28th January 2020
“There's not enough humour in games,” Alex Hutchinson, Creative Director at Typhoon Studios, tells me. We’re discussing the studio’s first game, the vibrant space adventure Journey to the Savage Planet. A comedic and vibrant look at space travel and exploring the unknown reaches of space – for profit.
Playing the game ahead of our discussion, one of the main takeaways or revelations was that you could describe Journey to the Savage Planet (or, JTTSP for short) as a comedy long before you began thinking about its mechanics. Or how it might fit into a certain mould or type. “The idea of creating a satire was one of our earliest touch points,” Alex continues. “It came out of a desire to make something upbeat and optimistic - to make something earnest and different to what’s out there.”
At a glance Journey to the Savage Planet might have the air of an action or survival game, which is a fair assumption to make when seeing its first-person viewpoint and main character walking around with ray-gun in hand. And sure, this is a well we visit far too often at AusGamers, but Journey to the Savage Planet is more Metroid Prime with light combat or even Super Mario 64 than No Man’s Sky.
As an explorer for the fourth-best name in space exploration, Kindred Aerospace, it’s up to you to catalog the fauna and alien life found across a strange new planet. The mission? To collect enough data to figure out if it’s suitable for colonisation. Human colonisation. Soon you discover a mysterious tower floating in the air in what looks like a sky fortress adorned by waterfalls.
Once you begin to visit new biomes and stumble upon strange statues and alien structures both natural and built by some form of intelligence, the world of AR-Y 26 quickly becomes the star of the show. Discovery is here in spades and it’s also matched by some excellent writing that never falters in the comedic sense or that of the alien-world awe you want from a good sci-fi. Level design, and we’re talking classic level design on display, grows in scope and complexity and verticality in a way that one can’t help but think about some of the great platformers and adventure games of the last few decades.