RELEASED: July 22, 2014
AVAILABLE ON: MAC, PC, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Wii U, Xbox One
DEVELOPER(S): Just Add Water
PUBLISHER(S): Oddworld Inhabitants
Released on the original PlayStation on August 31st, 1997, Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee is a true cult classic. The only things dragging this surreal joyride influenced by games such as Prince of Persia and Another World down, were its unforgiving learning curve and general level of difficulty, both of which were worked on to pave the way to the success of the even better sequel, 1998's Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus. After 2001's Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee - the first 3D game in the series - Abe stepped down as the main protagonist of the Oddworld series to make way to "the Stranger". Although the first-person shooter Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath was notably well-received by critics and fans, the praises did not come without wishes that Abe would one day return. Rumours of a new Oddworld game circulated for years, until in the summer of 2012, Just Add Water - the British studio responsible for the HD versions of both Munch's Oddysee and Stranger's Wrath - announced they were working on an HD version of Abe's Oddysee. To make it absolutely clear that the game wouldn't be just a simple HD remaster of the 2D platformer, but a complete remake, they renamed the game Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty!. And that's exactly what it is. Welcome back to RuptureFarms.
Meat processing factory RuptureFarms is in a financial slump, as they're running out of ingredients with the wild animals of Oddworld becoming extinct. Chairman Molluck comes up with the perfect solution to all of RuptureFarms' problems and taps into his very own staff of Mudokon slaves for something "new and tasty". Mudokon janitor Abe overhears Molluck's presentation and decides to escape RuptureFarms, saving every fellow Mudokon he can before they become the factory's new flagship product.
You'd actually be surprised how identically the game plays out as the original if you're merely looking at screenshots. The game has been re-crafted from scratch in 2.5D; it looks quite a bit like diversified LittleBigPlanet. The game no longer progresses screen-by-screen, every level has standard side-scrolling design, which - some would say unfortunately - affects some original puzzles the difficulty of which depended on things like Abe not being able to possess a Slig guard that wasn't on the same screen as him. Essentially, it's much easier to possess guards in this game than the original, and you can bend several other rules laid down by the original game at will, all thanks to the new UI - as well as the addition of the Quiksave utility. There's close to no music in the game, save for a beautiful yet a bit unbelonging end credit song by Elodie Adams, an Australian up-and-comer who's a big Oddworld fan. Fans were crucial to the game in general; not only did fans come up with the game's final title and Trophy names, but most of the voice cast is apparently comprised of fans. Abe's (Lorne Lanning) narration is directly remastered from the original game, but the GameSpeak and "dialogue" are completely re-recorded, using lines from both Oddysee and Exoddus, as well as some new ones which will totally crack you up.
Provided there are no chant suppressors in Abe's immediate surroundings to shock him out of his socks the moment he makes a beep, and that there aren't enemies on the same ground level, Abe can use the ancient chant of his people to possess Slig guards. Control shifts over to the possessed Slig, who you can use to command Slogs - "dogs", real ugly ones - pull levers that are out of Abe's reach, use Slig's very own vocabulary in the language of GameSpeak to get past RuptureFarms security, and finally, the most important part, you can shoot the shit out of every other Slig you see and then either feed your puppet to a meat grinder, cast him down a bottomless pit or simply blow his brains out with the power of possession itself. Fun! You can also trick two Scrabs - large crab-like creatures - to attack each other; whenever they make direct eye contact, they duke it out until the other one's dead. You'll always have to survive one, though; that's hard enough. Paramites, though small, are perhaps the most volatile and unpredictable enemies in the game; if you see just one, you can rest assured it won't do anything to you as long as you're out in the open, but you can rest just as assured that its friends aren't far away. And when its friends come, you'd better have a boulder ready to dump on the little bastards. Being able to kill enemies and the ways to do it very often depend on the level itself, and sometimes the craziest ideas actually work. Just be sure to take advantage of that Quiksave utility now that you finally have it.
|Yep, those landscapes look a wee bit prettier.|
21.95 is steep, but what you get for your hard-earned money is a remake of one of the most unique games of the late 90's, and not just any remake, but an awesome remake which I consider better than the original in every possible way, and very likely the best game in the Oddworld franchise. Quiksave is optional, speedrunners are taken into consideration with online leaderboards, and finally the near-impossible Trophies, topped off with a Plat - I think challenge-mongers will eventually come to terms with the game once they see beneath the surface. Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty! is definitely one of the games of the year thus far.
+ A beautifully re-imagined game, as unique and innovative today as it was 17 years ago
+ Crazy, surreal humour
+ Fantastic puzzles
+ Simplified scheme for GameSpeak
- Otherwise, the controls are still a bit bulky
- One too many ways to bend the original game's strict rules
< 9.0 >