PAX Aus 2019: Biomutant feels like it could have been made in Australia

Biomutant was extremely weird, and the PAX build was rather janky but that didn’t change one important factor: I think I love it.

Biomutant is a game about survival as a tiny mammalian mutant that looks a bit like a koala. Surviving on what seems to be a version of Earth that suffered some massive apocalyptic event, you scurry to and fro through the ruins of a more advanced world and salvage what you can for armament.

Our demo at the Koch Media booth began with the usual character creation pleasantries, but with a fun twist — choosing your characters stat sinks with the radial menu affects their appearance. If they’re more charismatic or intelligent then they wind up with a big bulbous head. If they’re strong and dumb then they have longer limbs and a tiny head. I spent a few minutes just moving the cursor around and enjoying the changes it made to my avatar, which proves I’m great at managing my time at the PAX media hour.

From there, I moved into a tutorial area that took me through the basics — I have a gun and a large bladed weapon I can swing in melee. The gun proved far more powerful against stronger enemies than the melee weapon and felled the first miniboss in about seven shots, while minions fare less well against the blade. This may have been a tweaking of the numbers for the convention build just to keep the lines moving, but the high gun damage did feel a bit odd.

Combat was mostly against smaller, more agile mutants and burly heavy hitters. This meant treating many encounters in a Souls-like fashion — always moving, picking the right moment to strike and working out which weapons will do the most damage against certain enemies. Damage numbers pop and criticals appear in red, letting you know when you’ve hit the sweet spot.

It’s dirty and grimy and wonderfully strange. A narrator speaks with an Australian accent and, for a moment, it felt like it had an artistic and comedic sensibility that could have come from a local studio. That it’s being made by Swedish team Experiment 101 was a surprise. We will be following Biomutant‘s ongoing development closely as it heads to toward release.

Biomutant is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC. It currently has no release date.

David Smith

David Smith is the games and technology editor at The AU Review. He has previously written for PC World Australia. You can find him on Twitter at @RhunWords.

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