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Game Review #523: Oddworld Stranger's Wrath HD (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Robert & Adrienne Krause

Developer: Oddworld Inhabitants

Publisher: Oddworld Inhabitants

Category: Adventure, Action, First-Person

Release Date:  January 23rd, 2020

Price: $29.99

Watch the Trailer

Buy Oddworld Stranger's Wrath HD from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

What an Odd, Oddworld

In 1997 Oddworld Inhabitants released Abe's Oddysee, a story of a Mudokon who worked at a meat packing plant until he found out that the meat he was packing was his own species. It was a unique 2D platformer that developed a cult following for being, well, odd. It spawned sequels Abe's Exoddus, another 2D platformer in 1998 and Munch's Oddysee, a 3D platformer, in 2001. After creating a uniquely odd universe and gameplay with the first 3 titles, fans of the franchise waited with anticipation for the next installment. In January 2005 we finally got Oddworld Stranger's Wrath. In contrast to the previous titles that were based on saving your species from genocide without any actual combat by using stealth and chanting to control NPC's, Stranger's Wrath is based on a Western-themed gunslinger FPS while still being incredibly odd.

Now you can actually attack your enemies either in third-person melee combat or in first-person with a crossbow that uses the most unique ammo I've ever seen in a game. Even though Stranger's Wrath is very different from the previous titles, it solidified the Oddworld universe as a favorite of mine and a complete addiction for my wife. Fifteen years after its original release it is now out on Nintendo Switch so of course just like when it released on other consoles I had to purchase it again for us to dive back into and see the gloriousness of Stranger in HD.

Clint Steefwood

You play as Stranger, a bounty hunter, out to make his fortune for an operation he desperately needs to survive. He goes from town to town collecting bounties on various outlaws. Stranger is your stereotypical western gunslinger a la Clint Eastwood with the occasional humor that is unintentional on his part. Making his way through towns inhabited by Clakkerz who adapt in their interactions with Stranger based on his actions. Make enough chicken folk angry by bumping into them to make them drop a few coins and they'll shut down the town until you come to your senses. Stranger for all his rough 'n tough appearance is still kind hearted, albeit a bit dim, especially when trying to remember "Mole-asses" as a password.

Critter Cartridges

Stranger's Wrath also gives live ammunition a whole new and literal meaning. Equipped with a crossbow, Stranger makes use of the most unique ammo imaginable that really reminds you that this is an Oddworld game; live critters you pick up from nature. Some critters can be upgraded later for added effect.

Zappfly - Horse fly fused with a bug zapper; they are your infinite base ammo that can charge up to stun normal enemies or charge mechanisms.

Fuzzle - Think tribbles with shark teeth - so so many shark teeth. These can be shot to walls and floors like carnivorous landmines or fired directly at enemy targets.

Stunkz -  It's a skunk. Pretty simple and smelly. Makes enemies gag and acts as a stun effect.

Chippunk - Trash talking chipmunks used to lure unaware enemies to a target location.

Bolamite - A spider that can web and gag enemy targets. Helpful in capturing enemies alive.

Thudslug - Pillbugs that do heavy damage and stun enemies.

Stingbee - Rapid fire hornets that do moderate damage and can hone in on targets.

Boombat - Explosive bats that go boom and do heavy damage.

Sniper Wasp - Long range sniper shot used with binoculars that can insta-kill non bosses.

Becoming Divine

Stranger's adventure begins with your standard tutorial after you capture your first bounty. Once you capture your prey by stunning or incapacitating them you can suck them up - dead or alive - to turn in. Bringing them in alive awards you more Moolah. Each town Stranger arrives at will have a bounty store where he can redeem and pick up new bounties. Towns will also have a general store to pick up ammo, ammo bait, armor, and various upgrades.  Each bounty you have is a mini-boss that has to be defeated and brought back to unlock more bounties and eventually the next town. Stranger works his way through 3 towns, collecting Moolah and talking with "Doc" to set up his surgery.

Once Stranger makes his way to the final town to meet up with Doc for the surgery he finds Doc dead and is ambushed by D. Caste Raider. Stranger is interrogated on the whereabouts of a Steef. While incapacitated Doc's surgery plans are discovered and Stranger's true nature of being a Steef is revealed.  After escaping with assistance from an unknown source you fight your way to a native Grubb village and Stranger vows revenge against Sekto, who had placed the bounty on the Steef's head. The Grubbs view Stranger as a guardian and gift him a set of Steef armor worn by his ancestors and an upgraded cross bow. In return, Stranger saves the Grubb's city of Last Legs by repelling the Sekto Army invasion. Stranger then heads to the Dam for his final battle with Sekto.

Audio & Visual

With the original release being the the first X-Box, not the X-Box One, the graphics have been upgraded for the more powerful consoles of today. It still looks closer to a PS3/X-Box 360 generation title but it holds up pretty well. The Western setting makes you feel like you're playing a version of Red Dead Redemption by Jim Henson. The voice acting is great and the critter sounds and one liners almost steal the show. The soundtrack matches the setting but you never really pay attention to it since there is a lot of talking.

Wrap Up

Stranger's Wrath is a drastic change from the first 3 Oddworld titles but without a doubt is our favorite one. The setting, humor, and just plain oddness of the game is very well-written. The different ways you can choose to play through the game, like using stealth to hide in rocks and high grass or just straight up Rambo-ing your way into shootouts, keep the gameplay from getting boring. My wife has beaten this game four times now and still gets giddy when she has the chance to play it.

Score: 9/10 Fuzzles

Buy Oddworld Stranger's Wrath HD from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

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*A game code was provided for review purposes.

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