There was once a time when the idea of mutations and post-apocalyptic societies would’ve blown our minds. However, those concepts are now so commonplace that creators are struggling to put a new spin on them. The developers at Experiment 101 are taking a shot at the roulette table with their game Biomutant. It puts players in the feet of a small creature that is part human, part animal, and all mutant. With plenty of materials to play with and various powers to unleash, players have a pretty big toybox and sandbox to explore. The game has a lot of impressive aspects, but there’s still so much to decipher…
What’s Going On?
When making a sandbox game, it’s pretty common to come up with a story that’s vague at best. This is to give players incentive to complete missions to learn more of the plot while not forcing it on them. With Biomutant, it seems several plots are happening at once.
You play a nameless creature wandering through the surprisingly lush wasteland. After losing their village and family to a monster called Lupa Lupin, the hero continues their training to become a capable survivor. They then re-connect with one of their childhood mentors who gives them the scoop: A big tree that supports everything is dying and monsters called Worldeaters are threatening to eat it. They’ll need the inventions of their old acquaintances to take them on as well as the support of the different tribes. The tribes are currently involved in a war that the hero will need to resolve while also helping finish the inventions. It’s a lot to keep track of, but there’s also a lot to do.
Evolving For The Better
Since evolution is a process that occurs over thousands of years, the idea of mutation is something that could arguably speed it up. There is a lot of media that shows mutating having positive effects, and Biomutant does that too. The first effect is its sheer volume. The world is so big and there are so many missions that you could spend hours getting lost in it all. Activities are varied from scavenger hunts, to combat encounters, and even puzzle solving. Both the main story missions and side quests can easily keep you busy.
Then there’s the sheer amount of charm, which is hard to describe. A large part of it is likely due to the player’s character. Instead of playing as a human with adjustable features, you play as one of several races of bipedal fuzzy folks. With large heads, small frames, and various colors of fur, any of them can be made endearing. Also, since your character lies at the bottom of this world’s food chain, you feel encouraged to rise above it and see them succeed.
There’s also a fair amount of dynamic gameplay. Moving around and fighting feels smooth yet hectic and chaotic. The sheer number of weapon combinations is staggering, especially when you factor in the layered crafting system. On top of that, you have a set of combat moves, mutations, and psi-powers with which to experiment. It gives you a lot to work with so you can find your preferred playstyle.
Bad Side Effects
If there’s another thing that stories about mutations tend to cover, it’s that they can also have horrible side effects. Biomutant was not fortunate to escape unscathed from the process. One of them is the overall aesthetic. Though the presentation is generally solid, there are glaring issues here and there. Sometimes textures won’t load properly or sounds will play off cue. Enemies and NPCs will occasionally glitch into each other or the background. One character, in particular, has a very distracting seam problem. These may sound small, but they pile up quickly.
Then there’s the narrator. You’ll find yourself guided through the game by David Shaw Parker, who has quite a nice voice. The problem is that he never stops talking. He talks during events, when examining objects, translating NPC gibberish, and just randomly during gameplay. However, turning off his narration reveals another big problem: The game is reliant on it. Without hearing that voice talking over game events, it exposes an overall lack of music and sound, especially during big moments.
Lastly, there’s the combat. As mentioned previously, fighting controls feel and look good but the actual encounters are lacking. Many enemies are small and run around, which makes them difficult to target. Even when you upgrade your weapons, hitting enemies doesn’t feel satisfying as the damage looks negligible on their health bars. What’s more perplexing is that large boss-type seem to take far more damage and get defeated much faster. When you prefer to fight the big high-damage baddies over groups of small squishy guys, the imbalance has flipped and flown off into space.
Biomutant Review - The End Of A Mutant’s Tale
Biomutant is a third-person open-world sci-fi post-apocalyptic action-adventure game. It offers a lot to do and ways to do it with a charming character in challenging circumstances. Once you look past the technical issues, overly-active narration, and messy combat, there’s fun to be had. Like a cat that warmly cuddles after bouts of breaking your stuff, it’s hard to stay mad at Biomutant.
TechRaptor reviewed Biomutant on PC with a copy provided by the publisher. It is also available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, with future plans for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X later this year.
- A charming and creative avatar.
- An extensive crafting mechanic with a variety of weapons and power.
- A huge world with lots of things to do.
- An intrusive narrator and overall lack of sound.
- Messy and frustrating enemy encounters.
- Technical problems with textures, sound, and triggers.