ZAMB! Biomutant Extermination comes with three different main modes: single player, local co-op and online co-op for two players. Solo ZAMB! is a surprisingly different affair than co-op ZAMB!, even though you play the exact same levels. It all boils down to your partner's AI. The computer is generally better at pulling off precision attacks than a human player, setting up strikes that get damage done without sacrificing HP. Meanwhile, us meatbags are just mashing buttons hoping to win. The pathfinding can be a little wonky. "Hey buddy, let's walk here and see what's down this corridor. Oh, you're trying to walk through a wall? I'll come back and hold your hand." Since so much of ZAMB! Biomutant Extermination takes place in close-quarters, pathfinding doesn't become an issue often. Even when it does you're rarely in a life or death situation, so it's a minor nuisance at its worst.
ZAMB! Biomutant Extermination had local co-op first, followed by online co-op added just before it left Early Access. Online works just fine, but there is one "feature" that might bug the vinegar out of you. When you're playing online, each person is sitting in their own house with their own monitor, right? ZAMB! Biomutant Extermination doesn't differentiate between local and online co-op, so even though your partner isn't in the room, you still have to share the same screen. That means no splitting up to keep separate reactors defended, you've got to stick together no matter what. It's occasionally maddening to run into this limitation, especially since ZAMB! won't hesitate to spawn enemies on opposite sides of the map. It's frustrating at first, and even though you eventually get used to sharing a camera with an online co-op partner, you'll still crave the lost freedom once in a while.
ZAMB! Biomutant Extermination looks great. The artwork has some real character to it. The downside is that some areas are a little too busy, what with the dozens of skittering bugs, twitching decorations and flashing UI icons all over the place. This is somewhat exacerbated by the tilted point of view. ZAMB! tips the landscape so the top of the screen is further away, making things up there a little smaller. Seems like a lot of stuff goes on in the top part of the map, and on more than one occasion you'll wish you could zoom the camera in a couple of notches so you can see if you're doing the hitting or getting hit yourself.
ZAMB! Biomutant Extermination feels like an old arcade game, the kind where you stand with your buddies for hours as you celebrate every victory and curse every defeat. It's fast-paced and difficult, but there's enough reward in it to keep you plugging away even when you die. The scoring system turns ordinary levels into replayable "gotta get the stars!" stages, most of which are surprisingly tough to get. Charging through the main campaign in co-op will take between five and six hours, but if you want a decent score, you can add a few more to that length.
The Co-Op Experience: Play as two special operatives and fight your way through a mad scientist's secret asteroid base whilst defending yourself against his army of evil mutants.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.