Published on May 15th, 2020 | by Hugh Mitchell
Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee Review (Switch)
Summary: Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee is a pure and simple port of the original game that runs perfectly on the Switch.
This is a review for the Switch port of Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee, a game that is almost twenty years old at this point. It’s always difficult to give a fair review of a game like this – how do I score such outdated graphics and gameplay? How much should the quality of the port influence the final score? If I had to summarise this game, it would be simple to say that this is a straight-up port of Munch’s Oddysee that has been touched up to run perfectly on the Switch – no new features, no new gameplay. So is it worth revisiting Munch’s Oddysee almost twenty years after its release? Read on to find out.
You’ve probably heard of the Oddworld franchise, but here’s a very quick history lesson for those unfamiliar with how Munch’s Oddysee fits into the timeline. Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee was released in 1997 for the PS1 and was followed up a year later with Oddworld: Abe’s Exodus. These two games introduce us to our beloved ponytailed-protagonist Abe as he sets about freeing his people who have been set as slaves to work in a factory that produces a highly-addictive energy drink flavoured by the ground-up flesh of Abe’s species. Munch’s Oddysee (released in 2001 for the Xbox) takes place shortly after the events of these two games, when Abe receives a prophecy imploring him to find and rescue the titular hero Munch from certain doom.
All this Oddworld lore is divulged in a fairly comprehensive video explainer that can be opted into in order to get you caught up with the story before beginning Munch’s Oddysee. Disappointingly, this 10 minute explainer is the exact same video included on the original Munch’s Oddysee back in 2001. Some may see this as a fitting relic of an earlier period in gaming history, but to me the 4:3 aspect ratio, blurry visuals and awfully tinny mp3 audio quality is just nasty. I understand that remaking or remastering every cutscene in the game would be a massive effort, but the poor audio and video quality of the cutscenes really just stands out like a sore thumb among the up-rezzed textures of the gameplay – especially when compared to the swathe of other incredible remakes and remasters available on the Switch. Unfortunately, all the cutscenes in the game have been left untouched so if this low quality video and audio gets on your nerves, prepare to be berated for the entirety of the game.
Despite the somewhat harsh words above, this is really my only criticism with the Switch port of Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee. The game runs fantastically on the Switch with full 60fps animation and surprisingly decent looking textures for a game that was released in 2001 (and subsequently touched-up and rereleased for almost every platform under the sun since then). Sure the platforming feels a little sluggish and the level design is very by-the-numbers, but the unique gameplay and silly humour have really stood the test of time, and I genuinely enjoyed going back and revisiting this classic gem from my childhood. If you want a more in-depth explanation on the gameplay, check out our original review from 2002 (oh my word, look at that web page).
The Switch port of Oddworld: Munch’s Odysee is exactly what it says on the front of the can: a port of Munch’s Odysee, released for the Switch. If you’re looking for high resolution textures, updated gameplay or remastered cutscenes similar to the New ‘N’ Tasty remake of Abe’s Oddysee, you will surely be disappointed. However, if you’re simply looking to play through this unique adventure game and revisit one of gaming’s most iconic franchises, there’s a lot of fun to be had here – if your expectations are set accordingly.