I hadn’t played Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath for any meaningful amount of time until I reviewed it last December. It very quickly took over, presenting me with a curious blend of first person action and third person platforming that I had never really experienced in a game before. It was easy to see why people fell in love with the game when it was first released, few as they may have been.
Skip forward a little while, and the Stranger is going mobile. Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD for the Vita isn’t without its caveats, but it is a well put together handheld version of a great, unique game. The Vita might not be powerful enough to run the game at the (almost) smooth 60 that the PS3 version managed, and the graphics may have been pared down in certain spots, but its a beautiful game. Far more so than any other first person effort on the Vita, undoubtedly. Indeed, Stranger’s Wrath HD might be the game to prove that deep, involved first person shooting mechanics can work on the Vita effortlessly.
Stranger’s Wrath on Vita also doesn’t force you to do anything weird with the hardware itself. There’s no gyroscope crossbow aiming, and no augmented reality bounty hunting. There’s the option to use the back touch for the camera, but that is easily deactivated. The touch integration is superbly done, especially when it comes to ammo selection. Pressing a button on the D-Pad brings up your left and right slots, and you tap what ammo you want. Its simple, effective and it might just be faster than the PS3 implementation. Switching from first to third person is also handled through a double tap of the touch screen. It take a little getting used to, but once you get a handle on it, you switch back and forth with relative ease.
Just Add Water haven’t really skimped on any area of the game’s portable outing. The graphics are sharp, the controls are well thought out, and the game still sounds great. The only odd area is the game’s lack of cross-save or cross-buy integration. Cross-saves’ absence can be explained by the fact that Sony limits the file sizes of games using the feature. So, JAW simply couldn’t meet the limit, though looking a the save file sizes for the game they gave it a fair old try.
I’m a few hours into Stranger’s Wrath Vita, and I can wholeheartedly recommend the portable version of the game. If you’ve played it before on another platform its still worth experiencing again, and if you haven’t? Well, you’ve now got another place to perhaps try it out on.