So begins Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty! A remake of 1997 sidescrolling platformer Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee, but we aren’t talking about simply upscaling the original prerendered 2D graphics. No, the entire game has been rebuilt from the ground up in real time 3D. While Abe’s Oddysee divided its levels into still screens, New ‘n’ Tasty! camera scrolls with Abe as he walks, runs, and sneaks through Oddworld.
It is a thrill to see areas from Abe’s Oddysee that would have required travelling across seven or so screens rendered in New ‘n’ Tasty! with an impressive seamlessness. This new camera is also free to give a better look at the consistently gorgeous environmental design, which has lost none of the original style and detail in the move to 3D.
Despite the new visuals New ‘n’ Tasty! takes great care to retain the course side scrolling platforming that distinguished Abe’s Oddysee 17 years ago. Abe is a weakling and extremely fragile, and lacking in offensive abilities. He is more concerned in surviving his enemies than destroying them, and he does this by sneaking past them, out running them or turning the environment on them when possible.
Abe can hide in steam vents, lead gun toting guards into landmines, zap them by electrocuting fields, and occasionally he can possess a guard to temporarily turn his gun on his comrades. Abe’s enemies are scary, powerful, and they exhibit unique identities.
Possessing a Slig guard gets to order Slog to kill another guard. Paramites won’t attack unless you back them into a corner. Scrabs will attack on sight, unless they see another Scrab, in which in this case they will ignore you and fight to the death. Exploiting these behaviours is the key to solving most puzzles. This mixes well with the environmental hazards in ways that never feel repetitive, but Abe’s quest isn’t soley about self-preservation, along the way he must save his mudokon brothers, by issuing basic commands and leading them to portals.
For all of the traumatic ways that Abe can die in this hostile world, there’s a slapstick quality to the dark subject matter. When you have multiple, frail, mudokon in tow, the variety of dialogue in New ‘n’ Tasty has been greatly increased over the original game, so that the other mudokons feel less like carbon copies off one another, and rangol physics makes everything funnier.
Trying to survive as a fragile character like Abe is something of a novelty when Abe’s Oddessy was first released, he died in one hit, but he had unlimited lives, but the same is true with New ‘n’ Tasty!, but this remake adds three difficulty levels, the easier of which will allow you to take more than one hit before dying. But even the classing one hit kill difficulty is still forgiving, as you can quick save by simply clicking the touch pad. Keep this in mind and you will rarely loose much progress as to what is sure to be repeated deaths.
Unfortunately those deaths sometimes occur because of how New ‘n’ Tasty! uses the analogue stick movement. In the original game you control Abe’s movement speed by using the control buttons, this was important because this required precise timing of prints and jumps to avoid landing on mines or falling down chasms. New ‘n’ Tasty! changes this in two movement speeds on the left thumb stick, pushing it slightly will make Abe walk, while pushing it harder will make Abe run, this leads to a number of situations where I had to adjust my position by a single step, but I ended up running straight into a land mine.
Thankfully sneaking is still down to a shoulder button, so it’s rare that you’ll accidently wake up a Slig and get shot. Despite occasional frustrations from this fiddley analogue movement, and some fourth wall breaking in game adds, this is a remake that feels as though that is was crafted with love and respect, with clever puzzles, near enough identical to the original game, and beautiful environments that brought everything to life, with new visuals and a dynamic camera.
New ‘n’ Tasty! ticks all of the boxes for me, despite being an Oddworld veteran, and knowing each solution like the back of my hand. This game is DLC for Playstation 4, Xbox One, Playstation 3, PC.
And to conclude our second instalment in the Retrospective series we award this game a 4.5/5 stars.