For the longest time the only thing I knew about Biomutant was that Mighty Ape had a collectors edition with a cool statue, and no estimate of when the game was coming out. Then after years of no release date, this year they whipped out a fancy new trailer and a soon release date.
Now finally I have got my hands on this mysterious title and it was worth keeping on the radar…mostly.
Mutate your own furry
The game kicks off with you making your own mutant furry mammal. There isn’t too much to change but a few variations in shape and colour but when you choose the initial stat boosts that changes the proportions of your mutant like getting slimmer if you go for speed. It’s a small touch that gives you ownership of your mammal so I dug it.
One of the stats you have to choose is where to put your resistance to a bunch of elements. You don’t get a feel for how important this is, and given when you start leveling up your character you can max all this out reasonably quickly it wasn’t too important. That didn’t stop me from fretting and wasting too much time early on on it.
One clever little addition is that when you meet your mother in a flashback, she has similar fur to yours. It’s the little things that can make big impressions.
A mutated story
The story is a lot better than I was expecting from a small teams’ open world game. Basically the game is set after a nuclear winter where new creatures have evolved from the toxic sludge. You control your mammal who lost his family at a young age and is out to get revenge on their mother’s killer.
Your mammal chooses a faction to side with in the new area he enters and then helps that faction gain control over the other areas of the map. All the while he is told about how the tree of life is being destroyed by massive creatures eating the tree’s roots. You are also tasked with getting your hands on tools in the area to enable you to fight these world eaters and save the world.
The game also uses a simple light and dark system. Depending on where you are on the scale it will make it easier to negotiate with factions or individuals. The decisions on which way it will go is a lot easier than some games, but I still managed to give 1 dark answer and I wasn’t sure when I did that.
None of these ideas are that new, but it is a unique framing which made it a lot more enjoyable than expected.
Controls that could use more mutation
The minute to minute combat and controls definitely function well enough. The problem is ‘well enough’ isn’t that great and it is clunky at times. So what I found was I was happy enough playing the game but I got frustrated plenty of times.
The mechs and other vehicles were especially annoying. There is a surprising number of vehicles\mechs that I won’t spoil, but one or two vehicles that felt smoother would have been prefered over the variety. Still I won’t knock the team too much for ambition because the game is loaded with it.
Combat varies between using ranged weapons like guns or a boomerang that became a favourite, to your melee weapons. Going unarmed has a whole bunch of benefits but once I had the steel fist with fire abilities I was a happy man.
You can do a lot of crafting, improving gear and weapons, as well as upgrades to the character as it levels up. Unfortunately these menus are super clunky and it took me way too long to get the hang of it all. To be honest, there is probably stuff I still managed to miss in here.
I have never been so torn on a game. The game has plenty of flaws like the repetitive side missions and combat as well as little bugs and a lack of polish. Yet despite this I enjoyed my time with Biomutant. It’s far from perfect, but it is bloody good.