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Oddworld: Munch’s Odyssey Review

Juan over at SwitchWatchTV has been reviewing a lot of Oddworld lately, and this time he is reviewing Oddworld: Munch’s Odyssey for the Nintendo Switch. The Oddworld series can always be depended on for some decent fun, and Oddworld: Munch’s Odyssey looks to be no different. Check out Juan’s video below or keep scrolling down to read his review here on SwitchWatch.co.uk.

Welcome to my review of Oddworld: Munch’s Odyssey on the Nintendo Switch, first launched on the Xbox in 2001 and was one of the systems launch title games then. I remember it fondly and even though that was over 19 years ago since I touched the game I was delighted to be reacquainted, but does it still hold up and most importantly is it worth your hard earned cash? Let’s find out.

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STORY

One of the things I did like about Oddworld: Munch’s Odyssey is how the story is implemented. There is a nice way of catching up through the whole backstory if you want to with a number of cut scenes, which by today’s standards now look old and are in the 4:3 aspect ratio.

I was delighted it was here as it’s a nice bit of fan service and a good way of catching up if you have not played previous installments. We meet Munch who was swimming with many friends and family in the sea until they all got caught by nets and hunted to almost extinction. Only for himself to get trapped in a scrab trap on land and taken away by scientists and fitted with an alien device onto his skull. As you make your escape, you will team up with Abe and embark on an adventure for Munch to bring back his species and for Abe to save his mudokon friends.

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GAMEPLAY

I have said it many times, but I loved the first two installments of the Oddworld franchise. A lot of that had to do with the fact that it was a 2D platformer which had some very cool things that you could do at the time, like being able to possess enemies. The transition to 3D at the time was a risk, and one I was not massively fond of at first, but I guess the franchise had to move with the times. And with the Xbox launching its new hardware, it was a launch title game to get people excited about future potential.

There were only very few platformers in my view that have done the 3D thing justice as they are hard to get right with the camera being a constant pain in the backside. With this game, the issues of the time are still present, but that’s not to say it is not a fun time because it has it’s very good moments.

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If you have played previous installments then many of the things you could do before you can do here, such as solving puzzles using your mudukon friends when controlling Abe, and of course being able to release a good fart at the press of as button that always sends me off. One thing I noticed was the controls never quite felt as good in 3D as Abe and Munch feel okay to control, but it’s not as tight as you want, even though the controls were a little improved in this HD version. It feels decent to play in handheld, and there are a number of control options like inverting the camera if you so desire.

You will be commanding Abe’s friends to come along, stay in a certain place while you recuse other friends from there meditative-like states, and commanding them to get to work by having to practice meditation on certain spots all together to open doors. All at the press of a few buttons assigned for differing voice commands again coming back to those controls some buttons are used for multiple purposes such as pressing a button, picking up a mudoken to throw them, or jumping and that leads to frustration. For example, when having to pick up your friends to throw them over rocks, you end up jumping instead unless you place Abe in the right place. There are multiple little control issues like this which over time kind of get on your nerves as well as having to get all the mudokens in the right place to perform certain actions.

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You will have to perform a few platforming parts in levels, but nothing which is ever too challenging or taxing. It is a game you cannot help but feel has not aged the best even with the revamp.

On the other side of things, you also get to control Munch who can hop and swim quite quickly when required. Drinking an espresso can make him travel real quickly to avoid enemies, and using the implement instrument allows you to transmit a bit of electricity to activate your furry little friends’ cages so you can rescue them from being experimented on. You can even set them to attack the nasty scientists as they are vicious little suckers, and I enjoyed this part of the game I think a little more than the Abe parts. When both are brought together then the game changes slightly where you will need to use both of their skills to get through the levels.

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None of the puzzles or levels are especially difficult or well developed as they could have been, but it’s all rather enjoyable to be fair and I enjoyed my 12 hours with it again just as I did 19 years ago, little annoyances aside as mentioned already.

AUDIO

For the time, Oddworld: Munch’s Odyssey was a very accomplished game, especially with the cut scenes all being voice acted and of course in game when speaking as Abe’s friends as Abe using certain commands are all voiced too. And while the repetition can get a little tiresome of hearing the same “Hi Abe”, I still appreciated it was here.

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I found that each of the worlds had more of an atmospheric ambience attached to them more through sounds rather than any sort of backing music which was fine again for the time. Remember that it is a 19 year old game, although this is the HD version which was remastered and includes some newer sound effects.

VISUALS & PERFORMANCE

The HD version of this game includes more fluid controls and higher models and textures which was done 10 years after the original released, so it still shows it’s age. But honestly, it does not look too out of place with some of the games on the Nintendo Switch which have been ported these days. I don’t mind visuals which look a little outdated, and unfortunately in my view, 3D games from this era do not age as well as 2D ones. This game, in my opinion, never reached the heights of the style that the previous versions had.

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See Also
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My bigger concern is why the game stutters. I bought a brand new Switch, cleared the cache and cleared all games off the console, archiving them all, because I was beginning to think my Switch was the issue with the amount of performance issues I have come across on games lately. There is no excuse for a game to be ported which is 19 years old, or okay… let’s be fair, 9 years old if looking at the HD remaster, and having issues with performance. It’s not the end of the world, but it is a shame and performance issues is not something I want to be talking about on games like this. This is a minimum expectation for them to run well on hardware which this game should not be pushing.

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VALUE

If you order this game before the 26th of May, you will be paying $29.99 for a digital copy, and after that it shoots up to $44.99. That for me is just too expensive. In the UK, you are looking at £17,99, but then it jumps up to £26,99, so if you want this game cheaper then you will need to be quick on the button. Otherwise, I would advise you wait for a sale as you can still pick this up on the Vita for about £7 digitally if portability is your key reason for buying this. If you really want it on your Switch, then unfortunately I think the price is a little high even at the pre-purchase prices.

  • Story - 7/10
    7/10
  • Gameplay - 7/10
    7/10
  • Audio - 7/10
    7/10
  • Visuals & Performance - 7/10
    7/10
  • Value - 7/10
    7/10

Summary

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I think it’s great that the Oddworld franchise is being ported to Switch. Oddworld: Strangers Wrath was a very good start, and Oddworld: Munch’s Odyssey is nice to see with a decent story which gets you invested as these games always have with great bits of humor and of course sadness. While not my favorite out of the franchise, I still had fun revisiting the past. There are issues which stop this from being great, like clumsy controls at times, stutters in the frame rate, and quite an expensive entry point for a game which is now almost two decades old, but it is worth a visit if you can get it at the right price.

Overall
7/10
7/10

Pros

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  • Good story
  • A nice trip to the past
  • Munch sections

Cons

  • Clumsy controls
  • Frame stutters
  • Manual save
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