by Sergio Brinkhuis
previewed on PC
Publisher THQ Nordic is gearing up to have a great year with titles such as Elex and Battle Chasers: Nightwar coming up soon and The Guild 3 releasing in the first half of next year. But the publisher is looking ahead as well and gathered up a storm when they unleashed the Biomutant announcement trailer onto the web just before Gamescom. Obviously we could not wait to check out the game for real.
Biomutant is an open-world action RPG that puts players in the shoes, erm… feet of an angry looking kung-fu rabbit tasked with saving the land. To be honest, I’m not sure if it really is a rabbit, it could be a fox or… well, it’s a mutant right? It could be anything. The hulking Wolf that is shown in the trailer is the game’s main antagonist. I would have loved to have shared my worldly knowledge here with you and told you about the backstory of these two characters. Unfortunately developers Experiment 101 were a bit skittish about sharing story details - not wanting to give away too many spoilers. What I can tell you is that the Tree of Life of this land is dying due to a plague ruining its roots. To save it, the lands inhabitants must all work together or - and this is where it gets interesting - be destroyed.
Whether you unite or destroy the game’s six tribes is entirely up to you but you’re just one rabbit, or fox, or…arrgggh – “It!” and no one is going to just roll over and die. It’ll be a tough fight. The land is divided into a variety of zones and you can’t just go for a stroll from one to another. In cold zones, “It” will need a warm jacket, in ozone filled zones he’ll need an oxygen mask and so on.
The mutant aspect takes shape in the form of special attacks and abilities as well as your characters physical attributes. To start with the latter, when you create your character the physical attributes that you see will translate into the gameplay. Make him big and he’ll be stronger but slower as well. Make him small and he’ll be fast and nimble but will have fewer health points and strength as a result. Then there are the mutations. One mutation makes enemies angry and blindly attack. Another allows you to drop down giant bouncy mushrooms that can be used to reach high up areas that you could not reach otherwise.
Mutants can fight too. The devs are aiming for a John-Wu fighting style, meaning that there will be lots of speedups and slowdowns, there’s jumping and ducking and airtime and whatever else kung-fu masters do while practicing their craft. Some of the enemies you will be taking down will drop bio points that can be used to unlock or enhance mutations.
Described as a fable world, the developers have plenty of room to do some pretty odd and nifty looking things in the game. At one point “It” sat on the back of a golden metallic hand of which the Fingers were used to punch enemies when it wasn’t shooting bullets using its index finger. We also saw a huge faceless, blue … space Orc defend itself using a car door as a shield. The door prevented any damage from getting through and needed to be destroyed first. Nothing can be taken for granted in this game and the element of surprise is going to be one of the key factors to the success of this game. My personal favourite craziness was seeing some of the enemy skeletons light up in their bodies as you’re disposing of them.
In between all the action there are NPCs to rescue and interact with, new moves to learn, blimps to fly and a tree to rescue from keeling over. If that’s not enough to get you excited, I don’t know what would be.