Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee
Developer: Oddworld Inhabitants
Publisher: Oddworld Inhabitants
Genre: Platformer, Action, Adventure
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: 12+
Release Date: 14/05/2020
Price: – £26.99
A code was kindly provided for review purposes.
The Oddworld series started its humble beginnings on the PlayStation in 1997 with Abe’s Oddysee. Munch’s Oddysee fits nicely after this chapter despite it being the third game in the series; Abe’s Exodus is considered more of a spin off. It’s not a remastered version so this being from 2001 you can imagine there are a fair few differences between today’s standard of 3D action/adventure titles.
Unfortunately Munch is the sole survivor of his species; the Gabbits. Upon hearing a familiar cry, Munch goes to investigate the origins of the noise only to be ensnared in a hunting trap. This then alerts a Vyker airship to his presence and Munch is captured and taken hostage. This is where your journey with Abe begins. Abe is informed by The Almighty Raisin that he must rescue Munch in order to free his Mudoken brothers (how the Mudoken race re-populate with no ‘sisters’ is anyones guess) and end their suffering. Like the previous titles in the series there’s a lot of familiar territory, you’ll encounter enemy Sligs and even get used to Abe’s flatulence.
Whilst previous entries had been 2D side scrollers, this time the developers opted for 3D environments. Split between playing as Abe and Munch and utilising their unique abilities you’ll be tasked with rescuing fellow Mudokens, Fuzzles and Labour Eggs from certain death. Figuring out how to tackle a level and keep all of your rescued minions is not an easy task. Especially for a game that’s almost twenty years old. Abe can command his Mudoken friends to attack enemies, pull levers and even chant so well it’ll generate an electrical current powerful enough to open doors.
Abe has the ability to re-grow Spooch; small mushroom like spores. This is scattered throughout each of the levels so you’re never at a loss, you’ll be using this to unlock doors and transform your Mudoken amongst other things. Additionally, Abe can control his enemies with just the power of his mind…and Spooch. Another reason why it’s a good idea to collect it. Munch on the other hand has a zapping ability which he utilises with the help of some cleverly positioned vending machines and it’s essential to taking out a lot of the enemy Sligs. He’s also a very apt swimmer of which Abe isn’t. Although you use both characters I did find it unbalanced – Munch seems like a side part and most of the puzzle based elements require Abe and his mind tricks which seems a little unfair when Munch has his name in the title.
The environments are a little lacklustre in terms of scope, there’s not a lot to them and combined with both characters clunky movement it can start to feel a little ropey all too soon. There were times when I’d jump through a fence or fall through the floor and whilst I don’t want to keep dwelling on its age, it’s really hard not to given how much it affects the gameplay. The colour palette is dull; full of greys, greens and browns and with not enough variety there’s a lot of repetitive elements to the game. Trying to round up all of your Mudoken and Fuzzles and keeping them all alive quickly starts to feel like a chore, the game does reward you on how many you save so granted there’s a nice element to that. I felt a real sense of achievement when I got the ‘good’ ending.
There are no boss battles but enemy types do ramp up in difficulty in later sections of the game. One of the main frustrations I had was the unhelpful positioning of the re-spawn points. Quite often you could be halfway through a puzzle where you’d need to switch between both Abe and Munch and if you put one foot wrong resulting in death, you have to go to the nearest re-spawn egg to get that character back. This results in a lot of backtracking and more repetition. The camera isn’t fixed but you may find trouble when trying to position it as the default angle seems to be so low to the ground you don’t always get the best sense of direction.
The conversations played out through the in-game cut scenes are typically witty and still hold some charm. Even Munch who looks like some sort of aquatic fish with one leg is cute in his own way, however I can’t help but feel I’ve played the black sheep of the series. I’ve always heard good things about Abe and his adventures but I can’t see myself revisiting this one. I think a lot of my frustrations come from the way gaming has adapted over the years and the gameplay and style just don’t hold up the same way other action/adventure titles of its time do. If you played the original back on the Xbox you may want to dive in for the nostalgia but I can’t see too much reason for new fans to pick this Oddysee up.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Munch’s Oddysee for Nintendo Switch below: