Game Reviews

Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath

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Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath

Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath is a great game. The iOS version of it is not. It's an average game that's hamstrung by a lack of concessions to the touchscreen control system.

Everything is just a bit too fiddly, a bit too cumbersome, and it leads to frustrating issues all across the board.

There's a brilliant game underneath it all, one that's brimming with great ideas and real heart, but it can't shine because you're too busy struggling with a combination of touch, tap, and tilt controls to get everything working.

You can use an MFi controller if you've got one, and it makes the whole game that much more palatable. But if you're not lucky enough to have one you'll find yourself disappointed.

Control issues

The game mixes first and third person adventuring, casting you as a bounty hunter in an arid world that takes its cues from the wild west.

You're armed with your fists, your head, and a crossbow with multiple ammo types, and you need to capture varmints alive or dead to earn as much cash as possible.

You can switch freely from first to third person with the tap of a button. Third person is best for exploration, giving you a wider view of your surroundings, and first person lets you fire your weapon.

Crossbow ammo comes in the shape of little animals that you capture around the world. You can have two different critters equipped at the same time, and each has its own special use.

There are spiders that entangle your foes, lightning bugs that electrocute and charge switches, and mouthy monsters that bite anything that comes too close to them.

Tap to what?

It's with the switching that the problems of the game become most apparent. You'll find yourself fumbling the crossover time and time again, missing button presses, and shoving the camera in the wrong direction.

The fact that you'll mostly be changing perspective during fight sequences makes it even more annoying. You'll take a beating and be incapable of doing anything, and it always ends in frustration.

Even during the rest of the game you'll find the controls a little too sloppy. Platforming sections aren't tight enough, you'll find yourself stumbling into scenery, and things get a bit too shambolic when you start sprinting.

Hit it

There are some great ideas here. The live ammunition makes exploration essential, and you earn more for claiming bounties alive than dead. There's even a nice healing system that involves you shaking your device.

But that sloppy control system doesn't hold together under any scrutiny. It lets you down too often, and turns what should be an engaging retro-tinged adventure into an exercise in frustration and confusion. Occasionally things click, but it's far too rare an occurence.

With a pad things are much better, although it still feels a little too fiddly, and you'll need to tweak the interface to get the system set up to your liking.

Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath is a great game. But if you've got a good memory of the Xbox original, and you don't have an MFi controller, then it's probably best that you give this iOS version a miss.

Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath

A great game that's hidden behind a control system that it just wasn't designed for. Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath doesn't really work on iOS
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