A classic game remake.
Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee – New ‘n’ Tasty, developed by Just Add Water, is exactly what the title says, a new ‘n’ tasty version of the classic game from 1997, Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee. There were several games in the Oddworld series, but Abe’s Oddysee was the first, the game that spawned them all, and this is the game which is now being presented to a brand new audience on the Xbox One, whilst also being available on the PS4 and PC. Of course, there will still be plenty of nostalgia for the older gamers out there as well…
The story is quite enjoyable. You get to control Abe, a slave who works in a meat factory. Unfortunately, he discovers that his boss’s have a secret plan to basically turn the entire slave population into the latest line of meaty snacks. Hunted by guards, Abe has to now escape the meat factory, whilst saving as many of his fellow slaves as he possibly can.
When it comes to gameplay, New ‘n’ Tasty is a puzzle platformer and will see the player traveling from one screen to another, overcoming the various traps and spiky objects whilst avoiding the guards and other creatures that will do Abe harm. Along the way, there will be all manner of jumping from one platform to another, many with failure resulting in some sort of grinding and death. As a fairly harmless being, Abe will have to rely on his ability to sneak in order to make it past sleeping guards, or simply lure potential enemies into one of the numerous traps.
But Abe is not completely helpless, he has a chanting ability which is used to great effect through the game. Abe is able to chant and possess certain enemies, causing them to turn on other enemies or quite efficiently walk into a trap. The chanting also has various other uses as the game progresses, making it Abe’s most important ability.
The puzzles are tricky in New ‘n’ Tasty, and the platforming sections are just as difficult, in part due to the janky movement of Abe himself. Precision is often needed, but Abe is not really very precise in his movement, leading to many moments of frustration as Abe once again fails a jump or moves accidentally into a trap. However, in many ways this is keeping with the feeling of the original game. Players will have to overcome these awkward moments and, when they do, they will get a great sense of accomplishment. The fact that many of the puzzles and more precise jumping moments have been tweaked to be a little easier really shows how difficult games could be back in 1997.
There is also the optional additional difficulty of saving your fellow slaves. As Abe comes across them during his journey, he can issue simple commands to have them follow him, or stay still if there is a threat nearby, and guide them to portals and safety. There are plenty of other slaves to save in the game, and the number saved decides which ending the player will get. Of course, there is also the option to send the other slaves to their deaths by leading them into enemies or traps. It really depends on what kind of person you are…
Rather than just being a simple upgraded port of the original game, New ‘n’ Tasty has been completely rebuilt, from the ground up, and it really shows. The original game was surprisingly good looking on the PSOne, but this new version on the Xbox One really brings the game up to date. Additional detail and polish has been added everywhere, and the camera now moves around and zooms, revealing detail which could not have been seen before. It really is stunning to watch.
Other improvements over the original, aside from the visuals and the slight lowering of the difficulty, include the likes of more checkpoints for players to restart from, should they make a mistake, and the inclusion of a quicksave option. The controls have been remapped to the controller, making for a more familiar layout, but the original controls are also available for those basking in nostalgia.
All in all, New ‘n’ Tasty is a great remake of a great game. The fact that it is as enjoyable now as it was way back when shows just how ageless Abe’s Oddysee really is. However, the improvements to both how the game plays and the way it looks means that new players will be able to enjoy the puzzle platforming action without having to live through the retro vibe. For new players, this is a shiny new piece of history. For the veterans who were playing games when Abe’s Oddysee originally came out, it is a memorable journey that needn’t suffer from the fog of time. Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee – New ‘n’ Tasty is a step back in time with all the bells and whistles of the modern platforms.