Journey to the Savage Planet is, in case you’ve been living under a rock, an amazing game – our review proves that. However, with an entire planet to explore, and only some loose guidance from EXO as to what you need to do, I thought I’d put together a list of five things that I wish I had known when I initially started the game. Largely, these will come under the heading of common sense, but for your reading pleasure, I present my 5 top tips for new explorers who are heading off on a Journey to the Savage Planet.
5. Scan all the things!
This is introduced in the tutorial of Journey to the Savage Planet, but you can press up on the D-pad to put your visor into scanning mode.
Once in scanning mode, things that you can look at and haven’t previously scanned will be highlighted in a bright orange; with a swift press of the RB button they can be added to your database of “All the Things I Found on AR-Y 26”. Helpfully, you can also zoom in if required, and with some of the more dangerous wildlife, scanning from afar is certainly the safest thing to do.
While you are scanning, you’ll want to remain aware of what is happening around you, as enemies can sneak up and introduce themselves while you’re busy scanning a pretty flower. What you’ll want to do is try to get into the habit, that every time you enter a new area, to quickly pop into scanning mode and have a scout about, as the game will try to help you. An example is in the “chests” that you find dotted about; a quick scan will reveal what it is you need to do to open them. Or if you see a tough looking baddie, like the Slamphibians later in the game, a scan can give you some tips about where their weak points and what to do to expose them.
In short, scan, scan, scan!
4. Don’t ignore the side missions
In Journey to the Savage Planet, you have a main task, which is to get into the Tower and find out what’s in it. However, around the periphery, there are a multitude of side missions to take on and try out. If you just rush headlong into the main missions, you’re going to miss out on a lot of useful things.
You see, as you land on AR-Y 26, the ship’s AI, EXO, will launch a swarm of cartographers to look around for you, and when they find a useful thing, this substance will be flagged up as a side mission. Now, these need to found and analysed, in order for upgrades that can be crafted. These will make your life easier, for instance, gloves that can be reinforced so that you are able to carry the explosive Bombegranite seeds, enabling you to blow things up. It’s possible to throw Bombegranites around with out the gloves, but you only have five seconds from the time it is picked until it explodes, and if you’re still lining up the shot, nothing good can come of it.
There are all manner of things to craft, from the aforementioned gloves to an uprated pistol to a multitude of rocket boost charges, allowing you to fly around the sky like a clumsy, smoke-emitting Superman.
One last word of advice about the side missions: even if you ignore the rest, please take a look at the For Science! missions. These involve you doing all manner of unlikely things, like surviving a fatal fall using the rocket boosters or killing enemies in amusing ways. These unlock some truly great upgrades, and so my advice is to hit these up, even if you don’t wish to bother with the others.
3. Explore everywhere. I mean, EVERYWHERE
At its heart, Journey to the Savage Planet is a Metroidvania type game. As you progress through the game, new and better kit becomes available that can be 3D printed back at the Javelin, your base of operations. Now, these items need to be made not only from materials like carbon, silicon and so on, but also usually from Alien Alloy.
The first set of minerals are easy to find, as every enemy that is defeated will drop some kind of items for you to pick up. Unless of course, it’s a Pufferbird and you kick it over the edge of a cliff…
Now, the other things to find, as well as the Alien Alloy are the likes of Orange Goo, which is the only way to increase your level in this game. Eating enough Goo will increase both your health and stamina, and as you find more, the quantity needed to raise your level will also increase. So at the beginning, it’s one or two Goos to level up, but I’ve found around half of the 100 available, and it now costs me five Goos to upgrade.
In addition to the Alloy and Goo, there are other things to find, including the logs of previous explorers and tablets from an Alien culture that had something to do with the planet, way back in the past. So, not only is it rewarding in its own right to explore and see everything the game has to offer, some of the puzzles to get to the Alloys and Goos are truly mind bending, requiring some planning and mastery of the traversal mechanic to acquire them.
How will I get the Goo that’s hanging off the bottom of a rock, over a bottomless abyss? Come back later with an upgraded rocket jump and you may have a chance!
2. Bring a friend – it’s dangerous to go alone!
Playing Journey to the Savage Planet alone has been a great experience, but playing with a friend just makes everything better. Whether it’s getting someone in to help with a tricky boss (always a valid tactic) or just exploring the planet as a duo, playing with friends in a co-op style is what raises this game to another level.
There are some things to note, however, some oddities about this game in particular to be aware of.
If you join a player, all the materials that you collect as a team, all the progress that is made through the game will only be stored on the host’s save file. Any bosses you take down together, if you haven’t beaten them on your own save, you will have to go and defeat them when you return from the co-op adventure. Of course, a little quid pro quo will soon sort out any perceived imbalance in the game…
Again, if you join someone elses game, your gear that you have available will be the same as the host, so that’s something to bear in mind if you are further through the adventure than your partner. As an example, while playing with our esteemed editor, I nearly came a cropper as my pistol could one shot the horrible Jellywafts, but his couldn’t, and so I shot one, turned away and then realised it wasn’t dead when it attacked me on the back of the head!
1. Get used to the movement
Journey to the Savage Planet (I’m getting tired of typing that phrase!) has a fantastic movement and traversal mechanic, almost like free running with rocket boosters and a laser grapple. Simply running and sprinting about the place, sliding on your knees to clear a low roof, before launching yourself into the abyss, using a rocket boost to extend the jump enough to grapple onto a swing point, before grappling to a slide and reaching a tiny floating island with the last scrap of momentum you can summon up, is when the game comes alive.
Using the grapple soon becomes second nature and will also come in handy in the boss fights that you come across, particularly in the final encounter. Practice in this case does indeed make perfect, and with upgraded gear more and more possibilities will open up to you. Having crafted a Goo detector, you’ll be able to see where you need to be, and the fun of figuring out how to get there is really really good fun.
And now time for a little bonus tip – watch the video ads in the Javelin for they are absolutely hilarious.
So, these are just five of the most basic things that I wish I had known at the beginning of my initial run through Journey to the Savage Planet on Xbox One, when I was fumbling around in the wilderness of AR-Y 26. Hopefully these will be useful to any new spacemen out there, and even though I haven’t touched on all the items that you can equip to your left hand, for instance (your pistol is always in your right hand) there should be enough here and in the built-in tutorials to help you out. Above all else though, listen to EXO and have fun out there!
Let us know in the comments if you are planning on taking in a Journey to the Savage Planet? It hits Xbox One, PS4 and PC come January 28th 2020 and our full review of the game will be able to touch on just how good it all is.