Every month in PC Gamer magazine our writers assemble to recount tales of their latest adventures in gaming. Today we take a tour from Mutazione’s small-town charm to the rough waters of Abandon Ship. Enjoy!
Learning patience and kindness in Mutazione—Rachel Watts
When I first played Mutazione, I couldn’t quite gel with the rhythm and vibe it was going for. I’ve played plenty of chill games before, but I’ve never experienced anything as leisurely as this indie adventure. It calls itself “a mutant soap opera where small-town gossip meets the supernatural”, so I was ready for drama and tea to be spilled. What I wasn’t prepared for was to end up consoling a grieving cat lady in a melancholic garden I had grown especially for her.
Gardening has been used as a gameplay and storytelling mechanic in many games. You raise plants and crops for money in titles such as Stardew Valley and The Botanist, and in the upcoming Ooblets you even grow new friends. But in Mutazione, it is a purely selfless act. When you plant and nurture a garden, it’s because you want to do it for someone else. The act of gardening is a communal one, and community comes first in this world. After a meteor destroyed a holiday resort, the landscape and its survivors started to grow strange mutations. Joined together by this catastrophic event, a community started to rebuild on top of the ruins in what is now called the Mutazione.
You play as a teenager called Kai who has arrived to care for her sick grandfather, the community shaman. Upon arrival, he gifts her a small drum and asks her to take over his responsibilities as he recovers. Mostly that just means joining the community in looking after one another, and Kai learns that