Developer: Experiment 101
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Platforms: PS4, PS5 (reviewed), Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC
Release Date: May 25, 2021
I remember seeing the trailer to Biomutant at E3 2018 and the concept of a post-apocalyptic world filled with adorable, furry creatures really tugged at something in me. I knew that I wanted to play this but after three years, I almost forgot about how it felt to watch the trailer. When Biomutant popped up to release this year, I got excited all over again. What could players expect from an open world, post-apocalyptic, kung fu world filled with anthropomorphic animals? After many, many hours of gameplay, I still have no idea.
In Biomutant, you play as a wee one-eyed mammalian orphan who grew up outside of the main world limits after your family is killed but you escape. Everyone remembers you from being a child and as you progress, you work to gain your memories back. In this post-apocalyptic world, humans have polluted the ground and now that poisonous oil is seeping out and killing the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life, well, gives life to the world. Goop (the poison, not the Gwyneth Paltrow brand, although…) isn’t the only danger. Worldeaters are gnawing on the roots of the tree, hindering its healing. You have been tasked at taking out the bad guys and saving the tree…OR you could just let the tree die and be a villain yourself.
The thing about Biomutant is that you can choose how you play the game. There is a Karma system in place where your actions will point your moral compass in the direction of dark or light. You can manage your Karma by watching your Aura. Your Aura will tell you if you have tilted towards the dark, the light or if you hang out somewhere in the middle. There are tribes in this world that you can side with which will affect your Aura, your Karma and the fate of the tree itself. Throughout your adventure, your reaction to NPCs, your side quests and your treatment of little creatures along the way will all affect the dial on your Karma. As I have always considered myself a chaotic neutral, I tend to keep my Aura balanced. That means for every good deed I did in the story, I would have to do something a little unsavory on the side.
In the beginning of the game, you get to choose your breed (Primal, Dumdon, Rex, Nyla, Fip or Murgel), your mutations (are you more intelligent or strong, etc.), your resistances (heat, cold, biohazard and radioactivity) and your class (Dead-eye, PSI-Freak, Commando, Saboteur or Sentinel). I chose a Rex Saboteur with dead center mutations and resistances. Since Biomutant is a RPG, I figured that I could level up the qualities desired once I figured out what was important to gameplay. There was also a 6th class called Mercenary but it was only available for pre-orders.
When you change your mutations, the body of your furry friend also changes. Stronger mutations make for a bigger and bulkier creature with a smaller head. More intelligence means a smaller body but a bigger head. That little detail makes for just an extra layer of customization. On top of your body shape, you can choose your fur pattern and primary and secondary fur colors to truly make your little savior your own. I chose hot pink and purple fur because my hero is fabulous. Along the way, you collect a metric crap ton of loot which includes armor and clothing from the practical to the fantastical. All of that can further be upgraded and modified.
Weapons are both ranged and melee with the ability to modify your weapons or create brand new ones with the pieces you find scattered around the world. The melee weapons can be both edged and blunt, one-handed or two-handed depending on how you like to play and your class. I found that I leaned into melee and Wung Fu for most of the combat and would only use ranged fighting when cornered or healing. Guns are also great for chipping away the health of larger enemies that hit really hard.
Something that has been bugging people about Biomutant is the fact that the only voice in the entire game is that of the narrator, AKA your Automaton. Your Automaton is a wee robot that follows you everywhere and translates what everyone says. If he truly bothers you, you can turn down (or turn off) the narrator in the settings. On the other side of the coin, if you are like me and enjoy the commentary, I turned mine up a bit.
I will be honest and say that I didn’t give a rat’s fart in space about the storyline. Honestly, the story was so B-line for me that most of the time I didn’t pay much attention to the main quests for a good long while. The best parts of the game are walking, running or riding through the world and taking in the sights. Biomutant is BEAUTIFUL, truly stunning to look at. The map is nothing to sneeze at and spending the time to go exploring and unlocking fast travel is sometimes more enjoyable than running on a main mission. Oh and by the way, to unlock a fast travel location, you have to pee on a sign and mark your territory. To some it’s disgusting. To me, it’s hilarious.
While I am aware that Biomutant doesn’t perform at its best on PS5, that is exactly what I played it on and I didn’t notice the problems others were facing. While there was an interaction bug in the very beginning and sometimes, if I run really fast, it will take a moment for an old car to load in the distance, for the most part the graphics and gameplay remained colorful and smooth throughout the entire game. Even when I was being bombarded by enemies and colors were blasting everywhere, not a frame was dropped.
Throughout the map, you will encounter a variety of environments and they will all look different. Whether the land has been ravaged by heat, cold or pollution, you will see, and FEEL, the effects unless you have a protective suit. Outside of those damaged areas, you will be surrounded by colorful flowers, lush green trees and glistening waters. I recommend taking the time to use the pingdish to find the safety suits. They will open up new areas of the map for you and along the way, you can pee on a lot of signs.
Speaking of pingdish, one of my favorite things in Biomutant are the remnants of human life and technology. Because these mutated animals don’t know what a telephone, a piano or a treadmill is, they have come up with silly and straightforward names for these inventions. Therefore, there are several silly side quests for you to find that technology and unlock it. The puzzles are so easy that a blind fish could do it but if you wanted a challenge, you should have played Dark Souls. Biomutant is not a game for someone looking for a challenge. This is a game for someone looking to relax, explore, have an adventure and find some funny loot. If you are super into the Tree of Life story, then that is great. In my opinion, the story is just there to say that a story exists.
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There is replayability in Biomutant because of the Karma system and the endings. If you want to be a saint, go ahead and earn all of the light Karma and save the tree. You want to be a bad boy? Get all the bad Karma and kick that Tree of Life to the curb. By earning light or dark Karma, you unlock different abilities, so there is a big chance for variation.
In all, I think Biomutant is a ton of fun. The gameplay mechanics feel good, the graphics are so bright and beautiful and the leveling up system feels right. While there is room for more customization in your furry hero, the ability to make it your own is there. I still have no idea what Biomutant really is but I am in love regardless.
A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.