Biomutant is a rocky game in more ways than one. Character models often refuse to load, clipping through the world is common, and you might lose battles because your tiny rat body gets lodged deep in the earth and you can’t move. The narrative is childish and dull. Cutscenes frequently glitch out. Textures look strange on the PlayStation 5, and the entire game feels unpolished. But despite all that, I keep coming back for more.
The world of Biomutant is one worth exploring. It’s vast, beautiful and vibrant — and there’s plenty of gorgeous sights and sounds to discover as you journey through the game’s cutesy, animal-filled post-apocalypse.
Wander through the woods and you might uncover a vast chemical wasteland filled with rare treasures. Stumble into a swamp and you’ll unearth a pack of hideous, roaming slime monsters. On a high cliff you might find the final piece of crafting material you need to create a whopping piece of armour.
Behind every rock, crack and mountain is a shiny new secret, and they’ll all help you on your path to rodent glory. The best part is the game’s open world is filled with unique locales, so exploration is consistently exciting and never even begins feeling like a chore.
As you wander, you’ll also enter a unique and idyllic soundscape that really makes the land sing. Biomutant has an orchestral, folksy soundtrack filled with strings and deep drum beats, and it always strikes the perfect tone for your journey.
Travelling through mountain ranges gives you lonely, sparse tunes, while more dangerous monster-filled realms are filled with threatening thunder-cracks and quicker-paced beats. It makes the entire exploration experience atmospheric, tense and extremely fun — more-so than the game’s entire main narrative.
Biomutant‘s world is beautiful, well-designed and filled with diverse biomes. But the game’s story and overarching structure is just so uninteresting and poorly told that it drags the action of the game down.
It means the best way to enjoy everything unique Biomutant has to offer is to ignore the main quest entirely and get out into that open world the second you can. You will have to sit through a bland first hour or two as the game forces you through the opening narrative hoops. But once you’re clear of this introduction, run for the hills.
There’s beauty beyond the borders of the main story, and plenty of fun side quests to uncover.
Taking on these quests will eventually unlock your character’s progression and new areas in the game, meaning there’s major incentives for holding off on the main story and exploring instead. You can even discover major, high-powered unlocks just by stumbling into strange fields or lakes.
If you run into an obstacle you can’t overcome like radioactive waste, Biomutant gives you a quest to find the proper protective suit to travel through the area. (You can also ignore this and run through anyway, if you’ve buffed the requisite resistance enough.) If your weapons aren’t strong enough, you get a quest to make them stronger. This means you can leap from quest-to-quest while you’re out in the open fields, avoiding the game’s main narrative for as long as possible.
It sounds counter-intuitive to suggest you play a game by avoiding the main plot. But there really are gorgeous, interesting moments hiding beyond the surface of Biomutant. Its setting, characters and post-apocalypse are ripe with unique lore, character designs and locales. Yes, the game is absolutely held back by its rickety narrative and narrative structure, but that doesn’t mean it has nothing to offer.
Travelling through the open world of Biomutant is an incredibly relaxing experience, and one that’s good for the soul. While the game’s soundtrack is yet to be released online, you can hear snippets of it here:
Now close your eyes, imagine you’re wandering in a beautiful field, and you’re halfway towards the Biomutant experience.
There’s plenty of beauty to be found in the game if you stop and smell the roses.
Biomutant is now available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC.