Let us look at the games from the Oddworld guys, which stands to reason seeing as this is a review for Munch’s Oddysee HD. Both Munch and Stranger’s Wrath were given the treatment first for the PS3 and were fine conversions of the original games, offering that lick of HD paint and not much else. Stranger’s Wrath was also released on the Vita and again little was different.
That was perfectly acceptable, as both of these games were great upon their original releases. But then in 2014 came Oddworld: New ‘N’ Tasty, which set a whole new standard, not only for the Oddworld games, but for HD remakes in general. It took the original game and rebuilt it from the ground up. We reviewed it here and loved it, as it was clear that the game had a lot of extra love and attention put into it.
So does that mean that every single HD remake needs that same sort of attention? Well, no, not at all. Munch’s Oddysee is just great to have and play on a Sony device, having completed the PS3 release in 2013, I was only more than happy to play again on the Vita. It is a different beast to both Abe and Stranger and one that I loved back in 2001 and still love today.
Also, playing on a Playstation feels right now, Abe was introduced to us on the PS1 but Munch could only be found on the Xbox and I remember lots of talk about how it wouldn’t run on the PS2 as it wasn’t powerful enough and other such gubbins. In any case, it became a launch exclusive on Microsoft’s new machine.
Munch really is a cracking game too, an excellent mix of platforming, puzzle solving, collecting and battling. It blends together exceptionally well and for me, it moved at a wonderful pace too. There were no difficulty spikes that became soul destroying, but it still needed you to engage your brain a little and think ahead. The mechanics work well and are always clear as to what you need for each section.
Going back to the Munch after 10 years was like putting on a glove and unlike some other older 3D platformers, the controls just felt natural as there was no fighting the camera too much and in general it came across as a game you could play for the first time today and not feel completely lost.
The Vita release is just a joy and despite having a few rougher edges than the PS3 releases, it still looks wonderful on the Vita’s OLED which is really helped by the art style of the Oddworld games, again something that also reflected in Stranger’s Wrath too. It does go to show that art style will always trump the pursuit for photorealism.
So this brings us back to the original point. HD remakes. It doesn’t matter if they are given a lick of paint, or rebuilt from scratch, as long as the final game is something that can be enjoyed and it is clear that Munch’s Oddysee has had less attention than Abe’s remaster, but it is still a game that I am happy to play again and am thankful for the opportunity.