It’s all about eggs. A Gabbit named Munch, a small amphibious creature with one single froglike hoppy foot, has been kidnapped – sorry, Gabbitnapped – while trying to rescue a fellow Gabbit. That sounds like a lot of Gabbits, but actually they are a species on the verge of extinction, their eggs the primary ingredient in the coveted slimy delicacy Gabbiar. Sounds delicious. Meanwhile, Abe the Mudokon has been in contact with the Almighty Raisin and has been ordered to rescue the hoppity Munch. Your job is to take control of both characters, reunite them, and work together to rescue eggs, other Mudokons and weird furry little critters called Fuzzles. It’s all in a day’s work at Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee on the PS Vita.
Although not the strongest Oddysee in the Oddworld odyssey, (a statement only a gamer would instantly understand), Munch’s adventure retains the humour that makes the series so beloved. It’s lol hilarious in places and it’s this humour that drives the game forward. I can forgive a lot of sins for the sake of a good laugh and unfortunately Munch’s Oddysee needs a pious trip to the confessional box. Outdated and murky graphics, a camera on an acid trip and awkward and unresponsive controls let down what should be a cracking 3D platformer. While your tasks within each level are relatively simple, the game’s mechanics don’t always support the required actions, making for some needless frustration.
No one can accuse Oddworld of unoriginality. True to the other titles in the series, Munch’s Oddysee has a great story. It might be an absolutely barmy story, but that’s the fun of these games, and it really does take the sting off the control issues. I challenge you all not to fall in love with the Fuzzles, but then again I’ve always been a fan of cute puffy things that can bite your face off. Think Tribbles with a temper. Thank goodness they are face-biters, though, because Munch isn’t the strongest dumbbell in the gym. Rescue plenty of Fuzzles and turn them all on your enemies like a pack of hungry … cotton balls.
The game’s strongest asset is absolutely the puzzles. Figuring out how to traverse each level and rescue as many Fuzzles and Mudokons as possible is where the fun is at. Each character’s strengths and weaknesses need to be puzzled through as well as their abilities. Munch can swim and operate giant grabby cranes that can pick up bombs, Mudokons and even Abe himself, while Abe is very good at grabbing his fellow Mudokons from behind and tossing them wherever they need to go. Vending machine power-ups will help you zap harder and hop faster and Munch has a built-in Fuzzledar that will help you locate your bitey little friends. Abe can also recruit and issue orders to other Mudokons. His fellow countrymen are handy for fighting his battles and ritualistic chanting. Your rescue of Mudokons and Fuzzles are crucial if you want to end the game with good “Quarma”. This game has a good and a bad ending so make sure you find all those Fuzzles!
A port originally released as an Xbox exclusive way back in 2001, the Game Boy Advance in 2003, PC in 2010 and PS3 in 2012, Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee looks old and has not translated to Vita particularly well. Fans of the series will no doubt embrace it as it has all the humour and charisma of the previous games, but it does look and feel very tired. Interesting puzzles, farting Mudokons and good writing do somewhat lift the game out of its graphical and mechanical doldrums, however. If you can see your way past its sins, Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee is fun little piece of Oddworld history.
S J Hollis Rating – 6.5/10