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Journey to the Savage Planet review: Small game with big ideas

PS4/XO/PC ★★★★ Age: 16+

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Journey To The Savage Planet

Journey To The Savage Planet

Journey to the Savage Planet

Journey to the Savage Planet

Doctor Who: The Edge of Time

Doctor Who: The Edge of Time

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Journey To The Savage Planet

The games industry has long classed its blockbusters as "triple-A" - those mega-budget, mega-marketed opuses that reliably clog up the charts year upon year. Beneath this rarefied strata sits the oft-overlooked AA gang, ambitious games with a moderate budget made by teams a fraction that of the big guys - where success is far from guaranteed.

Journey fits that mould as the debut of a small studio composed of AAA veterans. This colourful sci-fi explorathon riffs on a bunch of familiar ideas - incorporating elements of Metroidvania, No Man's Sky and PS2-era platformers such as Ratchet & Clank - but conjures something fresh from the melting pot of influences.

The title itself is misleading because, after crash-landing there, you're actually trying to leave the planet - by collecting doohickeys to repair your ship - and far from being savage, it's merely pleasantly untamed. Most of the weird creatures leave you well alone, at least until you fire on them to collect their resources to feed the 3D printer aboard your ship.

What follows is a satisfying loop of exploration, collection, platforming and light combat as you seek the parts necessary for a funky gadget to help you reach a new area. Rinse, repeat.

Shot through with sarky humour, soaked in fluorescent visuals and liberally sprinkled with quirky sound effects, Journey works hard to please the player.

The smaller budget shows up in the shorter running time but that in itself feels like a blessing in this era of over-padded AAA behemoths.



Doctor Who: Edge of Time

PSVR/PC ★★★ Age: 12+

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Doctor Who: The Edge of Time

Doctor Who: The Edge of Time

Doctor Who: The Edge of Time

New Doc Jodie Whittaker's been kidnapped and it's up to you to play the hero in this VR adventure, dealing with the dastardly Daleks and the terrifying Weeping Angels. These two encounters comprise the short-lived high points of what resembles a discarded episode of the BBC series.

It's certainly fun to explore the Tardis, poking awkwardly at the dials, but mostly you're listening to a lot of dreary plot exposition elsewhere. The genuinely scary clashes with the Angels and Daleks show just how good Edge of Time could have been but they can't compensate for the lack of imagination applied to much of its brief storyline.



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