Anno: Mutationem features a fantastic cyberpunk world that’s a joy to explore, as not only does the main narrative offer a certain intrigue, but the side quests you can discover on your travels offer more depth to the bustling cities. Better still, the combat is fluent, fun, and action-fuelled
If there’s one type of world I love to explore yet don’t get to experience very often, it’s cyberpunk, so when the news came out that Anno: Mutationem is the way to Switch, I couldn’t contain my excitement. The game hit Steam earlier this year, and while I’m partial to a bit of PC gaming, it’s consoles that truly hold my heart. Thus, here I am to deliver my verdict on an action-adventure RPG that embraces both 2D and 3D gameplay.
Before I dive into the gameplay and mechanics, I just want to gush over how much charm the world of Anno: Mutationem has. From the second I hit the streets, it’s fair to say the world completely ensnared me, and while that’s undoubtedly due to the bustling cyberpunk city I’m in, it’s also down to a complimenting art style. The pixelation brings everything together in a nice bow.
Admittedly, the 3D world does take a bit to get used to due to not being able to traverse roads and streets that look accessible, but that’s a very minor inconvenience, especially after you get going and discover the joys of exploring the various cities you have access to. Speaking of which, there are a vast number of environments that beg for exploration. Be you in the lively city, some back streets, a cargo ship, in an underground facility – there’s much to do.
Of course, a charming world can only take you so far. A game must also have the characters to match. Luckily, Anno: Mutationem features an enigmatic cast of characters, each of which has their place in the world. From the protagonist Ann to her hilarious hyper hacker pal (or lover) Ayone, and even a living breathing corn that you can come across for a side quest. I still scratch my head due to that whole exchange, but in a fond way.
Speaking of which, before we take a quick look at the narrative, I must mention the side quests. There are plenty of them, so you can get more bang for your buck, and there’s a nice variety that keeps things fresh. If I have to pick a favourite one so far, it’s definitely the aforementioned incident involving a grown corn that’s trying to sell corn juice. Honestly, the whole exchange is hilarious, and I often find myself in complete agreement with Ayone on her assessment of the situation.
But alas, Ann wants to take part in the tournament he invites us to, and that’s what makes this my favourite sidequest, as it’s essentially a parody of Mortal Kombat – all that’s missing is the iconic ‘FINISH HIM!’ – and It’s a blast to face off against some foes in a round of fisticuffs.
Anyway, onto the actual narrative. Anno: Mutationem features an interesting story that’s bound to encourage you to invest your time. You see, Ann is a bit of a badass. As a highly trained combat specialist, she can handle her own in tough situations, which happens to be a handy trait as she investigates the disappearance of her brother Ryan. It’s a mystery that takes you to various locations, and each time you think you’re closer to the truth, new problems arise.
Then there’s also the fact that Ann suffers from an illness. I don’t want to go into much detail to avoid spoilers, but this plays an integral part throughout your journey. Now then, onto what you all want to know about, combat.
When the time comes to fight in Anno: Mutationem, you step out of a 3D world and into a 2D one, and this is where it essentially becomes a side-scrolling action platformer, but let me tell you, it works a treat. Whether you choose to shoot or use blades, battles are fun, satisfying, and run so smoothly that if you die you can’t shift the blame anywhere else – it’s very much a you problem.
To help up your chances of success, you can dismantle parts in order to craft new weapons. Then, as with any RPG worth its salt, there’s an abundance of skills for you to unlock that can help tailor the combat to your own style. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a gunslinger, ammo conservation and reload times are must-owns, while the various light sword abilities are crucial for melee builds.
There are plenty of enemies for you to fight. In fact, more often than not, there are hordes of them for you to hack ‘n slash your way through. Or, if you like things to be a little bit more explosive, you can always hurl a grenade or two. Then, if that doesn’t work, bring out the big guns, AKA a rocket launcher. You’re a one-girl army, which makes success all the more sweet.
Of course, no matter how fun a game is, if it’s plagued with numerous performance issues, it’s tough to ride it out, or it’s best to check it out on a better performing platform. Well, in my humble opinion, the Switch is a fantastic console to play this game on. Admittedly, it can get a bit jittery during loading screens, but that’s it. When it comes to actual gameplay, it runs smooth as butter.
All in all, I’d recommend Anno: Mutationem to anyone. It’s a splendid action adventure RPG that near seamlessly blends 2D and 3D gameplay together. Better still, the only performance issues occur during loading screens, and this is a very small price to pay to experience an enthralling cyberpunk world on the go.