Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty is a remastering of the classic Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee from the original PlayStation era, released back in 1997 and created by the team at Oddworld Inhabitants. Developed by the talent chaps at Just Add Water (JAW), the remake has been a long time coming, and features gorgeously revamped visuals all the while still maintaining the distinct look and feel of the PSone version. However, instead of the original’s pre-rendered backdrops, New ‘n’ Tasty boasts gorgeous, fully rendered environments while the action still remains very much true to its 2D roots.
As with the original, you play as Abe as he tries to escape Rupture Farms, a futuristic, steampunk-style factory, after he discovers what the company is using for ingredients in its latest product. As he tries to leave the farm, our unconventional-looking hero can also help his fellow Mudokons escape by opening up portals using his chant, just like the 1997 version. One slight change since the original release, however, is that you can now have multiple Mudokons escape at the same time instead of just one after another. Though this might be frustrating for some hardcore fans, it does make the game feel more fluid. The original game also had each section of the level reload as you entered, meaning if you messed up somehow, you could reset things by simply leaving the area and coming back. However, this has also been tweaked, with the level design eschewing loading between sections and allowing each stage to be seamlessly interwoven. Still, there’s a few lengthy pauses when changing areas, which can prove a bit of a pain at times. In addition, the trip mines seem to have been toned down a notch in terms of difficulty; the window of opportunity in which to diffuse them has been expanded from the original release, making it easier to pass mined areas.
The controls have also changed since the 1997 release. Square now functions as the ‘general use’ button instead of Up on the directional pad; this took me some time to get used to. The same can be said of Triangle, which is now a health check instead of jump, resulting in a few deaths my end. I also noticed a bit of input lag when you run and jump, and it feels at times like the move just doesn't trigger properly. Elsewhere, JAW has added speech to the directional pad to make it easier to tell your fellow Mudokons to follow you or wait (or perhaps even fart on them). You also have another four speech buttons by holding down the R2 button. Annoyingly, the sound is a bit muffled at times and Abe is not as loud as he could have been, though this can be fixed by adjusting the audio settings.
The game also gives Abe an infinite number of bottle caps. This is a new feature and can be used to distract enemies, though they can not be used to trigger mines; you’ll still need to look for rocks, in that respect. The right analog stick is used to aim the angle of throw, which took a little bit of time as the angle bar seems to blend in with the background sometimes. As such, it would have been handy if it was a bit more visible. Still, even with all these changes the gameplay feels like the original version with some nice modern twists, which altogether are implemented quite well.
Elsewhere, the touchpad functions as a quicksave button, allowing you to panic-save if you are struggling on a particular puzzle by tapping it quickly. Fans of the original game have expressed their disdain for this addition, but in my opinion it’s a nice little extra for newbies; after all, you do not have to use it, and it also negatively affects your leaderboard score (another new feature) if you do. The forthcoming DLC mission will also feature a separate leaderboard, and you can replay chapters once you have finished the game so you can practice some of those tougher areas. The co-op functionality from the 1997 release is also back, allowing you to play with a friend, though this is not your standard affair as your friend takes the controller after you have died. As you can imagine, this results in a lot of repetitive switching back and forth, and it would have been nice to allow a second player to use a separate DualShock 4 controller instead.
Overall, New ‘n’ Tasty is a wonderful return to the Oddworld universe, with Abe being as lovable as he was back in 1997. Gamers will also be pleased to learn that the title features a Platinum Trophy and is Cross-Buy compatible with the PS3 and PS Vita versions, which will come later this year. In terms of length, New ‘n’ Tasty should take around seven to 10 hours to beat, and it's a worthwhile trip the whole way through. Get stuck in.
Ben: I want to give a big shout out to everyone who joined me during the review streams on PSU's Twitch channel. There are too many people to mention, but you were all a great help!
-The Final Word-
Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty is a brilliant reinvention of a PlayStation classic. Abe's memorable journey has never played and looked so good.