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Journey to the Savage Planet Is the Rare Comedy Game That Won’t Make You Cringe

Another day on the job.

screenshot from Journey to the Savage Planet
505 Games
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If you’ve played enough No Man’s Sky or survival crafting games like Lightyear Frontier, you might think you know what you’re getting into with Journey to the Savage Planet. While the 2020 sci-fi adventure looks a lot like the sort of experience that’ll have you bashing rocks for 12 different types of materials to build with for hours on end, it’s actually a more focused — and more fun — game than appearances might suggest. And since it’s now available on Xbox Game Pass, it’s easier than ever to play this bite-sized sci-fi adventure.

So if it’s not a rock-punching simulator, what is Journey to the Savage Planet? As strange as it sounds, it’s actually closer to a Metroidvania platformer. The story of Journey to the Savage Planet has you intentionally crash landing on a faraway planet in order to help yourself to its resources and determine if it’s worth the effort of colonizing. The intentional crash comes because your employer, Kindred Aerospace (the fourth-best interstellar exploration company), would rather save a few bucks on fuel than ensure you get there safely.

Journey to the Savage Planet’s combat takes a backseat to exploration and humor.

505 Games

If that didn’t tip you off, Journey to the Savage Planet isn’t a game that casts you as a noble hero, or even anyone all that impressive. You’re a totally replaceable drone trying to see if exploiting this planet will generate enough revenue for the shareholders to keep your corporate masters happy. Like The Outer Worlds, the game takes this grim scenario as a source of comedy rather than despair, and it’s full of hilarious moments from unhinged phone calls from Kindred’s CEO to bizarre future commercials. The satire is in no way subtle, but it’s genuinely funny in a way that most alleged comedy games simply aren’t.

Between tittering at fart jokes and absurd skits, you’re meant to find enough fuel to heave your ship back into space while fulfilling the exploratory mission handed to you by the company. That means you’ll spend a lot of time wandering the planet’s surface in search of resources, but unlike a survival game, Journey to the Savage Planet includes only a few types of collectibles and they tend not to require too much aimless hiking to find. That makes hunting them down feel a bit more fulfilling and a lot less tedious than it does in games whose whole point is the acquisition of increasingly hard-to-find rocks and leaves.

The world is full of adorable, slightly gross critters to harvest resources from.

505 Games

Still, to get to the choicest rocks and leaves Journey to the Savage Planet has to offer requires a good deal of exploration, and that’s where the Metroidvania vibes come in. As you collect more resources, you’ll be able to upgrade your equipment, opening up previously inaccessible areas. Powering up your gear lets you reach new places, which in turn contain even better items along with boss battles and plot-critical pickups.

Rather than focusing on filling your backpack with alien plants, the game’s attention lies on interesting traversal and platforming challenges so that setting foot in a new area feels rewarding. Even at early levels, moving through the world just feels great in Journey to the Savage Planet, and it gets even more fun to hop around the more tools and upgrades you unlock.

The best part of the game is the sheer joy of moving through its world.

505 Games

Making things even more fun is the fact that Journey to the Savage Planet looks glorious. Its world is rendered in vibrant pastel colors with pleasantly soft edges on every surface, meeting at the intersection of Saturday morning cartoons and stop-motion puppets. The planet looks suitably alien, with interesting visuals trumping believable environments every time

If that all makes Journey to the Savage Planet sound like a good time, take note that it’s even better with a friend. The game shines in its online co-op mode, where its quirky sense of humor, satisfying traversal, and gentle challenge make it perfect for low-stress gaming with a partner. And since its under 10-hour campaign can easily be beaten in a long weekend, it’s also great as a breather between massive RPGs, especially if you snag it for free on Xbox Game Pass.

Journey to the Savage Planet is available on PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and PC, and is included with Xbox Game Pass.

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