In Miasma Chronicles, you bend an apocalyptic gloop to your will in turn-based combat. It’s from The Bearded Ladies, the team behind Mutant: Year Zero: Road to Eden, so it has good strategy pedigree, though fewer sentient pigs.
Set 140 years following a seismic event where a toxic goo called Miasma eradicated most of modern civilization. You play Elvis and Diggs searching for their missing mother as the corrupting Miasma that coursed through the United States continues to overwhelm what’s left of humanity. While Elvis is your regular homegrown human, Diggs is his robot "big brother."
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Thanks to the glove that his mother left him before she vanished, Elvis gains the ability to control the destructive Miasma. She clearly knew more about the stuff than most people, as she also left a letter telling him to investigate the event that kicked off the apocalypse.
Elvis and Diggs' journey throughout New America to rescue her and uncover what happened all those years ago. Certainly, while Miasma has been a detriment to humanity, it’s done wonders for the ominous First Family, who used the chaos to rise to prominence. I won’t claim to have rolled credits on Miasma Chronicles, but if I were to guess, I would say leaving the myriad of social, environmental, and economic issues of present-day America in the hands of its billionaires didn’t work out that well.
Eking out an existence here is grueling, but Unreal Engine 5 lets the artists dunk the player in the decay of cities and suburbs and the inventiveness of survivors across the century after the apocalypse. Indeed, the set pieces that The Bearded Ladies serves up for their fans are odd and (mostly) memorable, and Miasma Chronicles builds on the lessons learned from its earlier titles while still coloring outside of the lines.
On the other hand, combat is similar to other turn-based strategy titles—the player and the enemy take turns to act with tactical advantages granted with elevation and cover. Super glove or no super glove, stealth is still encouraged, and specific character skills like moveable cover for allies let you reroll the odds in battles. Additionally, you unlock unique Miasma abilities, like the Miasma Storm that damages and disrupts enemies, as well as weapon modifications, and those seeking out a challenge will find it in the differing difficulty options.
Ultimately, it’s a natural extension and evolution of Mutant Year Zero, with the bread and butter of turn-based strategy structure, the bacon of the twisty-turny story, the lettuce of the gritty aesthetic, and the tomatoes of more than a handful of options to personalize your playthrough.