Mutazione is a chill interactive fiction game. You play as Kai, a fifteen year old girl, as she heads to the Mutazione to look after her ailing grandfather Nono. Mutazione is the leftovers of a once large city that was hit by a sizable meteorite in the past at some point, which completely obliterated the area. The meteor also happened to mutate things, people, plants, animals, the whole shebang. Nono came to the land something like fifty years ago to check it out and stayed there afterwards, living amongst the once people and other sentient creatures of the area. This is more of a slice of life, interactive drama than anything else really.
The game’s mechanics is finding plants to pick up their seeds so you can build your own gardens later in the game, and talking with people, often choosing dialogue options during the conversation in order to steer the story a little bit. The game is made for you to talk to everyone, then go to the person who has a clock on them. The clock furthers the day’s time. Usually you have early morning, morning, noon, afternoon, late afternoon, night, late night. Almost everyone can be interacted with in each time period, and that gives you a lot of back story, really immerses you in the game world, and lets you get to understand the characters you meet.
The gardens thankfully are done in real time or anything, instead you plant seeds of the same type which is based on a symbol they have on their seed page. When you’ve planted everything you want you can then use Nono’s spiritual drum, as he is a shaman, to fast forward the life cycle of the plant which usually takes a couple times, it’s pretty quick. After you grow the plants you can harvest them to get more seeds or even other items and seeds, though that’s rare and only a few story specific items do it. Even if you go too far and the plants go to dying status you can always salvage the plant, at any time really until it disappears, to get back the seed you used in the first place. You can lose seeds by pushing plants to death and then just keep fast forwarding time. They will eventually vanish leaving you without a salvageable plant to get seeds from, but the chances of doing that are pretty slim as there’s never a need to push it like that.
The game also lets you just garden willy nilly outside of the story of the game. There is a Garden choice at the main menu and you can go to any garden you’ve unlocked so far in the main game plus an extra one that’s unlocked from the start of the game. In this mode you can just play with different settings and grow plants as you see fit. It’s just something to fiddle with and relax to. The gardens also produce various music because each plant itself makes a sound, you can listen to the garden’s music by clicking a menu section just called listen. So you can make a beautiful garden and make beautiful music while doing it.
This game will take you around eight to ten hours if you’re playing it like it’s expected for you to, if you’re just going and doing the minimal amount of work you can beat it pretty fast, but you lose so much story doing that. It has a really interesting narrative that’ll bring out a few different emotions while playing, which is nice.
All and all, I rather enjoyed the game, the character designs were interesting, the backstory given by characters as you talk to them makes them very fleshed out from the less personable characters to the ones that’ll be your favorites. The only thing I would like the game to have added to it is a manual save feature so I could see if there was really any difference in story bits based on the things you say, I don’t think there probably is an major difference but there could be and I can’t remember even one tenth of the answers I gave in my playthrough. Oh and I’d like Kai and her mother to have faces, every other character has a face except them and that’s weird.
A review copy of the game was provided by the publisher, Akupara Games.
darkmikasonfire awards Mutazione the Indie Gamer Team Seal of Approval.