Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty! is a remake of the 1997 Playstation title Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee . The game just isn’t an HD remake, the game has been rebuilt from the ground up in 3D – allowing players to see I need to admit that I didn’t spend much time with Abe’s Oddysee when I was younger, so I’m not going to be able to tell you every difference between the two. What playing this remake has taught me, however, is that I skipped over a pretty awesome game when I was younger, and also that I have matured a bit as a gamer since I didn’t throw my controller into a wall while playing it.
In New ‘n’ Tasty! you play as Abe, a Mudokon working as a slave at RuptureFarms. The Glukkon have enslaved the Mudokon, forcing them to work at their meat processing farm. You start the game right after Abe overhears a meeting stating that the Glukkon will starting using the Mudokon for meat for a new product. The first hour or so is really about getting players acquainted with how the game works. It also previews thi ngs to come, as some of the obstacles you come across in the beginning are left for you to figure out instead of the developer giving you an idea of what to do.
That’s both good and bad. The game reminded me of what it used to feel like to play games – when developers didn’t treat gamers like idiots and actually put substantial challenges in front of them to figure out. Trial and error is the best way to go about things. Not sure if that thing in front of you will kill you? Go touch it and find out. This lead to great feelings of satisfaction when I would figure out a particularly difficult puzzle or make it through an area that seemed impossible just 10 minutes ago.
The bad part is that gaming is now much more mainstre am than it was at the time of Abe’s Oddysee , and many newer gamers just aren’t used to games like this. This may lead to frustration and ultimately be a turn off for them. Also, as much as I love figuring stuff out on my own, I found a few situations where abilities should have been explained.
The game is a mix of platforming and puzzles. Abe doesn’t have any direct offensive capabilities, but he does have some tools and abilities at his disposal to help him traverse Oddworld. The most useful is probably his multi-function chant. Your first encounters with the chant show you that you can open portals in certain parts of the world that will allow Mudokon to escape the factory. Most of the portals close after you stop chanting, but some stay open. If you see this happen, make sure you jump through because that portal will take you to a bonus area where you can save more Mudokon. Saving the Mudokon is important not only because that’s the main point of the game, but depending on how many you save will determine the ending. There are two endings, and let me tell you the “bad” ending pissed me off to no end, so make sure you get the good ending.
Later on you are able to use the chant to use a spirit ring. Once collected, spir it rings allow you to destroy mines and other explosives from afar. One of the most important abilities of the chant is being able to take control of Sligs, th e henchmen of the Glukkon.
While Sligs don’t have Abe’s mobility (they can’t jump or sneak), they do have something Abe doesn’t: g uns. You can use Sligs to kill various enemies, including other Sligs. They can also move through certain areas without raising suspicion. Sligs also can com municate with terminals with which Abe cannot, and they can speak the Slig language to give Slig passwords. One feature of the Sligs I found out by accident is that they can control these little, annoying dog-like creatures. One of the later puzzles requ ired that I used one of these small dog creatures , and since I didn’t even know I could do it, y ou can imagine how frustrated I was getting. I only figured it out because while I was thinking, I started pressing buttons to make the Slig speak and I noticed one of the commands made the dog follow me and anoth er command made it attack another Slig.
With the chanting ability, you would think Abe had the advantage in this situation, but there are devices that keep Abe from chanting, and they are a big part of the challenge. If you chant around these devices you will be electrocuted. You won’t lose any health, but they also keep you from taking over any Sligs since you get electrocuted every time you try to chant. In these situations you need to figure out how to get past these enemies. Sometimes you need to use the environment; sometimes you might have access to grenades or rocks that allow you to blow the enemies up or trigger explosives to clear a path; and so metimes you just need to be stealthy – sneaking around quietly and using steam vents to hide yourself when possible. Other times, you just may need to run like hell.
There comes a point where the game becomes more puzzle than platforming, and that’s when you have to travel to Paramonia and Scrabania. There are temples in each area that you need to visit, and on the way to the temples there is a lot of platforming and light puzzle solving. You can choose which area you want to visit first, which means the difficulty level of the game stays flat for a bit. Each area has similar situations that you will deal with. For example, in both areas you get an Elum to ride that will enable you to make longer jumps and move fast. At some point in both areas the Elum finds honey and won’t move, and you need to find a way to get bees to sting the Elum. The puzzles aren’t exactly the same, but like I said, it stays a bit flat.
Once you’re in the temples, you’ll come to sections in both areas that are pretty much challenge rooms. You need to do two things: light the Flintlock and get the bell song which will enable you to leave the challenge room. Luckily you won’t find the puzzles to be repetitive, and the enemies you deal with in each temple are different, ultimately giving you different puzzle piece to deal with. After you finish all of the challenge rooms both temples have fast paced platforming areas called initiation rooms. Basically you need to get to the other end of the room by running and using your reflexes.
Areas where the platforming is thick and, more specifically, fast-paced brought a huge issue to light: shoddy controls. The controls for this game are not tight at all, a sin for any game with platforming. Abe’s movement felt a bit slippery, and it was hard to gauge where he would actually stop, or exactly how far up he would move if I pressed forward. Some parts of this game require accuracy and precision, and moving up an additional centimeter could be the difference between life and death. I’m not one to blame games for my failure, but there were several times I felt my death was unfair due to the controls.
Also, jumping up to other platforms could be a bit annoying. Because of Abe’s slippery feet, it was easier to predict my jumps when running at full speed than when I wasn’t running and just trying to move a little to the left or the right. Those times, I’d f ind myself in the wrong position to reach the next platform. This is especially annoying when you’re in a pos ition where you need to move quickly. During the final area, that required quick movements, I was getting very frustrated, and there was one part where Abe kept jumping in the wrong direction. Instead of jumping in the direction I wanted him to , I found I was too close to a ledge behind me, and whenever I jumped he would automatically turn around and jump there. I know that feature was put in to be a help to players, but it actually turned into something that held me back.
One of the biggest parts of an HD remake is how it looks, and I thought this game looked great. Honestly, it reminded me a lot of how the Jak & Daxter HD remake looks. This game may play on a 2D plane, but the world is fully 3D and immersive. Each area is detailed differently, giving you very different scenery to look at as you play the game.
I had a great time with New ‘n’ Tasty!, and honestly h ad a hard time putting it down. The only problems I had with the game were the crappy controls which lead to A LOT of frustration. That being the case, I would still recommend the game to those who have a taste for games with a challenge. It’s sad they really don’t make games like this anymore. It has a personality and charm that you won’t find in a retail shop these days. I hope that Oddworld Inhabitants and J.A.W. continue to remake these old Oddworld games, minus the shoddy controls of course. I won’t miss that part of its personality.