Every year there’s at least one video game that releases seemingly out of nowhere, garnering massive amounts of praise and love in the process. Games like Stardew Valley, Golf Story, Yakuza 0, and NieR: Automata all turned out far better than anyone thought before their release. For 2018, BioMutant from THQ Nordic is giving off every indication that it could be this year’s sleeper hit. This is partly because the game has so many elements of what people love like RPG mechanics and deep customization, but also because it just looks so damn unique.
A new trailer released for BioMutant this week shows off a bit of its gameplay mechanics, in addition to what we’ve already seen. The first thing that really jumps out from the trailer is the game’s unique visual style. BioMutant sports an East Asian aesthetic, like something you’d see out of a movie like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. This is, of course, mixed with some heavy sci-fi elements like heavy machinery and the many strange creatures that inhabit the world. This interesting mix of ideas makes BioMutant unique, and it has a kind of comic book style to everything.
At multiple points in the trailer you’ll notice action words popping up in bold colors as the player’s character does something. For example, when the player jumps on a bouncy mushroom the word “Boing!” pops up in bold orange. This really adds to that whole comic book vibe, and the visual trick is used more than once.
On top of just a cool visual style, there’s quite a bit of gameplay variety that the short trailer shows us. The customization in BioMutant looks a bit crazy, as we see a few different colors and types of little creatures. A particular moment that stands out, though, is when we see a shot of a creature body connected to giant mechanical hand. The hand has a ranged attack it shoots from its finger, and then creepily walks forward on all five fingers toward enemies. It sounds like this is just the tip of the iceberg with character customization too, as THQ Nordic took some time to detail the customization system and its options earlier today.
Interestingly, it seems like your character’s stats and their appearance are directly linked. If you opt to invest in strength, your character will look more like a buff bruiser, whereas investing in agility will make your creature thin and lithe. Just based on the visual variety we’ve seen in trailers, it looks like BioMutant’s RPG systems provide a lot of variation. Even past just appearances though, there’s a number of bionics that you’ll be able to plug into your character that give new abilities, especially for exploration and traversal.
The trailer shows us a nifty bow you can use to shoot attachment points onto cliffs and walls, then use them to nimbly climb up. There’s also a giant mech that we see the character in, and a kind of hanglider that they use to soar over an open field. THQ also says that there’s a jetpack you can find and an extra set of wings to help you fly around. Each of these options seem to change your character in pretty dramatic ways, and if there’s a lot to explore and find in BioMutant’s world, it’s exciting to think about all the possibilities.
Of course, all of this character customization will probably play into the game’s combat as well, which looks fast and fluid. The combat of BioMutant probably most closely resembles character action games like DMC or Bayonetta. Your creature can zip around the battlefield blasting enemies with guns or can launch them up into the air with its blades. Extra abilities seem to add even more options like using a grappling hook to pull enemies close, or using your bow to pull yourself to them. It’s too soon to know if BioMutant’s combat will be as deep as something like DMC, but early signs certainly look promising.
If there’s one word that sums up how BioMutant looks, it’s weird. But that weirdness looks absolutely fascinating and endearing at the same time. Customizing your own little Rocket Racoon creature is a tantalizing idea, and even the little details in the trailer make the game look polished. These are things like your creature’s hair slicking down in the rain as they shiver, or the ludicrous way they flail through the water as they swim.
BioMutant is something that looks wholly unique, which is an incredibly refreshing thing with how few new IPs we get these days. Only the game’s release will tell if all that promise pays off in a memorable experience, but for now at least BioMutant should definitely be on your radar.
BioMutant is due out sometime in 2018 and is currently in development for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.