So many games and movies have cliché setups, and while the setting of a post-apocalyptic world sounds like more of the same, there a twist. What if little woodland critters ruled the ruined world? You will find out in BIOMUTANT when you control a warrior critter of the far future that has irradiated the world and given rise to sentient creatures with no humans in sight. With powers and weapons you must save the world (or burn it?) while making allies and fighting foes along the way in a vast wilderness.
Right off the bat, there is a weird dichotomy in this game of whether or not it’s for kids. The setting is the horrible irradiated wasteland, but everything just seems to come off as cute. There is so much cuteness it’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry. You control a warrior that definitely kills his enemies, and yet you can’t help but “awwww!” at the whole scene. The skills and attacks are even on a level of cute that just screams “for babies” and it kind of ruins the whole dark future vibe you’d think they were going for. As you continue in the game you come across rival gangs or villages and are asked to wipe the other one out several times. There exists a morality system like KOTOR except that none of the choices really seem to matter down the line. If you pick dark side you kill the other village, and all the while doing it using a funny cute little raccoon like avatar so it just comes off as strange. The story is very meh, and it doesn’t ask anything tough questions of you even in this supposedly moral driven game.
The visuals are another weird mix of beautiful and terrible. The fur on my character is so incredibly detailed, and the background is well done. However, there is also really bad lens flare effects even in tunnels with no light coming through that actually obscure your vision, and mess up the colors of the otherwise very nicely detailed plants. Even when you can see what’s going on, it doesn’t mean you understand what to do either. The world while large is very empty, and just has so many repetitive side quests with no meaning other than kill the boss and get the thing to return to where you started. Exploring your way through the different biomes is very fun, and it’s got a definite BOTW feel to the exploration. The sites can be beautiful, but the battle can be a real pain. You start off real weak, and in this game it’s all about chaining attacks together. It’s more akin to a traditional 2D fighting game way of thinking than it is an RPG. Beating your enemy isn’t about using one skill or movement, it’s about chaining many of them in a certain sequence to get the desired result. This includes the ability to slow time which sounds cool at first, but considering how often you will be using it feels like your just wasting time and not getting anywhere fast.
As with most small time developers, they have wonderful ideas with substandard execution. The idea of controlling critters in a wastelands sounds cool, but it comes off as having no idea what kind of game it wants to be and who the audience is. Chaining combos like a fighting game sounds cool but with so much time slow it feels lethargic not frenetic like it ought to be. Its open world, but with a very linear path with moral choices that have very little consequence. I appreciate the creativeness of something like this, but I need more polish, especially if they expect to charge the AAA price of $60.