Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden Deluxe Edition Switch Review
Reviewed on Nintendo SwitchAlso available on Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One and PC
Back at the start of the year, we reviewed the base game for Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC. Giving it an 8/10 and calling it “A true sleeper hit”, the praise was high for this plucky tactical strategy RPG. The original review is well worth a read to get a better picture of the game at large, but we’ll summarise it briefly here.
Mutant Year Zero is a turn-based tactical strategy title set in a post-apocalyptic Earth. You’ll take control of a small band of mutants - mutated animals that can walk on two legs, talk, and fire an arsenal of homemade weapons - plus a few humanoids as you struggle for survival. Reviewers were generally enamoured with the mixed focus between stealth, exploration, and combat, but fast forward to August 2019 and the game now has a Switch release with a few new bells and whistles.
Titled ‘Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden Deluxe Edition’, this version includes the newly released Seed of Evil DLC, which can be purchased separately on other platforms. Not only does it add new enemies, maps, and some new perks, but it extends the original storyline beyond the hurried ending of the base game - one of the few criticisms that original reviews made of Mutant Year Zero.
We also see the inclusion of a new mutant, Big Khan, which helps to pad out the diminutive roster of playable characters. All in all, Seed of Evil does a great job of shoring up some of the original release’s weaknesses, while also providing an additional 10 hours of gameplay. It does increase the price of the title to £40 on the Switch - £10 more than the base price on other platforms - but the combination of content and portability makes the Switch version an enticing prospect.
How does the Switch port fair in terms of performance, though? Unfortunately, this is where things start to come apart. In handheld mode, the characters are grainy and pixelated, while the lighting and environments look muddy and washed out, and things don’t get much better when you throw it up on a bigger screen, either. You can adjust the text size, which makes comprehension a little easier in handheld mode, but it’s a drop in the wind, sadly.
The models are just too blurry to enjoy the gameplay as it was intended. The problem runs deeper than just an unappealing aesthetic, though, as exploration plays a key part of the downtime between combat encounters in Mutant Year Zero. Scavenging for loot becomes significantly harder with the low visual fidelity of the Switch port, to the point where you may just want to skip it entirely. It’s a real shame, too, as the base game looks absolutely gorgeous when played on a stronger machine.
It’s worth noting, though, that this port doesn’t exist in a bubble. The Switch has given us some excellent turn-based strategy titles such as Wargroove, Into The Breach, and the recently released Fire Emblem: Three Houses, but it’s yet to deliver a stellar XCOM-like. The other options on the Switch all have pretty significant performance issues, with titles such as Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics, Hard West, and Phantom Doctrine all receiving mixed reviews.
With that in mind, the visual hits that Mutant Year Zero has taken to make the jump to a portable platform seem less severe. You may just find what you’re looking for in the aforementioned strategy games that have found critical acclaim, but if you absolutely need a hit of that XCOM feeling, Mutant Year Zero is probably the best option available on the Nintendo Switch.