Saturday Morning Gaming: Mutant Year Zero
A million years ago, TSR had a gaming system for pretty much every escapist fantasy you’d want. You want to do something Lord of the Rings-y? D&D had you covered. Something Science Fiction-y? Star Frontiers. Something Rip-Roaring in the Old West? Boot Hill. James Bond? Top Secret. Chicago Gangsters during Prohibition? Gangbusters. You wanted to do the heroes in capes thing? TSR had Marvel Super Heroes. The beauty of each of these systems is that NONE of them worked with each other. If you wanted to take your swordsman out of your game and play him in the Old West, you played GURPS. You wanted to do that with TSR’s various systems? Hard cheese, pal.
Well, what if you wanted to do a post-apocalyptic mutants? Ah, for that we had Gamma World. Run around as a crab-handed serpent tongued guy shooting evil rabbits as you search for ancient tech? Sign me up!
Well, imagine if you took that and mixed it with X-Com. In this, you get some pre-generated characters in the form of a Mutant Hog and a Mutant Duck and it’s your job to go out and search for some of your mutant friends and get some ancient tech along the way.
You know how X-Com gave you an army and switched between flying to base, flying to combat, and flying to base? In this, it’s a little more immersive. You’re out walking around with your named characters and you move from wandering around the various environments to stumbling across enemies and switching seamlessly to combat. This is important because now there are really interesting ways to surround and ambush enemies. And THAT is important because there are some enemies that you’re not going to be able to beat unless you ambush them when you’ve got them flanked.
It’s an awesome game that I’ve only got two complaints about:
- It’s a hair short for my tastes (looks like you can beat it in about 20 hours when you can play a 60+ hour game of X-Com or X-Com 2)
- No customization of your base character. They’re pre-generated for you.
HOWEVER! It looks like it’s poised to get some serious DLC in the future which should definitely take care of the first one and there are enough little RPG elements to get you to feel like you’re customizing YOUR mutant duck (even if you’d prefer to make a mutant rabbit or something like that).
And, on top of all that, it’s on sale this weekend. So if you miss X-Com and would like a fresh take on a really awesome formula and have some seriously character-driven fights along the way through an interesting narrative? You need to check this puppy out.
So… what are you playing?
(Featured image is “Biology mural at James Madison University” by Alison Stephen. Used under a creative commons license.)