Biomutant - A Fable of Fighting Furries
Kick, shoot, punch, and blast your way through a post-human world.
A Massive First Game From A Tiny Team
Biomutant is an open world, single-player ARPG set in a post-post apocalypse world that’s filled with mutated, sentient animals. You play as one of those animals and find yourself tasked with saving the Tree of Life (which in turn means saving the world).
Developed by a team of only 20 people, the existence of this game is a feat in and of itself. Biomutant is available on Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, with PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S versions to be released at a later date.
A Mixed Bag
When it comes to gameplay, mechanics, and world-building, Biomutant has stuck its fingers in more than its fair share of metaphorical pies. It’s narrated in the form of a fable, has comic book text appear alongside sound effects, and has clearly drawn inspiration from Breath of the Wild and Horizon: Zero Dawn when it comes to its open world.
Still, this mix feels unified by its sense of whimsy. Unlike other post-apocalyptic settings in video games, Biomutant rejects muted, muddy palettes and pessimism for unapologetically bright colors and optimism.
Concept Rating: 3/5
When it comes to visuals, Biomutant thrives. Though you’ll see plenty of stills full of lush greenery, Biomutant allows you to explore a variety of biomes. There are forests, frozen wastelands, stretching expanses of desert, and more. Part of the charm is the sheer sense of scale that the game achieves by placing you in such a small protagonist.
Not only will landscapes of natural marvels have you jump again and again to photo mode, but the creature design in Biomutant is spectacular. The variety and imagination poured into the mutants is unmistakable, making each new encounter a welcome surprise.
One major downside is the narrator present throughout the game. Rather than voice each character, a British voice narrates everything. Unnecessary exposition runs rampant, and all too often the game doesn’t seem to trust its players to figure out its secrets.
In fact, Biomutant seems scared of silence, instead filling every moment with lines that swing wildly between deep philosophical questions about the meaning of life and childish descriptions of excrement. Luckily, a patch has been added on PC to turn off the narrator entirely.
Graphics & Audio Rating: 4/5
Shot Itself In The Foot
Biomutant builds itself higher and higher on its countless original concepts and possibilities but falls flat on its face when it comes to execution. Side quests, puzzles, and objectives are all surface-level and barely attempt to disguise themselves as something other than carbon copies.
One aspect that the game has in spades is customization, offering the player no end of ways to personalize your character and weapons. Unfortunately, when it comes to using said weapons, all those upgrades hardly matter.
This is because combat in Biomutant is all the same: tedious button-mashing with no nuance. Melee is poorly balanced when compared to ranged combat, and the game never puts you in a position where reconsidering your specs will help you push through a tough boss battle. In fact, the bosses are underwhelming near-copies of each other, resulting in the feeling that Biomutant missed a huge opportunity to employ the unique creature design it employs everywhere else.
Gameplay Rating: 1/5
Biomutant is a great example of what a small, dedicated team can achieve given time. That said, making a polished open-world game seems to have been more than Experiment 101 could chew. Patches are bound to be released to help fix errant bugs and balancing issues, but the tedious gameplay isn’t likely to have players eager at the thought of starting a new run.
Replay Value Rating: 2/5
Biomutant is a visual marvel but fails to deliver any meaningful substance.