Biomutant is an action role-playing video game developed by a small studio called Experiment 101 and published on 25 May 2021 by THQ Nordic. Biomutant was designed by leading creators of the Just Cause series and the Mad Max video game. It is unique in its way in terms of style of narration and story progression. Now, let’s begin with our Biomutant review.
Biomutant isn’t the game that will blow you away. It is Experiment 101’s first title, and the studio is fairly small. It had just 18 employees in 2018. However, it is a fun experience that can easily last you a weekend, and you won’t hate your decision the next Monday. The game has a unique idea. In a post-apocalyptic world, small mammals learn how to walk upright, and the worst of all: they learn how to craft guns. The protagonist has some good kung-fu skills, and an RPG system allows you to gather new, different kung-fu moves as you progress. The game isn’t something you would regret missing: it is average. However, if you want to check out what post-apocalyptic kung-fu looks like, this game can be a strong contender.
Price and Editions
Biomutant’s base version is available at $59.99. However, there is a Collector’s Edition and an Atomic Edition.
|Standard Edition||Collector’s Edition||Atomic Edition|
|A1 Fabric Artwork||✔|
|High-Quality Protagonist Figurine (Small)||✔||✔|
|Premium Display Box||✔||✔|
|High-Quality Protagonist Figurine (Big)|
[L: 60cm/23″, W: 25cm/10″, H: 30cm/12″]
[80cm x 35cm or 31″ x 14″]
|T-shirt in L/XL||✔|
THQ Nordic has filled up the Atomic edition with collectibles. Picking it up might be the game collector’s dream. It costs $399.99. But, for a hardcore fan, the greens will be worth it. THQ Nordic is also selling the soundtrack digitally on Steam for $4.99.
A DLC for the game dropped recently. It is called Biomutant – Mercenary Class and is available for $2.99. The Mercenary Class DLC is a special loadout and was offered as a pre-order perk until a few days ago. The protagonist is equipped with shorter Wakizashi blades and a classic Katana. It can be called a Samurai outfit, and the character also gets dual-wield as a starting ability. This content is playable only through this DLC.
Biomutant is played from the third-person perspective. The players control a mutated warrior mammal that resembles a raccoon. The in-depth character customization is well-made: players can adjust strength, agility, body shape, fur, fangs, and other aspects that impact gameplay. The individual character can be upgraded as you level up in the game, so you won’t make a “bad decision” in the beginning and the game won’t penalize you for it.
Moreover, the plush Character Customization panel is awesome – players can adjust the mutations in different parts of the body. To complement all this, the game also has different Affixes. Affixes are either cryogenic or electrical, and players can attach them to the weapon. Both the Affixes are effective in battles but I went for electrical because it looks cool.
- Cryogenic is pretty much what the name suggests. Enemies will freeze when hit with a weapon that has a cryogenic affix.
- Electrical Affixes electrocute enemies.
The game allows you to attach different Affixes to separate weapons in your current loadout. You can use a combination of weapons with different Affixes to maximize the advantage of this feature. I did use this all the time, and it turned the luck of several battles, if not every one of them.
Certain areas are accessible only if the player attains suitable gear. These gear range from air balloons to oxygen masks to a full-fledged drivable bot. These aspects are rather common for an RPG game that focuses on exploration. The implementation was awesome, and Experiment 101 did take extra care to ensure that it did not feel repetitive at any point during the gameplay.
The leveling up system is extremely rewarding. Level-ups reward the player with ability points, which they can use to increase any character. It also rewards the player with new kung-fu moves. These moves are beneficial if you can remember the exact key combinations to trigger them. The kung-fu aspect of the gameplay needed more work. The game does not specifically ask you to perform any kung-fu moves, it is just sitting there for players. This aspect did have potential, and if the game emphasized upon them, it would have added more depth into the gameplay.
The game is a mixture of an open-world RPG like Assassin’s Creed and a dialogue-based graphic novel-like progression of Life is Strange games. The more the player interacts with characters, the more dialogues are unlocked. The game also involves decision-making, and Experiment 101 did walk the extra mile in this aspect. The decisions the player takes alter the ending of the game, which is rather uncommon for an open-world RPG game. The decisions also alter enlightenment, which is a very interesting aspect.
Players have two sides of their souls: a bright side and a dark side. Although every decision you take while choosing your dialogues might not alter the storyline, it can adjust your enlightenment, which the game calls ‘Aura’. The game thoroughly describes this as, “No one is perfect. It is a bit of light and a bit of darkness that makes up every one of us. Together, we become the very best versions of ourselves.” This feature does alter gameplay and the story lightly but its presence is felt throughout the game. It is that final touch that sets Biomutant apart from the crowd.
The game also features a photo mode, which is fairly basic. However, it has a fair bunch of scene customization options and gets the job done.
Again, Biomutant is based in a post-apocalyptic world. Human beings have become extinct a long time before the story begins, but remnants of the human civilization live on. Players can explore old underpasses, ruins of towns and cities, and scattered rubble all around the map. The game world is filled with mutated animals, which are said to have originated from carelessly dumping nuclear waste material into the seas by a corporation named Toxanol. As a result, small mammals have learned to walk upright and their brainpower seems to have gotten a significant boost. The game shows them crafting guns, building palaces, and fighting wars. In the real world, only humans can do them.
The world is bright and picturesque and despite a graphical approach, the game does look phenomenal at places. Experiment 101 has put huge attention to sound design and making the open-world interactable and living. Exploration does not feel boring, and the availability of mounts and fast travel will speed things up if you want them to.
