By Kevin Kennedy
New ‘n’ Tasty! Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee is a remake of the PS1 Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee game, originally released in 1997. New ‘n’ Tasty is available now for PS4, and coming soon to pretty much every other major system later in 2014. The game follows a Mudokon named Abe, formerly an employee at Rupture Farms, makers of meat pies filled with endangered or extinct animals. In the game’s opening scene, Abe is imprisoned, but flashes back to when he found out that his people were going to be “New ‘n’ Tasty,” Rupture Farm’s newest product. After this, Abe begins his escape and takes his first steps towards freeing his people.
As a kid, I remember finding this game fun but frustrating. I have memories of both laughing with glee and screaming in frustration. When I got the chance to review this remake, I was excited to see how it stood up to my memories. I wondered if the game was truly as clever and inventive as I remembered, or if the occasional gore and frequent fart jokes were all I liked as a thirteen year old.
The first thing I noticed about New ‘n’ Tasty is the updated graphics. They look crisp and vibrant, and the character of each species shines through as you play. The Mudokons seem passive and a little pathetic, the gun toting Sligs seem arrogant and dumb, and the dog-like Scrabs seem imposing and more than a little scary. One of the strengths of this game was always the unique species within the game world, and now they shine. The levels also now feature 2.5D graphics, and feel much more alive than they did in the old game. In addition to the graphics, a handful of other features have been added, such as an expanded vocabulary for Abe and his buddies, and online leaderboards.
As I played the game, which is a combination action/platformer and puzzle game, it became clear how much other games have borrowed from Abe since his 1997 release. I can see echoes of tricky Mario platforming from recent games in Abe’s quest, and I can understand why the young me found this game frustrating. Sometimes, it’s not clear how to complete an objective without dying, while other times its just a matter of running and jumping perfectly. That said, this remake has clearly refined its controls for the Dualshock, as platforming seems much more responsive. While I occasionally felt frustrated playing this game, I never felt like a solution was impossible.
Overall, this game shines and I can say that as an adult it’s a fun and challenging experience. If you don’t mind feeling like a fool, and occasionally dying a lot, pick it up and give it a try. Abe’s Odysee has influenced game makers since 1997, and New ‘n’ Tasty serves as both a fun bit of nostalgia and a great game in its own right.