Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee HD review for PS Vita

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS3
Publisher: Oddworld Inhabitants
Developer: Just Add Water/Oddworld Inhabitants
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

I’m not generally prone to motion sickness. I can read and game on the bus, in a moving car, etc., without feeling like I’m going to vomit. I was able to sit through the Blair Witch Project (many years ago) without being overcome by waves of nausea. And yet, even with all that in my past, I find myself having to pause Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee HD every so often, just because it was kind of doing a number of my stomach.

Or, to put it in less cutesy terms: wow, is the camera here ever terrible.

Oddworld Munch's Oddysee HD 1

Honestly, I don’t know when I last played a game where it felt like I was fighting more with the camera than actual in-game enemies. When the titular Munch was outside, in relatively wide open spaces, it was a huge challenge to find a remotely useful camera angle. And when I was indoors, or a high ledge, or somewhere else where the number of angles was constrained? You can easily imagine how that went; almost invariably, I’d end up seeing Munch from the one perspective that didn’t help me.

So that’s one issue. Surprisingly, though, it may also be the only issue — or, at least, the only significant one. Sure, the graphics look a little muddy and the voice acting is kind of annoying, but neither of those things are so bad that they tangibly harm the game. Considering the last Oddworld port, New ‘n Tasty, felt like a relic of an earlier time even with upgrades, you’d think that Munch’s Oddysee HD would feel really dated, but that’s not the case. No one would be able to mistake it for a game made in the 2010s, but at the same time I don’t think anyone would write it off as being stale or outdated, either.

Oddworld Munch's Oddysee HD 2

This is entirely attributable to the fact that the gameplay stands up so well. The objectives are always clear, the controls are easy to figure out and to master, and, perhaps most impressively, there are segments in which your character has to swim that don’t completely suck, which might just be the rarest thing in gaming.

It’s just a shame, then, that it’s so difficult to see it a lot of the time. However fun Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee HD may be to play — and again, it is quite good on that front — it’s a lot less enjoyable to look at. There’s enough good stuff here that it’s possible to recommend the game even accounting for that horrible camera work…but that camera work is just so bad that you can be forgiven if you just decide to stay away instead.

Grade: B