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Mutazione is a game about the importance of taking care of gardens and people

It can be hard to find time to finish a video game, especially if you only have a few hours to play a week. In our biweekly column Short game, we recommend video games that can be started and ended in a weekend.

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For a game that is a bit experimental or offers a very unique take, it is often easiest to explain it by finding something to compare to. That way you can roughly understand what kind of game it is in a few words. A short walk is like Animal crossing plus The legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Pear Quest is crossed with an Where's Waldo? book. But for Mutazione, it is hard to find that comparison point.

Mutazione is an adventure game in the sense that & # 39; adventure game & # 39; has become a kind of all-genre term for games that have a lot of narration with some gameplay elements, such as Night in the forest. The story follows Kai, a high school girl, who visits her estranged grandfather after receiving a letter stating that he may die. He also lives far away from her town hall on an island full of mutant plants called Mutazione, a name that apparently is a portmanteau of mutant, zone and biome.

You learn that the island was once a fairly normal city until a meteor destroyed the whole thing and started to cause mutations in both humans and plant life. The small community that continues to live there consists of mutant people and a conscious fungus scientist who has created a fairly normal life for himself. They built their village from the ruins of the old town while living in harmony with the strange flora and fauna of the island. Nonno, the aforementioned grandfather, acts as the shaman of the city. But as he gets sicker, he has been unable to complete his duties to maintain that balance; instead, he uses unsuspecting Kai to help.

Kai can help by replanting and caring for different gardens in the village, each of which requires different types of plants to bring it back to its normal state. These gardens are unlocked as you progress through the story; You usually get access to a new one in every chapter of the game. These chapters take place over the course of a day divided into different periods, such as & # 39; in the morning, & # 39; in the afternoon and & # 39; in the evening. During each segment you are free to explore the island, find seeds for use in the gardens and talk to villagers. The day and story progress after you have completed the specific task or conversation that you need from the game.


This means that you can effectively do the things you need to do in the game, and skip the optional conversations with the townspeople. But those conversations prove to be some of the most fruitful and meaningful conversations. They can help you understand the characters better. For example, if you visit Miu early, you'll learn that she likes to listen to loud punk music before she & # 39; go hunting at night. But as things evolved, I noticed that I was not just looking for the characters I liked, but making sure I talked to everyone. Many things are brewing beneath the surface: unrequited love, terrible trauma and painful memories that try to hide characters or keep them locked up with the best of intentions.

Those hidden things eventually become part of those important conversations that promote the story, with the optional conversations that serve to fill your understanding or predict what will happen in advance. Kai focuses primarily on her grandfather and their story, but everyone on the island is in the middle of their own story. And because it is such a small and close community, those storylines are confused.


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Ultimately, it becomes clear that gardening is not just about adding some gameplay, but as a metaphor. Before the arrival of Kai, the gardens were not maintained, some in such a condition that there was no garden to begin with. It is not that different from the state of the islanders. They may seem like normal mutants, but there are also problems that they have not yet solved.

This in turn has caused them problems that weaken their community almost imperceptibly. Only when they start treating their own problems and each other do they revitalize things. Blush first Mutazione seems like a fairly relaxing story about gardening, but it is actually more of a soap – a chill where you can make gardens from mutated flora.

Mutazione was made by Die Gute Fabrik. You can handle it Apple Arcade with a subscription or for $ 19.99 on Windows and macOS (Steam, Itch.ioand GOG) or PlayStation 4. It takes approximately seven hours to complete.