Developed by Experiment 101 and published by THQ Nordic, Biomutant is an action RPG with a lot of adventure and whimsy. This feels like Immortals Fenyx Rising, Breath of the Wild and the film Kung Fu Panda have been put into a blender to make a rather satisfying smoothie. There are a few lumps in that smoothie however, though it remains rather enjoyable.
Set in a post-apocalyptic world where – although not directly blamed but implied – the humans abused nature to fuel their selfish lifestyle with no regard for nature and consequence. Dumping toxic waste into the oceans causing mutations that were ignored and covered up before it fittingly became their ultimate end. However, the animals closer to nature who were in some way mutated by the toxic waste are trying to heal mother nature by nurturing the Tree of Life. The protagonist’s mother, who is the leader of all the animal tribes that occupy the land, was defeated and killed by a beastly animal called Lupa Lupin. Lupa Lupin not only killed your mother but your father too who were trying to help you get to safety. With the tribes in ruins and your parents killed you left your home to survive by yourself. Now, you have come back home to find your world in ruins and the tribes now at war with each other, Lupa Lupin is still at large and now four powerful beasts called World Eaters are devouring the Tree of Life which could bring the end of the world. It is up to you to bring the tribes back together, battle against the World Eaters and face your past demons as you seek out Lupa Lupin and face off against the beast who killed your family.
The game looks beautiful as I play on an Xbox Series X. The character models are highly detailed and animated. The wide-open land you roam is full of bright and interesting colours and scenery. Even in the areas which have been ravaged by the toxic waste, it still looks amazing. The background music as you play, although is not as memorable as other games, still captures the mood greatly. In a similar style to Immortals Fenyx Rising, you have a narrator that talks over your adventure which at some points it is comforting as you travel, but it can also become a bit exhausting when he constantly keeps talking. What is interesting is that the animals have their own language they talk in which reminds me of the way The Sims talk. So when you talk to any of the NPC’s, rather than having it translated with subtitles the Narrator translates and summarises their speech from a third person perspective; a really neat touch.
The gameplay has a great foundation to it and it provides a lot of optional extras depending on how you want to play. You get to customise your character by picking from six different breeds of animal, each with slightly different starting stats. After you select your breed, you can mutate the character slightly to lean towards a certain attribute like strength which will give you a stockier build but a smaller head, while leaning towards intellect gives you a short body but a much bigger head. You then get to choose a resistance preference which I think is probably a step too far as there are enough different clothes, costumes, and ways to build up resistance in the game that I feel this part is a little redundant. After then there are still a few customisable options like your fur type and colour to put a personal touch on your character. The last choice you make is your class with five to choose from. These have more of an impact as they each hold special skills related to that class so you need to choose wisely. I stuck a lot on the default option so I chose dead eye which is a more gun-based character and that served me well as I was much better at fighting at range.
The movement and control are as fluid and responsive as you would want in this type of game. As the game is an open world, you can spend a lot of time roaming the land and there are a variety of mounts to obtain and tame to make travelling quicker and more fun. The combat is generally pretty good and there are so many different options that you can handle combat in different ways. Biomutant encourages you to mix up your melee and gun attacks as some enemies are more vulnerable to one over the other. But as you progress and level up you can learn special combo attacks which can be melee based or ranged based. Some combos even combine the melee and gun attacks, which is interesting. All the combos are part of your Wung Fu martial art skills, and performing different skills in combat can allow you a Super Wung Fu overdrive state which allows you to do more damage. In reality though I think I went into Super Wung Fu overdrive about 5 times throughout the whole game. On top of the main combat, you can obtain PSI powers which are magical attacks that use your KI energy to perform. These can help hurt or stun the enemy or make you more evasive to attacks. There are also mutation attacks you can learn by investing mutation points into these certain attacks. I must admit I struggled to use a lot of the PSI and mutation powers in my playthrough as my character was very gun strong but there is plenty of options available if you didn’t want play as more magic-using kind of character. The boss fights against the World Eaters are made to feel a bit more epic as each boss has a few stages where they change and make things a little more difficult and make for a fun challenge.
Biomutant is not purely about combat, as there is plenty of puzzles to play, areas to find and animals to meet to expand your adventure. After you get past the initial linear tutorial section the world does open up and become free to explore. This game has a massive overload of side quests that just keep growing, keeping you busy and even providing you with a fun and interesting distraction from the main story. The puzzles are quite amusing to explore as they take human gadgets and give them whimsical names. Satellite dishes become ping dishes, TV’s are eye boxes and guitars are stringy plonks to name but a few. When you find these gadgets they usually have a puzzle attached which you have to complete to gain experience and loot. There is a lot of loot to be had and it’s hidden everywhere to be discovered. But with all this loot comes a decent crafting system which, for a change, is not overwhelming. You can choose to customise your melee weapons, ranged weapons or your clothing by replacing certain parts like the blade of your melee weapon or the grip of your gun. It’s quite obvious which parts are stronger and offer more damage and so I picked it up pretty quickly. You can choose to either break down the weaker loot for materials needed for crafting or you can sell them to traders to earn more to buy better gear.
There is also a choice system in play where you can be more light (good) or dark (bad) and in the grand scheme of things it seemed to have little impact on the story from what I saw. But it does have an impact on certain PSI powers you can use and some conversations with NPC’s. There are little creatures you can capture and pet for light points or kill for dark points. Some animals have been caged by bandits that once released you can free them for light points or kill them for dark points. There are also shrines and conversational choices which can boost your light and dark points but I didn’t really see much of an impact of picking one over the other except for the PSI powers that unlock based on your light or dark leaning. I thought it might make the whole Ark part of the game make more sense but it didn’t and I won’t dive into that further as it contains spoilers.
Biomutant has ticked a lot of the boxes needed for a wide-open adventure RPG like this. Lots of customisation, wonderful graphics, interesting characters, humorous elements, free-roaming and combat that you can handle in different ways without being restricted. One could say they also ticked boxes that didn’t need to be there like the light and dark auras, as I didn’t feel it offered much to the game. But don’t let that detract away from the experience as is was massively fun to play and there are so many side quests to complete that you could have just as much fun exploring as playing through the story.
This game was reviewed based on Xbox One review code, using an Xbox One console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.