The Oddworld series is a well loved franchise, mostly thanks to the original 2D platform puzzle games, but it’s had an odd journey (aptly) since then with Munch’s Oddysee being a notable first 3D entry.
While it’s been remastered before, this Switch version of Munch’s adventures is still a welcome addition, with only Strangers Wrath on the eShop to keep it company. I certainly hope that developer Oddworld Inhabitants think about the possibility of giving us the first two games at some point. For now, though, we get the story of Munch, a Gabbit (a sort of frog/rabbit combination) who has been captured for experiments to create slaves and the return of Abe, from the original games, who finds his path overlapping with the escaping Munch.
As an early 3D adventure for the Xbox, Munch’s Oddysee is noticeably lacking in visual detail by today’s standards, as you can see from the screenshots. The game is certainly not the best looking title out there. That said, it still works well enough and there are no big issues, bar getting used to a manual camera from the era where this was seen as normal and some rather flat textures.
While it could be argued that this is, perhaps, best appreciated as more of a trip down memory lane for those who’ve played the game in the past it still holds plenty of gameplay and interesting puzzle mechanics, by way of two methods to control other non-player characters, to get to grips with. Abe has the power to lead followers and get them to do things for him, mostly chanting and attacking enemies. Munch has mind control thanks to the experiments that he’s had inflicted on him. The results are some interesting situations that provide some head scratching, careful alignment and the odd lemmings moment.
Controls feels a little forced on to the Switch from the original control set up, which wasn’t even ideal on the original Xbox at the time. There are lots of different functions to remember, especially when flipping between Abe and Munch and their respective powers. The early 3D nature of the game means it’s a little too twitchy at times when jumping or solving puzzles that require more exact movement.
Is it a little rough around the edges? Yes, it’s a product of its time and hasn’t really been fiddled with all that much besides being given an HD update and smooth 60fps gameplay, but I still found it entertaining even in today’s crowded platform puzzle market. It does have issues with some of the puzzles and the way it holds your hand a little too much even later in the game, though, but generally its nice to have it available as a part of the history of the Oddworld series and a fun bit of nostalgia that can still provide some of that off-kilter entertaining humour the series is famous for.