Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD Game Poster Image
Entertaining Western-themed action against strange outlaws.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

This game focuses on bounty hunting and mixes in sci-fi and Wild Wild West themes. While you're trying to capture troublemakers and scoundrels, you use violence in order to do so, which isn't very positive.

Positive Role Models & Representations

You play as a character simply known as The Stranger, a mysterious bounty hunter who wants to collect money (in part to pay for life-saving surgery) by finding and taking down baddies who are terrorizing townships. He uses violence to stun or kill his targets and uses wild creatures as weapons, which isn't very positive.

Ease of Play

The game's easy to control, using the analog sticks for movement, adjusting the camera, and engaging in combat. You start the game with a tutorial, but are then asked if you'd like to skip it or continue.

Violence

From both a first- and third-person perspective, The Stranger uses a crossbow with living projectiles to stun or kill characters before vacuuming them up. These creatures include an insect that electrocutes victims, a skunk that acts as a gas bomb, and so on. Blood can be seen on weapons or in environments, but there's no blood splatter or gore during combat. One cut-scene movie shows an injured character lying on the ground, with blood around them.

Sex

There's one minor reference that alludes to sex while a character is gyrating his hips and talking about jail time: "[Not] quite the party you and Blisterz Booty gonna have, smackin' it up in that cozy jail cell."

Language

Dialogue contains some mild to moderate profanity, including the words "s--t," "ass," "dumbass," and "hell." There's also some bathroom humor, including flatulence and references to "poop" and "messing up my drawers."

Consumerism

This is a remake of a 2005 game.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One of the boss characters has a lit cigar in his mouth.

What parents need to know

Parents should know that Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD is a downloadable action adventure game for the Nintendo Switch. The title is a remake of an older game released in 2005. it stars an alien bounty hunter who wants to take down "scoundrels" for money, using melee combat or projectiles (by firing living creatures to stun or kill baddies). There's some blood seen scattered around the environment and combat, but there's no gore. There's also some moderate profanity, including the word "s--t," some crude humor, as well as a sexually suggestive comment and visual reference of gyrating hips.

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What's it about?

ODDWORLD: STRANGER’S WRATH HD is a remastered version of a 2005 action-platformer game that's now playable on Nintendo Switch. You assume the role of The Stranger, a bounty hunter commissioned to track down a host of bizarre outlaws. Consider this scenario a cross between Star Wars and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, as it's an odd mix of science fiction and spaghetti westerns. As The Stranger, you accept missions from the Bounty Store and follow a map to track down fugitives, such as Filthy Hands Floyd or The Looten Duke. If you bag a baddie, you collect a cash reward you can use to buy better weapons, brass knuckles, clip extenders, or stamina boosters. Over time, the Stranger's bounties become more difficult to catch -- as well as more lucrative. This single-player game is played from a third-person perspective when climbing ropes, jumping across chasms or engaging in fistfights, but you'll need to toggle to a first-person view to look through binoculars, target enemies with a double-barrel crossbow or activate a faraway switch with a projectile. As the name of this remixed game suggests, the graphics in Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD are now in high-definition.

Is it any good?

This remastered action-platformer western gives you hours of gameplay for an extremely affordable price. There's no other way around it -- Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD is fun, and it's also funny. The game's "live" ammo includes Stunkz, creatures that emit a poisonous gas to choke enemies and Stingbees, insects that can be fired machine-gun style before they swarm the outlaws. Zappflies are your only unlimited ammo, and they're ideal for collecting and retrieving other live ammo, which graze in the game's outdoor environments. Ammo upgrades include Riot Slugs that explode in midair and spray shrapnel and foul-mouthed Howler Punks that lure enemies into traps. Live ammunition is a cute concept that doesn't grow tiresome because you need to strategize about which critters work best in different bounty-hunting situations. Fugitives are worth more alive than dead, but they are harder to capture than kill. To earn your bounty, you must walk up to the stunned (or deceased) outlaw and suck him into a bag with a kind of portable vacuum cleaner.

Oddworld Stranger's Wrath HD includes a lot more action and violence than past Oddworld titles that relied on puzzle-solving (1997's Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee) or cooperative teamwork (2001's Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee). That said, Stranger's Wrath HD is just as humorous and entertaining, and ultimately, it's a more gratifying adventure than its predecessors because of the live ammo gimmick that remains fresh until the game's climactic conclusion. Visually, it's not the best -- yes, even with the "HD" upgrade -- and the game may not be replayable without it feeling like the same adventure, but it's still a fun and quirky action game with platforming elements.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Outworld: Strangers Wrath HD affected by the lack of significant blood or gore in gameplay? Would the impact be intensified if the weapons were more realistic instead of being living creatures?

  • Is it better to perform dangerous acts or potential harm if you're preventing worse people from hurting others? Is there an obvious way to resolve issues in a non-violent way that doesn't derail the plot?

Game details

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