It’s official. The gun-toting raccoons shall inherit the earth!
If looking after the planet were a fulltime occupation, humanity’s CV would already be lining a landfill. Still, what if mankind really were made redundant? Who, or what, would go on to inherit the earth? While X-Men makes the case for the mutants and PlanetOfThe Apes opts for… well, apes, Swedish developer Experiment 101 is choosing to embrace both. No more humans and a mutant critter on the loose? Welcome to ‘a wolverine and the ex-men’.
This is Biomutant, an open-world action-RPG from the minds behind the
JustCause series. Designed as a sort of post-apocalyptic fable—and narrated in ‘storybook-style’ throughout—the game features intelligent animals battling it out as part of various warring tribes. The protagonist meanwhile, a diminutive raccoon-like creature (think Rocket cosplaying as a cowboy) is out to investigate the appearance of a thick black tar that could signal The End™.
So far so fairytale, or so it may seem, but make no mistake—
Biomutant is no Pixar movie. Nor, however, is it unnecessarily edgy. This is a world of grit, grime, quirk, and color—being neither realistic nor totally fantastical.
Indeed, robust, nuanced design is at the heart of everything Experiment 101 is trying to achieve here. Side quests, we’re told, will be highly engaging affairs, lower in number than your standard RPG perhaps, but easily more worthwhile. Crafting also promises to bring plenty of depth to proceedings—allowing you to tinker with weapons and gear at will, and to an impressively varied degree.
Darksiders May Cry
Speaking of weapons, the game’s core combat system also promises to be a cut above the usual action-RPG. To that end, Experiment 101 has designed a fluid, freeform scrapping system that bears more than a passing resemblance to the likes of
Darksiders and DevilMayCry. While face buttons handle the gunning, jumping, rolling, and striking, shoulder inputs allow you to briefly ‘remap’ the pad in order to execute punishing mutant powers. It all adds up to a combat system that’s less about dialling in the combos and more about using your skills in concert.
That’s where mutations come into play. These abilities range from shooting lightning from your fingertips, to moving objects around with telekinesis. One particularly useful ability involves planting large mushrooms that double up as jump pads—perfect for getting to those hard-to-reach areas or launching your foes into an airborne combo. All told, the game will feature around 40 of these unique and quirky powers, with no two abilities working the same way.
This is ‘character action’ on a sandbox scale, though thanks to the game’s Bionics system, getting around really ought to be a breeze— quite literally in the case of the Da Vinci-esque wingsuit. Other methods of transport include a bruising mech, a jet-ski-style watercraft and even other animals. Best of all is the ‘hand tank’, an oversized mannequin hand that scurries around like Thing Adams before shooting bullets from its fingers. Talk about redundancy—we can’t imagine you’d want to ride around on anything else.
If that all sounds ambitious, that’s probably because it is. Still, small studio or not, Experiment 101 clearly has good reason to be excited about
Biomutant. Gamers ought to be, too.
“The game’s core combat system promises to be a cut above the usual action-RPG”