Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty
When it comes to classic Playstation era titles, no list would be complete without Abe’s Oddysee. Originally released in 1997 the adventures of Abe proved to be a big hit with players, thanks to its imaginative characters, surreal setting and challenging gameplay. Oddworld: New ‘n Tasty is a remake of Abe’s Oddysee, but unlike other recent titles, this doesn’t just mean a small bump in resolution. Instead, the game has been lavished with the kind of updates and improvements that makes it easy to see that it was a labor of love instead of an easy cash-in.
Playing as Abe, an enslaved worker at the RuptureFarms meat process plant, you discover that your species is next on the menu. Abe flees, but after a journey to prepare himself better, has to return to RuptureFarms to free his fellow Mudokons from becoming tasty treats. It is an almost insurmountable task as Abe is virtually defenseless while his enemies are not only numerous, but vicious. However, Abe does have a few tricks up his sleeve to outwit his foes and save the day.
The story might be old, but it is still as engrossing as it was back in the 90s and still as relevant. It is also a rather gloomy tale, but is handled with enough humor to prevent things from being too depressing. New ‘n Tasty is a platformer, but in addition to testing your jumping skills, it also delights in throwing puzzles at you. Your main purpose is to locate the Mudokons and lead them to special portals where they can make their escape, but with guards, mines, bombs, motion sensors, bottomless pits and electric fences everywhere this is easier said than done.
After escaping RuptureFarms, Abe gets to explore two temples and a few outside environments in his quest to prove that he has what it takes to free his people. Instead of the static screens of the original game, New ‘n Tasty now features levels that scroll, which puts a whole new spin on things. This is great for the sections where you get to ride around on a mount, but it also makes the whole game feel more open. The original game was known for how challenging it was, but New ‘n Tasty makes a few concessions, such as more check points and even a quicksave function. These make the game much more accessible to new players, but Oddworld veterans can still play the game on “Hard” for a bigger challenge. Even on hard it is still not as tough as the original, but I can’t imagine that too many players will complain about that.
Most enemies are disposed of by using the environment or their own traps against them, but Abe also has the power to possess the gun totting Slig guards. Sligs cannot jump, but they can pull switches and use their powerful guns to kill anything in sight. Don’t think that you can just run around possessing Sligs though as there are security orbs everywhere that will zap Abe if you try to perform this trick within their sight. Instead, you will have to lure Sligs to a spot where the security orbs can’t stop you from using your chant, or alternatively find a way to destroy the orb. The original game featured grenades, meat and rocks that could be found and thrown, but New ‘n Tasty adds bottle caps. Abe has an unlimited supply of these and while they cannot trigger mines like rocks do, they can be used to distract enemies. Above and beyond all the enhancements over the original Abe’s Oddysee, New ‘n Tasty also has numerous bug fixes and tweaks compared to the PS4 version of the game released in 2014.
Visually New ‘n Tasty is not only worlds ahead of the original Abe’s Oddysee, but also leaves a lot of modern platform titles looking rather drab in comparison. The high resolution visuals can be pushed as high as 4K and the improved lighting enhances the whole atmosphere of the game. The backgrounds are downright beautiful and the animations also look great. While the game is still played on a 2D plane, the 3D visuals mean that everything now has a lot more depth. The game is also fond of showing off the new visuals by zooming in or rotating the camera in a few locations. Coupled with the scrolling playing field and lighting effects, the new visuals make the gameworld feel more “alive” than it ever did in the original. The cut-scenes are the same as the original, but have been rendered in much more detail and a higher resolution of course.
Purists will notice that Abe sounds a little different, but his voice is still a perfect match for the character. The whole “GameSpeak” aspect of the game caused quite a stir back in the 90s, and while a little less impressive these days it is still charming. After greeting Mudokons to get their attention, Abe can order them around. New to this version of the game is the ability to greet multiple Mudokons at once, which is handy as the amount you encounter has more than doubled. You can also instruct Abe to make noises, such as whistles and farts, which is employed for a few “Simon Says” style puzzles throughout the game. In addition, you can instruct possessed Sligs to bark out commands, which is useful for getting Mudokons to take cover lest they be hit by crossfire. It has been a while since I have played the original, but the music still sounds great.
Although the controls feel a bit more responsive than the original game there is still a bit of a learning curve involved. Abe’s Oddysee only supported digital controls, but New ‘n Tasty now allows you to play with Analog controls. New additions to the controls include the ability to drop grenades behind you as well as being able to sneak while crouching. Purists can enable the old school control option though, which sticks to buttons for hopping or running. The game also now has a two-player “pass the pad” mode where players can take turns controlling Abe, which is nice, but not something I would imagine seeing a lot of use.
Overall New ‘n Tasty is about as good as you can get when it comes to remaking classic titles without turning them into something completely different from the original. The new visuals look excellent, but the tweaks and changes to the gameplay also enhance the experience. The blend of action, puzzles and exploration is still as addictive as it was all those years ago and the game is worth another playthrough even if you have completed the original. The game is also great for speedruns which, in addition to the two different endings, provide plenty of replay value. Oddworld: New ‘n Tasty comes highly recommended to veterans as well as players who have never experienced the original.
- OS: Windows 7
- Processor: Intel i3-3220 (3.30GHz)
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Graphics: Dedicated desktop GPU required – minimum Radeon HD 5770 / NVIDIA GTX 260
- Hard Drive: 10 GB available space
- OS: Windows 7 (64 bit) Service Pack 1 / Windows 8
- Processor: Intel i5
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Graphics: Dedicated desktop GPU required – recommended Radeon HD 6850 / NVIDIA GTX 560
- Hard Drive: 10 GB available space