Mutating from Video to Board: Mutants Review

As some of you may have previously read, I was very impressed with the last game I received from Lucky Duck Games. Jetpack Joyride was a surprise hit that really came out of nowhere, and remains one of if not my favourite filler games. The translation of the phone app to board game was innovative and clever, keeping true to the essence of the source material while simultaneously integrating various board game mechanisms. The end result was a fantastic little game that I think will receive widespread love when it is finally delivered.

It should be of no surprise then, given my love for Jetpack Joyride, that I was pretty eager to try out Mutants, another app-to-board game transformation from Lucky Duck Games. With the promise of deck-building elements with much higher interactivity, and a unique twist on the genre, I cracked out Mutants just as soon as I possibly could.

The basic premise of Mutants is that you’re trying to earn the most glory possible. There are two ways to do this: performing well in combat, or freezing mutants out of your deck. Each turn, you’ll play one mutant from your hand and resolve its effect, breed a new mutant by discarding two others from hand, or incubate a mutant for a future turn. Additionally, mutants that were already deployed will slide down, possibly triggering further effects. Once you’re out of cards in hand, you’re out for the round. You’ll then clean up, rinse and repeat for a total of five rounds, at which point the winner is the player with the most glory.

I found the turns to be packed full of interesting decisions, yet they were short enough to never bog the game down. The concepts of the game are relatively simple to understand, both for those who have and haven’t played the genre before. I really enjoyed having my own pool of mutants to purchase from, especially when the draft mode was used before starting the game. Though I think the game could benefit from a shared pool variant, knowing that my deck was always going to be very different from my opponents’ was something I thought was special. The vast variety of powers and the sheer variation in what champions can appear results in high replayability, as well as rewarding deeper exploration of different mutant combinations. I’ve played numerous games of this now, and I’m still excited to see different mutant combinations and strategies enter play.

The way in which freezing (this game’s equivalent of deck thinning/banishing/removing cards from deck) was integrated with scoring ticked all the right boxes for me. Freezing is something that will occur multiple times throughout the game, and I thought the tension that occurs when deciding between removing weaker cards and scoring few points or removing more powerful cards and scoring more points was excellent.

The only flaw I find with the game as it stands currently is with the characters with ongoing abilities. I feel as though many of these characters tend to really define both the decks and games that they appear in, with early appearances making a gigantic difference on the overall flow of the game. Whilst I do like the attempt at pushing players toward certain themes, I feel they tend to limit creativity and are frequently among the most powerful cards to obtain early on.

Overall, I think Lucky Duck Games has done it yet again, and has yet another winner on their hands in Mutants. I’d love to see this have smashing success on Kickstarter so that even more content can be unlocked and turn what already is amazing into something more spectacular still.

Kickstarter Link – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/372651021/mutants-an-innovative-asymmetric-deck-builder

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