In a sea of Breath of the Wild clones, is a furry version really what’s needed? As its title may suggest, Biomutant is a conglomerate of a few different genres not only when it comes to its gameplay but its story, too.
This amalgamation does however make for a messy unpolished touch which perhaps isn’t always a bad thing in a post-apocalyptic world run by raccoons. Biomutant is a Frankenstein's monster of a game and with so many different elements, there are some that are more welcome than others.
Our World To Come
Before you are thrust into the post-apocalyptic world of Biomutant you get to choose what your character looks like and Experiment 101 didn’t skimp on the customisation options here.
Boosts and perks are spread around every option in the character creator. They’re in what breed of animal you choose, what class you’re in and then you get a resistance boost to a certain element between Heat, Cold, Biochemical and Toxic. You can even boost the size of your body parts using a chart which also dictates some attributes so if you have a big head, your intelligence stat will also increase.
The many options here do dictate your capabilities in battle but luckily you can change all of these multiple times in the game (except for your breed).
The earlier Breath of the Wild reference is most apparent when it comes to Biomutant’s story. Your furry character is tasked with taking down four giant world-eating creatures from the edges of the map in order to save the Tree of Life which is dotted in the middle.
On this grand adventure, you won't be alone, however, as the game's narrator joins you to not only provide commentary but also to translate the gibberish of other characters in the world.
The option to toggle the narrator's voice on and off should be more than enough for any player not wanting to hear it but the inclusion of a narrator itself seems to have taken away from the other characters having any voice or personality.
Instead, we were greeted with the standard, repetitive gibberish we see in many games which can often be heard repeating. It's a shame, because the design of the game's characters are a real standout, but removing their own dulcet tones makes them harder to discern from one another.
During your journey, you can also choose to align with one of six tribes that can own certain territories. With the help of the player character, your tribe can own more and more territories by defeating and taking over strongholds.
This is something that isn't tied to the main story of defeating the World Eaters so it can be done flexibly whilst travelling between story missions.
A Whole New (Empty) World
There are also plenty of options when it comes to choosing how to traverse Biomutant's vibrant, irradiated world, from a mount, a mechanical hand, a flying carpet and even a mech.
A game like this wants you to fall in love with its world but it's hard to when the world feels incomplete and a mashup of too many random elements which makes Biomutant lack a sense of identity.
Mechs, humanoid animals and kung-fu along with the many other clear inspirations did keep my eyebrow constantly raised throughout.
In one instance, I stumbled upon and saved members of my tribe from being attacked by enemies in the middle of nowhere, which resulted in deathly silence and a few pieces of loot to console myself with.
It was one of the few random encounters I found during my trek between one World Easter and another, but the colour and detail in the world pale when the player is forced to trudge through much of it to complete uninteresting tasks.
Fighting Climate Change
Biomutant’s combat is one of the game’s saving graces, with guns blazing and metal clanging, with the potential for elemental magic, too.
Expect to battle through smaller enemies and larger bosses alike, but at the start of the game, the combat can feel especially slow. Biomutant's Ki system really limits what you can do in battle, to the point where it feels like a constant case of managing cooldown gauges.
Still, as Biomutant progresses, weapons, moves and powers come together to allow for more stylish fights, but that early balancing act of attacking and then awkwardly sidestepping while waiting for abilities to recharge can creep back in.
Weapons can be upgraded with up to seven unique parts, adding surprising RPG depth to proceedings with buffs to critical hit chances and elemental buffs.
There's enough here for it to be overwhelming, with moves, abilities and weapons all ripe for the tweaking, but I found myself getting a handle on things early on - and in a world filled with talking animal mutant monsters, standing out is important.
For all of Biomutant's strengths in combat, the game is riddled with glitches and bugs.
Progression-blocking, game-breaking issues are far too frequent, with cutscenes not triggering and phantom button presses all too common, while some occasionally wonky animation, interface slowdown and issues with collision damage were constantly suggesting that Biomutant needed more time.
Biomutant’s positives ever so slightly outweigh its faults and with more time (and patches), it could grow into a much more entertaining game.
Its unique world, extensive customisation and pool of interesting moves and tricks in battle make this game fun to play but for now, a colourful but empty world, a wealth of glitches, and dull objectives make it a tough sell.
Reviewed on PC
Review copy provided by the Publisher