- PC Steam - £19.99 - Trailer
- Each game is also available individually - (Munch's Oddysee £6.99, Stranger's Wrath £11.99, Abe's Oddysee and Abe's Exoddus - £3.49 each)
- Stranger's Wrath coming to PS3 in Q2 2011.
It's probably just as well we're a tad late to the party with this one, given how many tiresome technical glitches affected its original release a couple of months back.
Three months on, the set is fully patched up and raring to go, and you can now enjoy this four-game Oddworld anthology as portmeisters Just Add Water presumably intended.
Skipping merrily through the set provides a breezy reminder of Oddworld Inhabitant's irreverent creativity and slightly twisted sense of humour. Plus, perhaps more than anything, how the company routinely stood apart from what was going on around it.
Although technically by far the most dated of the set, the wicked brand of platform puzzling in Abe's Oddysee and Abe's Exoddus still holds up well against today's 2D upstarts. Having said that, the former's punishing checkpointing will bloody the nose of anyone used to today's more forgiving standards. If that sounds too much like hard work, a HD remake of the original is in the works.
What's more surprising is how well both 2001's Munch's Oddysee and 2005's Stranger's Wrath look under in the harsh spotlight of 2011. Despite both being designed for the SD era on the original Xbox, they scale up remarkably well at the highest resolutions. Most importantly, they're both as quirky and enjoyable to play as ever.
Munch's Oddysee came in for a fair bit of criticism first time around but it has aged far better than seems possible for a title pushing ten years old. The cut-scenes, for starters, are absolutely top class. While the bizarre mashup of kleptomania and herding might not have been to everyone's taste, there's never been a game quite like it.
Stranger's Wrath skilfully manages to fuse fast-paced action adventuring with a particularly warped brand of bounty-hunting and first-person combat to thrilling effect. Rather than merely give you a boring selection of weapons, the game makes you hunt for specific live ammo. You can then fire away at your unsuspecting foe with amusing results.
Regardless of whether you've played these games before or not, trawling through the Oddbox is a rare pleasure. Such unfettered creativity has been sorely missed.
Pix N Love Rush
- PSN Minis - £1.74 - Trailer
- PlayStation Plus - Free
Like many of the cute and sexy iOS games out there in downloadsville, there's always the suspicion that they'd be a little more enjoyable if only you could play them using actual buttons and a dpad.
Case in point: Pix N' Love Rush. As much as I always admired Pastagames'/Sanukgames' gorgeous retro-twitch platformer, the gameplay was always too damned exacting to rely on touchscreen controls.
To the shock of precisely no-one, this belated Minis port proves the point comprehensively. Now all that precision timing makes the game fun and rewarding, rather than hit-and-miss.
Unlike the iOS version, this one features four modes to test the upkeep of your leathery tendons - kicking off with the Classic Rush mode, where you spend most of your time fretting about plucking plus icons out of the air while avoiding those dastardly minuses.
To make you feel good about your ability to pick up the good stuff, the game's visual signature evolves through contrasting retro styles. But with the environment constantly changing and numerous sneaky obstacles to be wary of, the glory rarely lasts long.
The frenetic Cursed Rush mode, meanwhile, pits you against a continually scrolling backdrop, Canabalt-style, and tasks you with avoiding the inevitable abyss for as long as possible. With difficulty levels ranging from 'Hard' through to 'Hardcorest', you can probably guess that gameplay sessions are measured in seconds rather than minutes.
If you've got enough sanity left over for the On-Off Rush mode you'll be delighted at its penchant for pinging you rapidly left and right, switching the scene from day to night and back again while you scoop up suns and moons for kicks.
Happily for fans of all things fun and retro-tinged, the game comes together marvellously on the PSP - and the fact that it's currently free to PlayStation Plus members sweetens the deal even more.