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Biomutant’s Nintendo Switch port proves the grass isn’t always greener on the other side

Biomutant’s Nintendo Switch port proves the grass isn’t always greener on the other side

Some major sacrifices were made

We’re all guilty of pushing certain titles to one side with vows of ‘I’ll get around to it eventually’. That’s certainly been the case with me and Biomutant. When the Experiment 101 project first launched on PlayStation, Xbox and PC, I was intrigued by the concept. After all, I love action RPGs set within an open world. Add in the fact that Biomutant takes place in the lush green variety of post-apocalyptic settings, and it had my attention captured.

Assurances by friends that the game has an air of the Horizon franchise to it only solidified my intent to play given that both Horizon Zero Dawn and Horizon Forbidden West are both games I wholeheartedly adore. Well, in recent weeks, the opportunity finally arose to sample Biomutant thanks to its new Nintendo Switch port - but this is where the story sours.

While it’s clear that there’s a good time to be within Biomutant, I can only feel disappointed that I finally got around to playing it in the worst possible way.

Take a look at Biomutant in action on Nintendo Switch below.

Back when Biomutant first launched, GAMINGbible’s James awarded the game a score of nine, writing, “Biomutant is a superb open-world, action-focused RPG. You can fight to your heart's content, meander through gorgeous and bleak environments, and enjoy a story that takes you to far corners of a wonderful in-game map. It's not always easy on the eye, but look a little deeper and you'll see it's brimming with beauty.”

Over on Metacritic, the game’s score sat in the high 60s, with the exact number varying depending on which platform you select. I can very much see what James was getting at though with his awarding of nine. Biomutant lays some very solid foundations and exhibits the potential to spawn quite the franchise. Yes, the quests can get a tad repetitive but there’s an ease to them and the combat too that makes tackling quests quite moreish. It’s one of those games where you can totally switch off and just chip away at your to-do list.

It’s clear that for many players, Biomutant’s beautiful open world is also a major positive. It makes traversal a treat and suddenly, journeying to your next brawl or setting off on your next fetch quest doesn’t feel like such a chore. I say ‘for many players’ though because what is typically the game’s biggest strength is its biggest weakness on Nintendo Switch.

While, yes, I can sense that the game is dropping me into what could be a pleasant open world, what I’m instead presented with is a PlayStation 1-looking nightmare. Don’t get me wrong, I have a nostalgic fondness for PS1 visuals. It’s just not exactly what was sold to me over the years when friends and colleagues recommended Biomutant.

Biomutant /
THQ Nordic

Having loaded up the game now on PlayStation 5, I can see what a lush and visually arresting world Experiment 101 has created. On Nintendo Switch, however, much of that vegetation is removed with many textures stripped back to the bare-bones basics. The grass has the same effect you might get from colour-blocking a green background in Microsoft Paint. Grey paving stones jutted out in a way that, at times, made me feel like I was playing 1997’s Croc: Legend of the Gobbos.

This visual simplicity clearly allows Biomutant to run pretty well on the console. Besides the odd instance of clipping, I didn’t experience any major issues whilst playing the game but is that worth the sacrifice on visuals? Absolutely not. In fact, as harsh as it may be, I do find myself questioning why Experiment 101 was so adamant on launching this sub-par port. I can’t imagine there was an insatiable demand for the title on Nintendo Switch given that this is a three-year-old middle ground release.

What I am sure of is that Biomutant certainly will scratch the itch of my fellow Horizon fans. The world isn’t quite as enrapturing as Aloy’s but you will be tasked with uniting several clans as a devastating blight threatens the post-apocalyptic landscape - a premise that’ll likely sound familiar to fans of the Guerrilla franchise.

In Biomutant, you assume the role of a small mammalian creature - one which, I should add, is very skilled in combat, mixing martial arts with traditional melee and shooting abilities. The land in which our hero inhabits is built around the centric Tree of Life, but that tree is bleeding from its roots, an issue that is dividing the land’s clans. It’s up to you to choose whether you want to be the land’s saviour, or whether you will “lead it to an even darker destiny,” as the game teases.

Biomutant /
THQ Nordic

I appreciated this level of choice in Biomutant. It adds that all important sense of replayability which, clearly, is something I need to do after having experienced the game on Nintendo Switch the first time around. There’s a Fable-esque quality to the title, particularly as its narrator accompanies you on your journey.

I’ll also add that while I tend to avoid multi-weapon RPGs on Nintendo Switch - I simply find them easier to control on PlayStation or Xbox - I can’t fault the combat here. It felt fluid and easy to pick up, dodgy visuals aside. Some combat techniques lack a feeling of significance. One move may yield as much damage as another making you wonder why you’d bother switching between them but it’s not an earth-shattering fault.

If you’ve never played Biomutant, are you missing out on an essential gaming experience? That’s a resounding no, but if you’re a fan of either the Fable or Horizon franchises (with perhaps even a dash of The Legend of Zelda thrown into the mix), you’ll find an entertaining AA here that may not do anything revolutionary, but provides a solid enough action-adventure experience. What you shouldn’t do is embark on that adventure on Nintendo Switch. If you do so, I can only feel that you’ll be staring longingly at your PlayStation, Xbox, and PC counterparts knowing full well that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. In fact, it isn’t even textured on the other side.

A review code was supplied by the publisher, THQ Nordic.

Featured Image Credit: THQ Nordic

Topics: Nintendo Switch, THQ Nordic, Opinion