Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden blends real-time stealth with turn-based combat. While it’s easy to learn the basics, it gives you complete control in how you approach every battle. Your group of protagonists consists of a mutant duck and boar named Dux and Bormin, on a quest to find the leader of their civilization known as the Ark, and lets you collect more characters to help you out as you advance through the story.
The story here is pretty cliche and has been adapted from a pen and paper RPG from Sweden. While it hits some of the usual post-apocalyptic tropes, the game is short enough that it moves at a good pace, and constantly has something new to show you. The voice acting here is actually quite good. You’ll easily get attached to your characters as they ramble on and talk to each other, revealing history and backstory.
Mutant Year Zero’s gameplay can get really addictive. It lets you scout areas in real-time, planning your moves and scouting enemy positions and then – with the first shot of your gun – transitions to turn-based tactical warfare a la XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Environments are destructible. It’s a riot to have an enemy hunker down inside a building only to have you blow it up on your next turn leaving them out in the open and defenseless, or worse, lying dead in the rubble.
Enemy line of sight is represented by a red or white circle, which, if you cross into it, immediately pulls you into battle. If you turn your flashlight off, you are able to skirt around a little easier. If it’s on, the red circles become bigger and you’re more easily detectable. This sneak mechanic makes it fun to roam around and discover everything the gorgeous looking maps have to offer. You’ll find loot in the way of crates and boxes, often being weapons, upgrades or cool-looking armour. You can run around in military-style riot gear or a top hat with a police uniform. It’s really up to you.
To make scouting and staging an ambush easier, you can quickly separate your party and move each character individually, setting them at critical points on the map before engaging your enemy. This makes it easier to catch them off guard. Silent weapons can be used to pick off stragglers without alerting others, but often it’s a guessing game as to how far other enemies can hear, so you’re always thinking about where they are and how to approach them. This lets you bring their numbers down before battling an entire group.
Overall, Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is an impressive game that looks great. The battle and stealth systems are both compelling by themselves, and when used together here, really shine. The voice acting is great, and the atmosphere is, while sometimes a bit repetitive, really engaging and immersive. It’s a shorter game, about 8 hours, but one that fans of stealth action games will surely love.
Have you played it? let us know what you think in the comments!