I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the original Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey. You see, there was a time during high school where I stopped playing video games altogether. That is until I got an original Xbox as a gift and Abe’s journey came along with it. I poured hours into that game and have frequent memories of saving the Mudokons from the grinders, and yes…virtually farting away. Now, almost 20-years later the game is getting the HD treatment, though be warned, labeling it a simple re-release would be cutting it short. More of a complete re-imagining, Abe’s Odyssey has been completely rebuilt from the ground up and the result is the absolute best version of the game released to date. Some of the controls have been questionably changed, which leads to frustration in some of the puzzles that require precise controls but don’t let that sway you — fans of the original and those who may have been too young to experience the game the first go-round should jump right in.
Published by: Sony
Platform:PS4, PS3, PC, PS Vita
What works: Fun gameplay| completely remade worlds are gorgeous| new difficulty levels
What doesn’t work: New control scheme can be frustrating|
For the uninitiated, New n’ Tasty tells the story of Abe, a Mudokon who works at Rupture farms as a janitor. He thinks he has a great job but that all changes when he discovers that the company’s newest snack is made up of his own people. The majority of the game has you trying to escape the Rupture Farms compound, bringing as many Mudokons with you as possible. It’s a dark but yet light hearted adventure that’s incredibly imaginative and unique. The world of Oddworld and Rupture farms is incredibly fleshed out and fun (if not even a bit depressing) to explore, even more so in this new version.
Calling New n’ Tasty just another simple re-release would be cutting the efforts of the developers incredibly short; this is a completely rebuilt Oddworld. Everything from the backgrounds to the character models has been completely rebuilt from the ground up, resulting in a mostly incredibly looking game. Though some of the smaller background details seem to have not made the jump to HD yet, but the majority of the world looks fantastic. Gone are the one screen environments of the original in favor of large, sweeping and continuous worlds that really give Rupture Farms a sense of being and depth. They say hindsight is twenty-twenty and though I know this isn;t the Oddworld I ever got, it’s the Oddworld I somehow always imagined.
Most of the gameplay feels untouched from the original release and everything from the humor to the stealth gameplay and yes, the difficulty is still here. Throughout the majority of the game you’ll be trying to outwit your enemies by creating distractions and sneaking past them using clever traps rather than facing them head on. There’s a great mix of puzzle and platforming elements that’ll usually keep you thinking throughout the majority of the experience. The original Abe’s Odyssey was known for it’s difficulty, mainly with Abe dying after one hit but new difficulty levels make the game much more accessible for the new era of gamers that didn’t get a chance to experience the original release. Don’t worry old guys like me, you can still turn the difficulty way up to get the original Oddworld experience.
For some reason though, the developers have chosen to change a small, yet important part of the original game’s controls for this new HD era. In the original game you could controls Abe’s speed by using the shoulder buttons and while you cans till sneak with the same method, running is now controlled directly by the thumbstick. Like most 3D action games, you’ll tilt the thumbstick just a bit to have Abe walk normal and tilt it further to have him run. It seems like a small change but it makes a huge difference, especially in some of the bigger platforming sections. Often Abe’s fate is determined by mere inches and it’s incredibly frustrating to have to try a section over just because the thumbstick was pushed just a bit too much. Thankfully this new re-release has a pretty generous quick save feature so if you remember to use it, you shouldn’t be put too far back.
More than just a re-release, Oddworld: New ’n Tasty is a complete reimagining of the original Abe’s Odyssey and the result is the absolute best version of the game to date. Long time fans of the series will appreciate the love given to the aging formula while those new to Oddworld get the game we imagined we would so long ago. Some of the controls have been changed, and not for the better but don’t let that stop you — those new to the series and those who have experienced the game before should check out this love letter to the Oddworld series.
This review was based on an early review code provided by the developer. It was played on the PS4 on the normal difficulty.
They introduced “old school” controls in a recent patch giving you a run and a hop button in the controls menu.