Imagine Rocket Raccoon from Guardians of the Galaxy inside of James Cameron’s Avatar, with a touch of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie…
You know, the good one.
And you get BIOMUTANT, a sprawling open-world RPG that casts you on a quest to save the tree of life, all while you get to play as a tiny mutant nightmare smurf.
The opening hours of BIOMUTANT are really strong. There are slick combat encounters, and the constant narration from a calming British man really gives it a storybook quality. But all of that starts to get long in the tooth as the game opens up, and you realize that you’re actually playing a really pretty Ubisoft game, with outposts and territory to seize, and mediocre quest design that feels like nothing more than going from point A to point B to do some really awesome kung-fu moves.
BIOMUTANT does have some important things to say, however. The entire story revolves around environmentalism. The apocalyptic world was caused by INSERT EVIL CORP HERE, the entire crafting system is based around upcycling waste, and the lush greenery of nature is always filled with beauty compared to the stark concrete of the wastelands. It’s tackling issues we don’t see in games often, and I really appreciate that.
The combat is a mix of melee kung-fu inspired combos, some gunplay for ranged combat, and a series of Bio powers like this toxic vomit, or super fast fire dash that you can completely build out throughout your playthrough. That is perhaps one of Biomutant’s biggest surprises, just how much customization there is from your character, to your gear, and the combos available to you. The flip side to this is you end up spending a lot of time in menus equipping and crafting hear, and dolling out your upgrade points, which can take away from the experience.
BIOMUTANT is a really gorgeous game. Its lush forests and rolling hills are some of the best we’ve seen yet, and the crumbling concrete of the wastes is actually terrifying in contrast. The art design is really on point here, straddling that line of realism and cartoon with ease.
While most enemies are fairly easy to handle, you will be taking care of some giant mutants as you move thughout the story. There’s even a sequence that’s just like that one episode of The Rugrats where they shrink down to go inside of Chuckie to get the watermelon seed out of his stomach.
Look, some trauma just stays with you, alright!
BIOMUTANT has a certain charm that feels really unique. You literally piss on posts to mark your territory for the fast travel points. You meet really interesting characters and go to a land filled with the crumbling ruins of a society long gone.
But outside of that charm, it isn’t really doing anything that is spectactular. Biomutant is a fun, competent game that survives based on its novelty alone, and for some people that may be enough.