Abe is back and chanting, sneaking, and chugging in clearer detail than ever before, in what is assuredly the highest fidelity Oddworld adventure ever presented. Oddworld: Soulstorm reinvents and reimagines Oddworld: Abe’s Exodus for a new era, taking what was originally a somewhat hastily produced sequel and giving it the proper treatment of fleshing out its ideas, mechanics, and story to create a richer experience. While the promise of Soulstorm is grand in theory, in practice it hews a little too closely to its roots, with the gameplay often failing to match the generous updates that have been received in practically every other department. The result is a disjointed experience which looks entirely new and fresh, but still feels mired in its own legacy.
At the time of its initial release, Munch’s Oddysee was fairly highly regarded. It heralded a new era of quality visuals, opportunities to explore large, open spaces, detailed and bizarre character designs that sprung to life in 3D, and quirky (or even bizarre) ways of interacting with the game that were clever riffs on some time-tested ideas. It was a showcase for what was possible, and indeed it demonstrated a great deal of potential and creativity.
Sometimes a man is just a man. Sometimes a game is just a game. But sometimes, things are more than what they seem on the surface.
Such is true of both Stranger and the game that bears his namesake, Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD. Admittedly, most games from the mid 2000’s era don’t age particularly well, but most games from that era weren’t forward-looking, successfully experimental titles that carved out their own space and became something truly memorable in their own right. Stranger’s Wrath is certainly no stranger to being ported to new systems, but getting to see the HD remaster running unrestrained, in its full glory on the Nintendo Switch hardware is truly an exciting spectacle. The Switch release of the game delivers everything that made the original such a great experience, wrapped up in a highly performant package that lets you focus on reliving your older memories, or discovering the world of Stranger’s Wrath for the first time.