By Michael Fontanini / March 26th, 2020
|Title||Oddword: Stranger’s Wrath HD|
|Release Date||January 23rd, 2020|
|Genre||Action, Adventure, First-Person|
|Age Rating||ESRB: T for Teen|
In Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD, you step into the boots of a bounty hunter to bag shady outlaws. After the intro, you’ll soon find yourself in the first town, known as Gizzard Gulch. Your adventure begins as you go after your first bounties, but soon it turns out that you need to earn $20,000 for a surgery. The reason why remains a mystery that you’ll only uncover later. In the meantime, you’ll need to keep bagging outlaws for money, and to return piece of mind to the locals in each area. Are you tough enough to catch dangerous outlaws alive?
After the game has taught you your basic controls (movement, running, jumping, climbing, shooting), you’ll mosey on into Gizzard Gulch. As you can see in the screenshot, the name is fitting since the Clakkerz that inhabit most towns in the game are personified chickens. You can talk to them and they respond with voice acted dialog. These guys are pretty much helpless, so it’s up to you to deal with the outlaws.
You can capture outlaws alive or dead. Bagging them alive is of course more challenging, and more lucrative than bagging them dead. You can visit the Bounty Store to get a bounty to hunt. When you capture them, return there to get your reward. You can check your current bounty mission at any time.
Since this is an Oddworld game, your ammo is suitably odd. You’ll press the left stick to switch to first person aiming mode. Your crossbow can have two types of ammo equipped at a time. You can fire them independently using the right and left trigger buttons. The most basic ammo type is the Zappfly. These can stun enemies with their electric shock, making them easy to capture. This is less true with bosses, as they will take many more hits to stun and sometimes need to be used in conjunction with other tactics to be able to capture the boss. Furthermore, enemies will regain their stamina if you don’t keep hitting them until they are stunned. You can only capture them when they have three yellow stars around their head (meaning very low stamina). Red stars above their head means they are taking damage, with three indicating they are nearing death. Both types of stars can be present at the same time, too. Bosses are the only enemies that get actual health bars on the HUD, but stars will still appear above their heads as well.
Zappflies are the only ammo type that is infinite, which is important because you can shoot critters in the wild and collect them to refill other ammo types. That’s right, all of your ammo is living critters that you shoot at your foes. One example are furry little creatures called Fuzzles, which can damage/distract an enemy if fired at him, or set a trap if fired at the ground. You can also buy ammo and equipment upgrades at the general store in each town if need be (or at the hidden black market in a later town). Some ammo types have upgraded versions that become available to buy later in the game in the general stores. For example, the upgraded Fuzzles are called Rabid Fuzzles, which do far more damage (as do most upgraded ammo types). Another example are Boombats, which explode on impact. Their upgraded version are Boombat Seekers, which gain the ability to track enemies like heat seeking missiles!
The basic gameplay in Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD is relatively simple. You’ll run, jump, and climb ropes. The complexity comes in with the various ammo types and figuring out when it is best to use each one. This is especially true if you want to catch all of the outlaws (bosses) alive. This is an optional challenge, as you can also nab them dead. You’ll just get a smaller amount of reward money, but this won’t hurt you since most ammo can be found in the world as mentioned. That means you can just keep your money and use it for equipment and armor, of which there isn’t that much of anyway. You can also find small amounts of money in crates and barrels that can be broken by attacking them. There are special ammo crates in some areas that you can break open, too.
Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD has a gritty art style that fits the game and its world quite well. The game has been graphically enhanced in this HD version, as the original launched back in January of 2005. The world looks nice, but just don’t expect it to look like a current generation game. The characters are silly and enjoyable. Townsfolk will get mad if you run into them, and a bit later you’ll meet a race of characters that is goofier than the Clakkers, with very silly voices (in a good way).
The sound effects are good, and the music is well done. It adds a lot of mood and atmosphere to the game world and its various locales. The goofy voice dialog is a plus, too. It’s a game that really doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD is a fun little game. Some bosses are much harder to capture alive than others, but most are fairly easy when you know how. It should also be noted that there is a harder difficulty mode for those that seek to test their mettle against tougher foes. I’ve spent 20 hours chasing outlaws and kicking butt. Sometimes your butt is the one that gets kicked, though! You’ll need to be careful when an area has numerous enemies in it or clusters of them. Otherwise, you’ll die super-fast. Against smaller numbers, the bounty hunter is a force to be reckoned with. Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD is available digitally on the Nintendo Switch eShop for $29.99, and it looks like a physical release is coming later this year. The HD version of the game can also be found on a few other platforms. Do you have what it takes to catch nasty outlaws alive, or will you be the one bagged?
Review copy provided by publisher.
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