Plot and Story Progression
Biomutant’s plot is quite interesting. Experiment 101 has innovated a lot and the plot consists of several parallel stories that will make playing the RPG rather more fun. Decisions made by the player alter the fate of planet Earth and shape the story in several ways. Coupled with features like enlightenment, it becomes more of a test of personality.
Simply put together, bipedal mammals have divided themselves into six tribes, and have developed their set of mentalities, and cultures. These tribes include Myriad, Jagni, Ankati, Netra, Pichu, and Lotus. All the tribes are led by a leader or a “sifu”. All these sifus used to be united under the protagonist’s mother in their tribal village. But, the protagonist’s mother’s past came to haunt her, and the carnivorous Lupa-Lupin killed his parents. Thereafter, the disciples separated and settled in their tribal villages. They formed a community ruled by their principles and approach towards the world.
The story revolves around a certain “Tree of Life”. This tree is believed to support all forms of life on Earth ever since humans destroyed it. But, in this second era of scientific colonization and industrialization, these mammals become human-like. Three tribes want to save the Tree of Life, while three others see it as an opportunity to expand their territory and power. Situations worsen when tribes go to war against each other.
The protagonist is depicted as the “final warrior any tribe would need to complete their army”. The tribe which has the protagonist by its side will emerge triumphantly. In addition, five creatures begin threatening the Tree of Life. They appear at the five roots of the tree and begin eating it up. The protagonist also must either defeat each of these or let them be, a decision that will decide the fate of the world.
Three Story Arcs
The entire story has been divided into three parts:
- The Toxanol Corporation
- The Tribal War
- The End of the World
These stories are continuous, and events from the first two build-up to the final chapter.
Early on, the player is introduced to a character named “Out-Of-Date”. This character narrates the story of what happened to the world after the protagonist left it. The entire backstory flashes and gives the game a good start.
Toxanol, a corporation from the “old world” dumped waste in landfills and the sea. However, years of dumping chemical, nuclear, and toxic wastes, and ignorance of Toxanol caused other animals to mutate. The world quickly became inhabitable. The landscape got filled with heatwaves, radioactive pockets, cold shocks, and toxic chemical zones. Humans escaped in spaceships called “Arks”, leaving the world behind. With time, biodiversity flourished. Newer and more intelligent animals started walking the earth, and with this began the quest for power. Among these newer animals, who should become the alpha and walk the Earth as others kneel before them?
With this begins the Tribal War. The war is a clash of ideals, with no two tribes accepting each other’s views and ideas. They are stern in their own belief and want others to follow the same. Towards the beginning, Out-Of-Date asks the player to join either of the two tribes of Myriad or Jagni. While Myriad believes in faith, loyalty, values, and wants to protect the Tree of Life, Jagni focuses on militarism and wants to bring more lands under control. The protagonist can join any of these two tribes, which propels the story. The player’s decisions will lead them to either unify against a common goal or worsen mutual relations. The player gets the weapon of the tribe on defeating them but unlike other weapons, these aren’t modifiable.
Apart from the Tribal War, Out-Of-Date also asks the protagonist to take care of the four beasts eating up the Tree of Life. The game calls these beasts “World Eaters” and the tribe the player allies with directly affects the quest. There are two fates of the beasts:
- Kill the World Eaters and save the Tree of Life
- Tame the World Eaters and allow them to move forward along the roots of the Tree of Life
After the player has killed two of the beasts, the protagonist will discover Lupa-Lupin’s lair. The player can go in and avenge the death of his parents. After the Lupa-Lupin has been defeated, he gets stuck in vines, and the player will have to fight him again at the end of the game.
The fate of the World Eaters describes the ending of the game. In the showdown, the Tribal War almost comes to an end, and the remaining tribes either unify or are subdued. The player has to fight a mutated version of Lupa-Lupin for the last time along with their tribe leader. This final battle can either save or end the world. The result will be decided depending on the player’s Aura:
- First Ending: If the player is enlightened, the story ends with the protagonist forgiving Lupa-Lupin and letting him live. This ends the cycle of violence, and peace is restored. The protagonist then embarks the last remaining Ark with Out-Of-Date, his sifu, and four chosen comrades.
- Second Ending: If the player is dark, the story ends with the protagonist killing Lupa-Lupin. He then embarks the last remaining Ark with Out-Of-Date and his sifu. Dark players don’t get to choose any comrades.
Irrespective of your decisions, both of the endings show the protagonist escaping Earth in an Ark. This suggests a Biomutant sequel might come out sometime down the line.
Biomutant has a decent storyline, but narration sucks. The mammals speak in their language, and none of that resembles any modern language. There’s individual narration for each line, cut scene, and event, which slows the game down. It also starts feeling repetitive and can be a good reason for many players to dump the game. However, it is a great title coming from an indie developer. Experiment 101 is planning to remove the extra narration with a future patch, and that will be welcome.
Combat feels great, and it is not repetitive. The game did try a lot of new things and the implementation of a large number of them is great.
Experiment 101 worked hard for the last four years, and it is worth checking this fable-like game. No game is perfect, and this title has its set of good and bad aspects. Features like Aura and decision-making parts of the game felt complete. Finally, every decision the player makes contributes to the game’s ending, which is satisfying.
A title worth checking out as it has some innovative aspects. However, this isn’t the game that will blow you away. But, for a small indie studio with a handful of developers, their first release truly delivered!