Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee (Switch) Review
I never played Munch’s Oddysee when it was initially released, primarily because I didn’t buy an Xbox at launch. By the time I did, there were plenty of other titles to keep me busy. I am, however, familiar with the Oddworld universe. I enjoyed the Abe games on PC, in particular, their focus on smart stealth and using a vulnerable protagonist to manipulate the environment and other creatures to survive dangerous situations.
Munch’s Oddysee continues this tradition, putting you in control of two rather helpless creatures – the Mudokon Abe, whom most of us have met before, and Munch, the last of his kind, a so-ugly-he’s-almost-cute Gabbit. In fact, Munch is so disadvantaged on land that he often requires the use of a wheelchair to get around. It’s only when he is in the water that he shines, able to jump quite high and swim, which is a skill that Abe does not possess.
So you have these complementary characters that have their own ways of interacting with other species in this world. Abe can ask other Mudokons to follow him, chant at marked circles on the ground to unlock level specific goals and also fight for him if need be. Similarly, Munch can free and command Fuzzles, small, aggressive creatures that have been experimented on by the lead species, the Vykkers.
Each level sees you working methodically through gated areas, swapping between the characters, getting other characters to follow you and fight the Vykkers, before finding a portal to free as many Mudokons and Fuzzles as possible. Initially, the puzzle-like structure of levels is interesting. However, as they open up the gameplay starts to hover towards chore-like, especially if you aren’t sure quite how to proceed and end up getting Abe or Munch killed. They do respawn at nearby egg stations (naturally), but this also usually means a fairly lengthy backtrack to get back to where you were.
A related issue is that Munch can’t ask Mudokons to follow him, so if you find one in a corner of a level, you then have to switch to Abe, trek all the way there and press a button to get the poor guy to follow you. Thankfully, Munch will follow Abe, so you can all then go for a merry stroll together. Most puzzles feel like they were on the cusp of being designed for a co-op game, requiring back and forth swapping and coordination. However, they aren’t quite complex enough as to be truly rewarding. The solution, and its several steps required, is often clear, so then the player is in a state of performing the kind of drudgery that they are ostensibly trying to save the main characters from.
This said, my interest was held because of the truly unique world and the often darkly funny things that happened within it. I never got tired of using Abe’s possession ability to take over the mind of a guard and just walk him into the water to drown. Munch is also such a sympathetic character that I felt compelled to see his story through. There are multiple endings, which are directly related to how many Fuzzles and Mudokons you have rescued through the game.
In terms of the Switch port, everything seems to have been moved across faithfully. Munch’s Oddysee is an incredibly brown and colourless looking game, which in many ways suits its themes. Story scenes run in 4:3 perspective, while the game itself takes up the whole screen. It runs smoothly and makes good use of rumble. There is manual and quick saving. I encountered no bugs or other issues during my playthrough.
Munch’s Oddysee is worth experiencing if you missed it the first time around, it’s a unique puzzle exploration title that revolves around a passive-aggressive play style.
+ Unique world
+ Interesting gameplay
- Feels dated
- Gameplay becomes repetitive