Review – Journey to the Savage Planet (Switch)

Earlier on this year, the world was treated to the wonderfully wacky Journey to the Savage Planet, a weird and engaging first-person metroidvania title with an incredible, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy-inspired sense of humour. When our reviewer Leo tackled it back in January, he praised the game’s unique tone and strong emphasis on exploration. The Switch version is out now, and we’re about to find out if it manages to hold up in this less powerful hardware.

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You can ignore some of the game’s graphical setbacks when playing it on a handheld display.

Set in a beautiful open world, Journey to the Savage Planet is your typical metroidvania, this time heavily inspired by Metroid Prime. After a brief tutorial that shows you the controls and the basics to combat and traversal, you are then left to figure things out on your own. With no mini-map or waypoints to follow, just a simple compass on the top of the screen, Savage Planet lets you explore its open-world at your own pace.

The core gameplay is pretty good. At first, you are only equipped with a single pistol and your backhand pimp slap. The combat isn’t superb and just feels very generic with little interesting happening, but hey, at least we have a dedicated button for pimp slapping! Every now and then, a boss will show up and these battles are your standard affair, they aren’t particularly interesting but do provide a decent enough distraction. But the thing is, Journey to the Savage Planet isn’t about combat.

Where Journey to the Savage Planet does shine in its world design and, above all, exploration. The sprawling huge maps are a total joy to explore, as you’ll constantly discover secret paths and alternative routes you will only be able to come back to later. As you explore the world you will collect new resources that you can use to upgrade your suit and weapons. Some of these make you more effective in combat whilst others just open the world up more. It’s a delightful progression system, I just wish there was more of it.

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Boss fights aren’t memorable but add some variety to what would have otherwise been a mainly exploratory game.

As previously mentioned on our PS4 version review, Journey to the Savage Planet is absolutely on point when it comes to its sense of humour. From the hilarious live-action TV ads to the in-game dialogue with your sassy companion AI that will mock you and your actions in-game, this is a laughfest from beginning to end. The soundtrack is mostly background noise to the dialogue and it’s not too bad, you just won’t pay a lot of attention to it.

It’s time to talk about something more specific: the game’s performance on the Switch. Sadly, it’s a bit of a letdown, even though we were already expecting a few setbacks due to the console’s less powerful hardware. The Switch version struggles to main its 30fps target framerate, especially on larger open areas. It’s certainly still playable but is less satisfying.

The most significant setback lies in the game’s overall graphical fidelity. Visuals have taken a toll, with a noticeably lower resolution and some really muddy textures. Some areas, like the one in the image below, lack textures altogether. With that being said, the game still looks somewhat nice on handheld mode, mostly due to its great level design and color pallette. Things get funky only when you bloat the image onto a big screen. There is also an option to change the overall field of view with a slider, which is always a win in my books. The default FOV just feels way to claustrophobic, with the weapon model taking up a huge portion of the screen.

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Some parts can look really rough. This is about the worst it gets.

The Switch port of Journey to the Savage Planet might have been a disappointing due to the severe amount of visual setbacks and a somewhat lackluster overall performance, but at the end of the day, it’s still a very playable and hilarious experience. If you can ignore the graphical hindrances in favor of the ability to play this game on-the-go, then this is an easy recommendation.

 

Graphics: 5.5

It does its best with the Switch’s limited hardware, but it’s still riddled with visual setbacks and performance issues.

Gameplay: 7.5

The combat mechanics can be flawed at times, but Journey to the Savage Planet‘s excellent metroidvania-inspired level design and platforming more than make up for these issues.

Sound: 9.5

Journey to the Savage Planet‘s hilarious dialogue is one of its main selling points.

Fun Factor: 8.5

The Switch version of Journey to the Savage Planet might have suffered lots of setbacks, but it’s still an extremely entertaining game in its own right.

Final Verdict: 7.5

 

Journey to the Savage Planet is available now on PS4, Switch, Xbox One and PC.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Journey to the Savage Planet was provided by the publisher.

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