Like any open-world role-playing game, Biomutant is a hodgepodge of interweaving parts, many of which aren’t exactly explained in the early goings. Two of us—staff writer Ari Notis and weekend editor Zack Zweizen, who reviewed the game—have spent a whole lot of time in Biomutant’s vividly colored yet morally gray world. Here’s everything we wished we knew from the jump.
Trying to swim in Biomutant is basically asking to die. Swimming requires stamina, and drains it quickly, to the point where you won’t even be able to doggy paddle across short distances. You might not realize from the start that you can get a Googlide (a jetski) by completing the first few steps of Goop’s questline. Don’t attempt to wander around the waterlogged Surfipelago area without unlocking the vehicle first. If anything, play through the main quest until you’ve unlocked the Googlide.
As you explore, you may see a giant otter...lemur...thing holding a lantern. This fella, dubbed a “mirage,” is arguably the most helpful NPC in the game. Talking to them will kick off a flashback sequence, which will then allow you to choose one of four new upgrades for your bug sidekick: a reusable damage boost, a reusable health pack, a glider function, or an auto-seeking turret. If you see this creature on the horizon, drop whatever you’re doing and talk to them. You can meet the creature multiple times, but you can only choose one upgrade each time. (The turret is the best one. The glider is the coolest.)
You might be tempted to toss away or sell your older weapons as you find and create newer things. But don’t be so fast to trash your stuff. You can upgrade weapons and gear, making them stronger and more useful as you level up. After crafting something really good, feel free to go back to it later if you find a new muzzle and stick that on instead, improving the gun without losing the whole thing—which would be very wasteful.
Nice voice, just uses it way too much. Shut him the heck up.
Skills, stat points, psi-powers—as far as we can tell, you can’t undo any of your upgrades. Choose wisely! Or, more strategically, bank your upgrades for a few hours of gameplay until you get a better handle on your playstyle.
Between the fetch quests and insultingly simple puzzles, it’s easy to write off entire categories of side-quest in Biomutant. Whatever you do, don’t neglect the bandit camps, and in fact make a point to tackle every one you see. The fights are tough and often overwhelming, but you’ll find a book that gives you a free skill point in every camp.
You’ll see that some psi-powers are gated off by how “dark” or “light” your aura is, not allowing you to unlock them unless you have a certain morality rating for one side or the other. But Biomutant’s morality meter, despite how games like Fable may have conditioned you, isn’t a see-saw. If you alternate between “good” and “evil” choices, you’ll be able to unlock all of the psi-powers in the game. (Pro tip: In conversations, generally the left option is dark while the right is light.)
The tribal war storyline is one of the first plot beats you encounter after the intro. You might feel the urge to skip it, preferring to focus on the world-destroying monsters. However, you’ll have to wrap up this questline one way or another before you finish the game. It’s better to do it sooner than later—for every tribe you take out, you’ll add a new weapon to your arsenal. (The Jagni’s staff is one of the better weapons in the game.) And, as you go, you’ll get fast travel points for every outpost you take out, making future travel around the world a whole lot easier. So don’t put this off; instead, peck at it as you do other things. You’ll be glad you did.
If you, like us, follow the classic gaming rule to never, ever use a health pack or potion unless absolutely necessary, you’ll die a lot. Fights in Biomutant can sometimes turn on a dime, so don’t be afraid to use your health packs. The game dumps literally hundreds of energy and health items on you. Contrary to what the opening hour will have you believe, most enemies you loot and containers you search will give you a healing item of some sort, alongside other stuff.
There’s an entire economical arm to Biomutant, but it’s largely a waste of time. Most of the gear you can buy pales in comparison, at least in terms of raw power, to the stuff you’ll find in the wild. Plus, Biomutant absolutely showers you with loot. The easiest way to make green—that’s literally the game’s name for currency—is to sell your gear. But you can dismantle that gear to source components that are essential for crafting, which will nearly always produce better weapons and armor than what you can buy from a vendor. Basically, don’t even bother partaking in Biomutant’s economy.
While Biomutant has a fairly reliable autosave, crashes and bugs are quite common. Plus, the narrative is rooted in the choices you make—from obvious, story-defining crossroads to seemingly innocuous conversations—so it’s always good to have a fallback or three if you feel the need to save scum.