I'm bumping this because I think it's worth talking about and revisiting again, and I would lik e to see the opinions of some of the new players!
First off, I always end up feeling really silly in having these discussions because I trust Vlambeer's design, and their eventual direction with this game.
Still, I think it's worth talking about mutations at a higher level than individual mutations.
EDIT: This is a little longer than I was intending. Thanks for reading.
(TL;DR The rate at which you get mutations and the way you get them is too samey, game to game. I beat a dead horse for a bit, and offer different crackpot suggestions to make mutations weird.)
I have no beef with the mutation system. I actually love it, and I think it's a huge part of why I keep coming back to the game. My only problem with it is this:
Collect all the rads: I'm good enough at the game now that I can beat it without missing any rads, give or take. This means my mutations end up happening at usually the same point, run to run. The only system that alters this is occasional variations in level and enemy spawns, some crowns, and fighting horror (the crowns + horror are arguably not worth the risk, although I am fine with risk)
This usually means that I am picking the same mutations at around the same time almost every run. I know I can choose whatever mutations I want, but like everyone else here, I am playing to get as far as I can. There are certain mutations that WILL take me farther than others. Of course I like to goof off occasionally, and some of the mutations sync in REALLY cool, but really opportunistic, specific ways.
So because of all of this, despite the variety each mutation brings, in a game as short as NT your runs all end up feeling pretty samey by the end, mutation wise.
Here are some suggestions to fix this:
Investing for a risky future:
[This part is a little redundant now, as JW said that it is the inspiration behind the Patience mutation. ;)]
On the mutation select screen, instead of mutating, you can choose to instead pocket your mutation, and if
you can beat the next level without getting hit, in a certain amount of time (some kind of restriction) you get an extra mutation. If you fail, you lose your opportunity for a new mutation, plus your original mutation.
To illustrate: You pocket a mutation. During that next level, you get enough rads to level up again. You beat the level and beat whatever restrictions were placed on you, earning you another extra mutation. At the level up screen, you then get to choose 3
mutations, instead of the two you would normally get. If the extra mutations aren't triggered by levels, you could potentially get more than 9 mutations by the end, if you are playing really, really well.
This could be implemented as a crown, maybe.
An alternate idea is that you choose a mutation to pocket, and if you succeed, you get an amped version of that specific mutation, rather than a whole new roll.
Some secret levels are accessible by only having a specific mutation
Speaks for itself.
A store, easily accessible, where you can trade rads or levels for other perks/weapons
Maybe this could be found in the crown vaults, or just another option on the mutation select screen.
A special mutation swap crown
Not sure what the upside is, other than maybe getting a good roll. Between each level, you get hit by a stray bolt of portal energy, and one of your mutations is swapped out with a different one. This needs to be really visible to the player, obviously. Which one is replaced, and what it is replaced with.
Some other system that occurs in level as an alternate way of collecting rads
There needs to be risk involved, like there is with ammo chests. Currently the only risk is having to expose yourself to enemy fire to get rads, and you're doing that all the time anyway.
Skipping rad canisters to fight horror is a step in this direction, but it isn't a system so much as a character unlock, mini-boss fight substituting for a system.
Just some ideas. Thoughts?