Hey, is that Rocket from GOTG? Nope. A bit similar, but not quite as angry and without the cool weapons…at least to start with. Actually, I’m not really sure what the critter is (or was), but he’s the hero of this story, so let’s get into it.

Our game of the day is Biomutant, and, just from the title, I’m sure you all know where this is leading. Yes, as you already expect, there will be opportunities to experiment with mutations to upgrade our little hero. You don’t get to mutate everything at the start, but, as they say, getting there is half the fun.

Biomutant was not quite what I thought it might be based on the publisher: THQ Nordic. I have played games from this studio, and got to meet some of the nice folks from THQ back in the E3 days. Some of the story-based games I played were very well done, but this one is a 3D open world game more akin to the newer Zelda environments. I would like to say there are distinct good points and bad points, but it wouldn’t quite work. There are a few things which are easily classified, but there are more items which have, to quote a different GOTG character, “A bit of both.”

At first glance, the visuals are very well done. Some of the fine detail gets a bit sketchy when you get up close. Maybe that’s a Switch issue. There were some lovely tall grassy plants with wispy tops which looked great when our hero was about 10 in-game paces away. Once he got within a couple of paces, you can see the disconnected dots of color used to represent the feathery ends of the plant. It looked a bit like a Bob Ross painting of evergreen where he made a series of taps on the canvas. But in 3D games where things are in motion, the illusion starts to break down and our happy little tree seems a bit sad. Overall, the graphics are good and the world which has been built is populated with interesting things to look at, interact with, and occasionally hack, shoot, or beat to pulp. Fun, right?

When you start the game, you get to select some characteristics for your avatar. You can choose your preferred balance of traits like stamina, intelligence, agility, etc. You can also pick a fur type (color and pattern). As you make your way in this world, there are the typical missions and objectives to complete. You get to collect stuff you can use immediately and stuff you can save up to get new upgrades and mutations. I had hoped for a little more interaction in this open world platform, but the early stages seem to be mostly pre-planned paths with simple “get from point A to point B” instructions.

This is, in part, because the early stuff is a bit of a warm up. There are even some instructions provided to get the player used to the movement and attack mechanics. One of the good things/bad things is testing out the movement, parry, attack combinations with some opponents. Biomutant has a robust mixture of martial arts and gun-based combat, so it’s good to get some on the job training. It was a bit frustrating during training, however, to be defending yourself and whacking away at a boss only to watch them take no damage while you get no reminders of what you were supposed to learn from this situation.

The soundscape has some good background music and sound effects. Here, too, a good/bad is the narration of the story. The delivery is a mixed bag of a refined and clear voice delivering the lines along with a sort of predictable and less than engaging story.

Some of the creatures you get to battle over the course of the game—from little critters to big bosses—show a good sense of creativity visually. You get to play around with multiple mutations over time. Your abilities change along with your gear, so you can do more—and more interesting—things. You can even have a mount in the game so you don’t have to just walk around everywhere.

Some of the world has some nice territory to explore within the whole open-world framework, and there are also plenty of buildings to rummage through. These feel a bit like a simple dungeon crawl, only with less stuff with which to interact. After a dozen-or-so hours, things start to feel monotonous and occasionally pointless.

Thankfully, the controls are not overly complex, so the physical aspect of playing the game doesn’t become a serious distraction from the whole experience. The camera, however, could use better positioning to provide a more stable picture and reliable tracking, especially during combat.

I liked Biomutant, generally, but it feels the developers decided to skimp on some of the content and refinement to make a deadline. Biomutant seems to be about 80% of what it could and should be.