at the same time manage to set up a serious action adventure in the Metroid style. Chapeau!
If I wanted to start with the obvious, I would probably quote those commercials that are so unmistakably thrown around my avatar at the start of the game that they cannot be missed. For example, the spot for a product called Grob. This is a purple paste that can take on the taste of all imaginable cooking dishes, but always looks like a bunch of vomit. Yes, the spot is weird, but it belongs to the mallet category. Wouldn't be necessary at all, because my spaceman avatar sits in a highly amusing little pot even without purple vomit.
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As the only participant of the journey to an unexplored, wild planet with the order number AR-Y-26, he is almost helplessly exposed to the flora and fauna, because the company that sent him here from Earth is unfortunately only the fourth best space exploration company and must therefore save up. There is only one tool available for his research tours inside his spaceship: an advanced 3D printer. This printer can produce everything imaginable – weapons, grappling hooks, upgrades and more – but nothing works without basic materials such as carbon and silicon.
Outrageously cute and yet so nasty
Unarmed, I strut with my world explorer through the first small cave near his slightly damaged spaceship and find cute spherical birds with big googly eyes. Their high, toddler-like beeps are so cute that even my cats pay attention because they suspect lost kittens behind the TV. The scanner classifies them as harmless. Even better: these cute little birds love me, the scanner tells me. Too bad that I have to buff their beaks straight away with a punch and kick to extract a few raw materials from their bodies.
An act that an intrusive voice encourages me to do. It's the voice of E.K.O., the artificial intelligence in my hero's spacesuit. It is reminiscent of Bernadette from The Big Bang Theory in several ways, because her stubbornness is only surpassed by her merciless, unnecessarily direct honesty. Her hints are useful, but sometimes she overshoots as if Navi from Zelda: Ocarina of Time were chatting in a frenzy of schnapps.
For example, she tells me that a material transporter is a suicide machine, because every time I want to beam back into my spaceship, my avatar is broken down at the atomic level, destroyed and only put together as a copy in the spaceship. Nerd humor with Star Trek paint. Fantastic but also macabre.
A few hours later: With the help of my blaster from the 3D printer, I have now given my hero access to the first open areas of the planet. I have long forgotten that the squeaky-colored graphics appear a little amateurish at first glance, because that is by design. The guys from Typhoon Studios put it on deep stacking so that they can boast impressive surprises at the right moment. This includes a stunning foresight, which allows me to see a lot of details on the ground even on high platforms.
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For example my backpack, which I have to pick up again after my death in order to keep the raw materials I have collected. But also enemies and the corpses of my hero that remain of his clones if I send him to death again due to a lack of caution. Sometimes happens faster than you can see, despite all the health upgrades that I stuff into his mouth in the form of alien phlegm. No, that's not an exaggeration.
Few opponents, many secrets
Unforeseen deaths do not happen to my avatar due to an excess of evil monsters. On the contrary, the wild planet is even inhabited by comparatively few creatures, both in terms of the number of different species and in terms of mass. Even bosses are few and far between, but they are tricky. It is never about pure firepower or full pumping with laser volleys.
Whether big or small, every opponent wants to be defeated with skill and the right approach. A vivid example would be plants that search the surroundings with their flower eyes. Any intruder who comes too close to them is bombarded with explosives. If you want to get past such a crop, you have to hide from the search rays, circle it, sneak up on it from behind and push your thumb in the eye with a snap action. Did I say that this game likes to be macabre?
Also nice: carnivorous plants that only open new paths when you kick one of the cute birdies in their mouths. Or lizards trying to roll my lame researcher like a bowling ball. After a few evasive maneuvers, you quickly discover that their weak point at the back of their tail ends is brightly lit.
I rarely felt like I was fighting typical action-adventure monsters that were just in the way. They look more like pieces of a large puzzle that is put together through research and combination. Although I was probably just walking around half the time to collect more raw materials for upgrades, curiosity kept leading me to hidden caves and nondescript secret passages that sometimes more and less obviously hid a secret.
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Sometimes the entrance is blocked and wants to be exposed with the help of explosive plants, other times a treasure trove only releases a rare material when you have found and scanned small alien symbols in the area. You prance around lava pools, scatter seeds that grow anchor points for the grappling hook, or hop from trampoline bursa from level to level.
Get a lot out of little material
The designers at Typhoon have indisputably copied a thick disc from Metroid Prime, but avoid unnecessary backtracking as much as possible and pack the flow of the game so well that you never feel like you can end up in a dead end. Even though the radar at the top of the screen cannot replace a good overview map.
Of course, the game doesn't get along completely without backtracking either. If only because you keep coming back to your own spaceship to exchange collected raw materials for upgrades and tools that help you overcome the adversities of the planet AR-Y 26. Long slouching around is unnecessary. All naselang you will find teleporters with which you can get to the ship and back to the current research area at lightning speed. Boredom rarely occurs, but you sometimes run the risk of leaving behind overlooked secrets because you think you have researched everything before the youngest teleporter.
Fortunately, the quirky flora and fauna keep you in such a good mood that you occasionally voluntarily go back to a known area – if only to look at one of the strange monsters that may have sprung from a Picasso painting, or to bury one of the many heroic corpses so that the traces of shame disappear. It also reveals how compact the game world is in reality. The fun is over after 20 hours at the latest. No broken legs at a price of around 30 euros. If you play in online co-op with a friend, it will certainly be even faster. However, you always share the score of the host – you cannot create a common score.