Original Journey (PC) Review

By Gabriel Jones 15.08.2017

Review for Original Journey on PC

The Ato's home planet is rapidly decaying. If their way of life is to be preserved, then a new source of energy is necessary. In the furthest reaches of outer space, beyond the stars, there lies the Planet Shadow. With such an ominous-sounding name, one wonders if its secrets should be uncovered. Nevertheless, as the "rookie," you must explore the floating islands of this mysterious world. Brave the horrors of the unknown in Original Journey.

These days, videogames have to encompass multiple genres. Apparently, it's no longer enough to be "just" a platformer or "just" a shoot 'em up. There has to be as much going on as possible, even if the only purpose it serves is to the distract the player. They're less likely to notice the mediocre aspects of a game if enough shiny objects are thrown their way. This isn't to say that method of game design is bad, but it does require a solid base to build off of.

Screenshot for Original Journey on PC

With that in mind, let's look at Original Journey. This game features thousands of floating islands, all of which are teeming with evil to be destroyed. Their corpses hide innumerable materials, which can then be used to create new weapons and armour. Rookies attain experience as well, and that means stat-boosting level-ups. It's a familiar yet appealing concept. With every trek through the planet, players always have something new to look forward to. There's excitement in the unknown. Plus, who doesn't love high numbers?

The variety in gear is also quite nice. Almost all of the weapons are unique in both looks and usage. The rookie can hold two at a time, and it's possible to develop a play style around them. In most cases, it's a good idea to have both a sword and a gun. Ammo drops at a frequent rate, though it never hurts to prepare for the worst. Suits can be customized with chips. These augments offer bonuses such as increased damage for specific weapons, or gradual hit point restoration.

Screenshot for Original Journey on PC

While these aspects of the game are handled well, let's focus on what's most important: the base. The bulk of this otherworldly adventure is spent hopping between platforms and blasting everything in sight. If there were no "phat" loot or upgrades to look forward to, would this title still hold up? Unfortunately, it would not. Although there are a good variety of enemies and level designs, the moment to moment action tends to be chaotic and sloppy.

Most of the time, it's better to stick with weapons that have a wide area of effect. Weapons that require any level of finesse to use tend to be more trouble than they're worth. Contact with enemies will result in minor damage, plus the protagonist gets shoved around a little. The later stages get to be very claustrophobic, leaving little room for thought or planning. The lack of colour makes for a unique art direction, but it can also cause visibility issues. Objects, even the dangerous kind, have a habit of getting lost in the heat of battle.

Screenshot for Original Journey on PC

Before long, enduring a lot of pain becomes the expectation. Survival becomes more of a damage race than anything else. This benefits players who enjoy grinding, but anyone relying purely on skill and strategy will become increasingly frustrated. The ability to set down turrets and shields is pretty clever, and they help to mitigate some of the messier portions of the game. Unfortunately, they don't last long in drawn-out battles. Bosses will decimate them just as easily as the rookie. On the bright side, deaths aren't all that punishing. Materials lost upon death can be recovered, provided that the rookie is able to reach the last stage they died at.

Surprisingly, this title benefits from being relatively short. The average playthrough shouldn't take more than a few hours. Flaws aside, it still manages to be fairly entertaining. This can be attributed to the pacing. It's easy to shoot through dozens of stages in a short time, while accumulating a massive haul of materials. In other words, the grind never becomes insufferable, and that counts for a lot.

Screenshot for Original Journey on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

With its surreal visuals and quirky character design, Original Journey has little trouble drawing attention. Determining whether or not it can retain that attention will depend entirely on the player. On its own, the platforming and shooting aren't all that tightly designed. Relying on level-ups and gear to maintain interest only goes so far. Given a long enough period of time, most gamers will feel like they're just going through the motions.

Developer

Bonfire Entertainment

Publisher

Another Indie

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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