Like the genetically-conjugated protagonist, Biomutant is a jumble of ideas that are eventually spliced together to form a mixed bag. The game combines elements of open world design with stylish action, gunplay, crafting, and a moral system. Like many do-it-yourselfers, it’s not the master of anyone, and because there’s a thick layer of technical junk on top of half-hearted ideas, Biomutant is like a feature creep case that needs to shrink. I feel it.
At its core, Biomutant is a typical open-world game featuring basic objectives, points of interest, and a large map of various environmental biomes, with strange wildlife roaming in between. Despite the post-apocalyptic premise, the vibrant world is full of colours, and I love how its beauty juxtaposes the ruins of modern civilization. The magnificent Tree of Life is in the center of the world, and its four giant roots meander miles overhead for a mysterious sight. The anthropomorphic character and monster design is a fascinating blend that is strange, entertaining, and sometimes disturbing.
I enjoyed Biomutant the most when I came across hidden bunkers and abandoned villages, cleaned up valuable loot, and simply explored. Travel is even better thanks to a variety of modes of transportation, such as riding a variety of vehicles, trampling on mechanical suits, and soaring on a glider. Summoning a mecha from the sky can empower you until you realize that some vehicles can only be used in vaguely designated zones. It is forbidden to summon a boat in one clear body of water, but it is forbidden to summon it in another body of water, which reduces the freedom of the game.
Combat blends stylish melee attacks with wacky shootouts, but lacks the necessary polish and often feels messy and inaccurate. Carrying is particularly frustrating, and the loose lock-on system makes it terribly painful to stay on target. Thank you for all the special powers you have at your disposal, such as making fire marks and causing ice storms. These abilities add flashy wrinkles to your actions, but even after investing status points, you can’t pack as much punch as you need in combat.
Biomutant combat has become more tolerable with the acquisition of more powerful weapons through a robust and rewarding crafting system. After collecting old sniper scopes, trumpet horns, and even random junk like bananas, you can hit the devastating murder machine together. I had a great time getting the most out of this system, and it was always rewarding to see my creations tearing monsters. The same goofy satisfaction applies to armor and equipment. My character rocked a mascot helmet and polo shirt that looked ridiculous, but the outfit was reinforced to be as sturdy as an armor suit. The desire to make cooler weapons was strong, and even when I found a loot that was inferior to what I already had, I found it consistently worth looking for new parts. That’s because you can sell it at any time, or better yet, break it down into valuable materials to make better parts.
Biomutant boasts the most mediocre and overwhelming amount of side activity, but many of them end up completing simple actions a set number of times in different places. The task itself isn’t bad, it’s just a definition of a busy job, and the rewards aren’t worth the effort for half an hour. Still, you don’t have to worry about the lack of Biomutant content. My quest log was full of things that kept me busy for dozens of hours, even if those activities were generally shallow.
The elements around the edges can allow some entertainment, but when it’s poured into the overwhelming core of the story, it all feels hollow. Bring your furry hero back to life and you’ll be hooked on some big jobs. Four destructive World Eaters are killing the Tree of Life. It’s up to you to stop them. You also need to end the tribal war by joining one faction and consolidating or eradicating the rest. What’s more, the barbarians who killed your family as a child have to resurface and deal with it. You said that some life-saving arks have a limited number of seats, but do you need to decide which ally can ride for free if the world turns sideways?
Biomutants juggle many threads, but none of them are attractive. Revenge for the death of parents lacks emotional punch, as the murderer is not the most factor in the story and the final confrontation unfolds in a predictable and anti-climatic way. The only way to resolve the tribal war is to conquer other settlements in a bland conflict and decide whether to kill or spare the leader. World Eater missions have the most meat in their bones for a variety of tasks, such as obtaining vehicles to prepare for a major battle. But facing these beasts consists of a sloppyly designed boss battle that robs these huge battles of awe. I feel that the ark subplot is completely unnecessary, and it makes no sense if I can save everything anyway. The ambiguity of storytelling further weakens the already shallow moral system that makes yo-yos between basic black and white choices.
Throughout your journey, a fun British narrator will tell you the whole adventure. He’s doing the right job, but his rampant interjections outside the cutscene hit me after a while. The narrator also talks about all the characters. This loses the character’s personality. The conversation gets messy because you have to wait for the narrator to translate the native creature’s Gibberish. The only other voices you hear are your two flickering fairies that represent your bright and dark sides, and they have become my favorite personality by default. I like them constantly looking down on each other while they rally you to join their side.
Inadequate presentations and technical issues further ruin the experience. The cutscenes are rough, thanks to the stilt animations and the overall flat delivery. Sometimes unstable cameras can zoom inside an object during a conversation. Cinematics can even block ongoing dialogue and can end abruptly. Playing on a PC allows for a smoother outing, but various bugs and hard crashes have hampered the console adventure.
Biomutants consistently show the sparkle of promise, but you need patience and rosy glasses to see them. I really hated the first few hours of the game, but I was most disappointed when I made the fight more durable or made a cooler weapon that praised another postcard-worthy sight. Biomutant contains all the elements of a unique and entertaining adventure. Instead of honing just a handful of strengths, it just takes too long to do everything possible to impress the audience.