by Sean Martin
previewed on PC
I wasn’t at Gamescom last year and so I missed Experiment 101’s post-apocalyptic fairy-tale, Biomutant. But luckily for me, Biomutant returned this year, Experiment 101 adamant that after such a positive response, they don’t want to release the game until it’s absolutely perfect. So what is Biomutant? In the future, post calamitous natural disaster, the world has taken root once more, nature returning to the world… albeit stranger. The key difference is that now, the world is inhabited by strange mutated creatures including communities and tribes of crazy mutated furry animals. You play as one such creature, but a loner. As you customize and alter the mutated visage of your character, you gain different stats and skills. Cast into one of four unique start positions, you are left to walk and climb across the world, fighting tribes, exploring, making new friends and just generally sculpting yourself into a legend of post-apocalyptia. As you do so, your exploits are narrated by a mysterious omniscient human (the only voice in the game in fact).
While there are random tribes to pummel and friends to make, the central pursuit of the game is the ‘world eaters’. These 5 beings of immense power, can be found gnawing on the roots of the world in separate locations across the map. Each can either be fought, allowing the world roots to heal and in turn, the planet to improve. Or you can make a deal with the world eater and receive a benefit in return (Bioshock little sister style).
The battle however seems like a far more entertaining option as this allows you to utilize the mech. By helping an NPC mechanic creature, you are given the opportunity to take a spin in his armoured robot suit. This suit comes equipped with a variety of weapons and movement capabilities, allowing it to effectively fight the world eaters. We were also told that the game is going to have series of mounts, though we didn’t see any specific example. But on the whole, the boss fights seemed multi-staged, fairly dynamic and fun. At one point in the world eater battle I saw, it swallowed our hero, who then had to quickly climb out its gut, to slash at its heart and finish the creature.
IS THIS WORTH SAVING?
The combat in Biomutant is fast paced, jumping around combo-ing with a variety of weapons, each of which is linked to a specific tribe of creatures and has a unique super attack. But from what I saw, the combat looks great; a high-octane, attack fest, diving between creatures, pummelling them into the dirt. It really fulfils the strange futuristic aesthetic of the game, but the violence also remains cartoonish, giving the game a touch of wackiness. Each of the tribes has a specific area, but the areas seem very distinctive, others including for example, an underwater area. There are also biohazard areas, where the apocalypse still lingers, and you must traverse them either with specific equipment, or great care.
On the face of it, Biomutant seems like a somewhat wacky game, but dig a little deeper and you’ll see a surprising level of engagement with its world. Humans are long gone and the new world is barely recognizable; strange, mutated, but Biomutant still prompts the player; is this worth saving? By how you deal with world eaters, or by how you deal with the tribes of the new world, uniting them, destroying them, or empowering certain ones, each will add another layer to your own specific ending. Biomutant looks great and will certainly fill a space for those Fable fans who have been missing the franchise in recent years. The combat looks interesting and the world eater bosses seem like a lot of fun. There’s no precise release date yet, but I’d keep an eye out.