Oddworld New ‘n Tasty Review (PS4)
“So why should you get the review copy of this game?” said the assistant editor at CDT. I say assistant editor, but he was more like chief henchman. The fact that he was hunchbacked, had a snaggletooth, wally eye and often carried a whip around with him only reinforced the rebranding. “Well”, I ventured “I was a fan of the first release and have been waiting for this since it was announced”
“Tough, so was I” The spittle flew from his mouth and landed on the trembling intern he was using as a footstool. “Yeah but I live my life using lessons I learned from it”
“Prove it!” he shouted as he rubbed his sweaty verruca infested foot in the face of the now crying intern.
“Ok.” I farted. He laughed, paused for a second then handed me the copy of Oddworld New ‘n Tasty: Abe’s Odyssey. Job done.
Oddworld New ‘n Tasty is the long awaited remake of the PSone classic Abe’s Odyssey. It tells the story of Abe, a slave employee of Rupture Farms who discovers that his race is soon to be the main ingredient in a “New ‘n Tasty” product coming soon. Hunted by his boss’s henchmen, Abe must escape, learn his true fate and lead his people to freedom. Most PSone owners would have played Abe’s Odyssey way back in 1997, or at the very least they would have played the demo that was included with the PlayStation so I won’t go into too much of the story. The game is at its heart a puzzle platformer. Abe travels from screen to screen looking for fellow Mudokuns to rescue whilst dealing with the pesky sligs and other enemies. The puzzle element comes in where Abe needs to command and guide his fellow Mudokuns to safety by activating switches and sneaking past enemies at the right time.
So, if we take it as read that most of us know the original game and that it was one of the best games for the PSone, we can take a closer look at New ‘n Tasty to see what has changed and if it is an improvement. Graphically the original game was no slouch; Oddworld looked gorgeous and pushed the limits of the PSone’s processors. For its PS4 makeover all the stops have been pulled to ensure Oddworld shines again. More detail has been added to both backgrounds and foregrounds. An example of this comes in the early stages of the Rupture Farms levels where you originally were taught to hide the shadows from patrolling sligs. The “shadows” were basically large black squares you could sneak in and out of. These have now been replaced with columns of steam that rise up and look very steam-like. The whole screen for this puzzle has been changed too. The setting has gone from being inside the factory to being outside where sligs patrol walkways in the background. Elsewhere in the game, the graphical overhaul has just turned everything up to eleven. The factory levels look suitably dark and grimy; the machines look dangerous and foreboding and in stark contrast to the orange skyline in the outside sections. The levels where you are traversing the tree tops on your trust Elum are absolutely stunning; the foreground is lovingly detailed and looks like a Ewok village whilst the background has trees as far as the eye can see.
New ‘n Tasty keeps one of the properties of Abe’s Odyssey in that it is as hard as nails. Puzzles are unforgiving should you not get them perfectly timed or just step an inch further than you should. Some of the levels have been changed with this in mind and has made it a tad easier. An example of this is the infamous jump between the falling meats in the early stages of the game. The original level required two timed jumps between falling pieces of meat. One was a standard jump and the second was a running one. The redux of this sees the second jump not being as wide; it’s a little easier to achieve but you will still die a good few times before you get it. It is rather comforting to that although the level design has been tweaked in some places, it does not take away the characteristic difficulty of the game. Abe’s Odyssey was difficult but never rage inducingly impossible, something that New ‘n Tasty has gone to great lengths to preserve.
There are also certain game mechanics that have been adopted from Abe’s Exodus (the sequel to Odyssey) and placed in this remake. Originally Abe was only able to command one of his fellow “employees” at a time; they would happily follow him as he would guide them to a portal (or if you were feeling evil, a mincer). The sequel allowed you to have a whole group of Mudokuns under your command. This small change has been moved across into New ‘n Tasty with a positive side effect. More Mudokuns under your control means more side mission rescue objectives, more sligs to deal with and more comedy. There is nothing quite as funny as a screen full of wee Mudokuns doing the “sneak” walk.
Control wise New ‘n Tasty has a control scheme that we are used to seeing in modern platform games. The original PSone game had some odd choices in the control department which sometimes got the blame for lots of in game deaths. The jump action was one of these; pressing the triangle made Abe leap forward whilst pushing up would allow him to jump up to grab a ledge. There was also no crouch button; you had to push down for that. Thankfully the jump button is now the more comfortable cross and circle button crouches Abe. This is good but Oddworld Inhabitants and Just Add Water have done something rather cool; they have kept some of the old control scheme on the controller – such as the up to jump, and down to crouch – so that you can have the best of the both controls schemes and switch whenever you wish.
The only negative thing I have to say about New ‘n Tasty probably more a personal issue than anything else. Abe’s voice has been changed and sounds like the recording used for Abe’s Exodus. It has not so much as changed Abe is still voiced by Lorne Lanning) but the recording was clearer and of better quality. The original recordings had imperfections in them and I think Lanning gave Abe a slight drawl the first time around. It was a combination of these that made me fall instantly in love with the game so while the re-recordings may be better I still prefer the older slower and even cuter sounding Abe.
Oddworld New ‘n Tasty is the perfect example of what a remake should be; it keeps a fantastic game and just adds every conceivable thing to improve it. There are too many awesome little touches to mention. Mudokuns mutter and grumble about being a slave whenever Abe is near; Sligs sing a wee song about shooting things in the head and Abe’s farts don’t sound all the same. If you never had the privilege of playing Abe’s Odyssey, then this is an absolute must for your PS4. If you are a fan of the original and require more convincing, allow me to say this, Oddworld New ‘n Tasty is the way your mind remembers Abe’s Odyssey and I cannot recommend it enough.
5 “follow me”s out of 5Oddworld New 'n Tasty Review (PS4),