A mad scientist has a secret base on an asteroid, presumably because the rent is reasonable. Playing as special operatives Cye and Chrome, you'll take down this base one alien environment at a time, all while fighting hordes of mutated insectoids that spring up and attack in coordinated waves. It's one part tower defense, one part arcade blaster, two parts KEEP SHOOTING BECAUSE THEY'RE EVERYWHERE!
ZAMB! Biomutant Extermination is big on frantic fights-for-your-life as well as careful attack and defense strategies. The latter is a feature that's easy to miss when there are a dozen exploding ticks on the screen. The game is divided into about 30 levels across three unique environments, starting with a basic workshop and moving to a lava-filled mine and the mad's lab. Rounds take place on small maps with a few twisty passageways and a handful of nuclear reactors. The goal is to hack then protect those reactors from the alien bugs that pop out of the many (many) spawn points.
Joining you for this insane ride are Cye and Chrome, special operatives who have a serious dislike of biomutants. Cye carries claw-like weapons he uses to smack enemies from close range, dealing a decent amount of damage but also putting himself in harm's way. His special abilities are a handful of spells that do everything from toss ice mines to heal turrets and electrify groups of foes. Chrome totes a pulse gun that lets him hang back and damage insects from afar. His turrets are the bread and butter of your defense and can be picked up and moved by either player.
Placing turrets or using Cye's powers consumes resources (those little blue diamond things). A few resources can be nabbed by breaking crates on the stage, but most of them will be obtained by defeating biomutants. Levels give you just enough currency to get by. You'll never feel like you have an excess and can unleash powers all willy-nilly, creating the feeling of scarcity even though there are insects packed full of diamonds all over the frelling place. Try to stay calm as you scream and yell for your life.
Between levels you'll get to upgrade Cye's powers and Chrome's turrets using skill points gained by leveling-up. Each one has its own set of stats you can bump up, from turret range and damage to a powers' cooldown time and effectiveness. You can reset skills at anytime, which actually becomes an important feature later in the game when you have to to fine-tune your strategy. Each character can only carry three abilities into battle, and certain ones are more effective against certain bugs.
Speaking of later in the game, ZAMB! Biomutant Extermination gets serious about trying to kill you at about the halfway mark. Suddenly your battle-tested strategies are failing after the first wave. Spawners seem to belch out enemies on opposite sides of the map, forcing you to run around trying to keep your non-centrally-located hacked reactors safe from danger. It's intense, and it's a little sudden, but once you reach this point you know what the game has to offer.