For those unfamiliar with the Oddworld series, Munch’s Oddysee first began as an exclusive on the original Xbox. At the time, Oddworld Inhabitants was itching to give the game some oomph for Microsoft’s platform. It paid off to a certain extent, though some fans believed it was missing the magic of the previously released Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee, mainly due to its transition to 3D.
Since that time, the game made the journey to Steam; and now, following the release of the successful Stranger’s Wrath on the platform, Munch’s Oddysee has come to Nintendo’s system. But the real question is whether or not the game can strike lightning on a new platform. That all depends on what you thought of it in the first place, mainly because nothing has really changed.
The Odd Shift To a New Dimension
The big problem with Munch’s Oddysee is that, despite the developer’s good intentions, its transition to 3D wasn’t quite as successful as they had hoped. Part of this is due to the strong nature of the original Oddworld games on PlayStation, which utilized a 2D format and yet made the game experience so compelling. Transitioning that formula into 3D, it doesn’t entirely work.
And sadly, that’s the same case with the Switch port. On the one hand, there are some engaging moments here, such as speaking with fellow Mudokons or collecting this weird “spooce” currency (that’s an odd word to say, by the way – especially during meetings). But on the other, solving puzzles and getting things done in this world just doesn’t have the same layer of depth, even with the transition into the new dimension.
Abe doesn’t do all the work here. He has to team up with Munch, the “star” of the game, as it were, to get things done. It’s an interesting co-op dynamic, but it hasn’t entirely aged well, with the game’s ancient mechanics to blame. Some people might get into it, but it takes a while to make any true progress. Again, there are fun moments along the way, but the experience as a whole fails to be as compelling as the downright brilliant Stranger’s Wrath.
A Solid Port, But Not Much Improvement To the Gameplay
One huge advantage that Oddworld Inhabitants has with the Nintendo Switch over original Xbox technology is being able to improve upon the game’s visuals. They do so in spades, as the game looks lovely in both handheld and TV form. The level design is pretty unique, with both interiors and exteriors that match up with Oddworld’s usual setup; and the animations are cute and enjoyable.
But, interestingly enough, Oddworld Inhabitants didn’t really take too much advantage of the platform when it comes to gameplay. This is especially true with expanding the dialogue options, as well as making things a little easier to play. It’s as if the team was so focused on making visual improvements that it didn’t pay attention to what could’ve been done with the controls. That’s not to say that Munch’s Oddysee plays absolutely terribly. But it doesn’t quite evolve on the platform the same way that Stranger’s Wrath did a few months back.
Only Die-Hard Fans Should Take This Oddysee
Had Stranger’s Wrath not shone like a diamond on the Switch just a few months back, it’d be a little easier to forgive Munch’s Oddysee’s shortcomings. It’s got some lovely graphics; and, again, there are some fun moments here for die-hard fans of the series. But it comes up way too short in gameplay, mainly due to its aged design and the lack of genuine improvements. Some people might feel the need to jump back into this world. But, honestly, we’d kill to see the older Oddworld games come onto the platform instead. Oh, what we’d give for a quality port of Abe’s Exoddus…
A fairly decent port of a flawed Oddworld game, Munch’s Oddysee just can’t live up to the previously released Stranger’s Wrath.
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