(PlayStation 4)

Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty (PlayStation 4)

Game Review

Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Mat Growcott

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Everybody played Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee back in the day. Although the game was available on just about everything, the title’s four-fingered Mudokon was at one point just as recognisable as fellow multiformat PlayStation mascots like Lara Croft. The challenging puzzles and striking design pulled people in, while the clever, thinly veiled message on environmentalism hit its mark without feeling like you were being slapped across the face every five minutes. Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty revisits Abe’s first adventure, offering the same great experience overhauled to meet the standards that we’ve come to expect from a 21st century platformer. And yes, that includes a whole host of different fart noises – truly the new generation is upon us.

Abe’s Oddysee was one of a whole host of ‘cinematic’ platformers that hit in the early-to-mid-90s, following in the footsteps of Flashback and Prince of Persia. You’d travel from screen to screen, dodging obstacles and exploring large environments, all the time overcoming harder and harder environmental puzzles. The title’s impressive graphics made it stand out at the time, as well as its use of GameSpeak, a system that allowed you to actually talk with the captive Mudokons. The conversations never progressed beyond flatulence, of course, but people were simpler in those days – that’s how 95 per cent of our friendships started anyway.

Things have evolved in the last twenty years, and Just Add Water has approached this remake with the attitude of preserving the heart of the original title without being afraid of ditching what didn’t work. The end result is an Oddysee that’s perfect for the PlayStation 4, and one that doesn’t feel dated or out of place alongside more modern platformers. For example, you no longer have to move through static screens, as the camera moves along with you, instantly improving many of the challenges of the original game. Moreover, some of the additions from Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus have been utilised as well, most notably the ability to lead several Mudokons at once.

For fans of the original desperate to know whether they should risk a blow to their nostalgia with this enhanced outing, there’s really no need to worry. With very few exceptions, this version embellishes rather than changes; it fixes old problems instead of building from scratch. It’s the game as it would have been had the technology been available at the time, with no gimmicks or modern day ideas shoehorned in for the sake of it.

As a result, this definitely manages to hold up to the legacy left by its PSone predecessor, but it’s fantastic in its own right as well. The level design is spot on; whether you’re in an ancient temple or deep in the heart of a soulless factory, the stages have been created in such a way that it all feels part of the living, breathing Oddworld – a key point when you consider the environmental themes behind the plot.

On top of the design, the actual graphics are beyond nice as well, with poisonous green fumes and neon lights filling each factory, while pure sunlight flits through gaps in foliage when you’re away from the more industrialised areas that once imprisoned the poor protagonist. Backgrounds are stunningly detailed, too, showing sea vistas, endless steel cages, or lines of dead Mudokons.

The main story won’t take you overly long to finish, but tougher optional challenges are sprinkled throughout, many of which are so hard that you’ll actually come to hate the various minions of Rupture Farms almost as much as Abe does. The plot itself involves the aforementioned former slave escaping his evil overlords after discovering that he and his people are about to become the main ingredient in a (probably yummy) new snack. The extra stages give you a chance to free as many of the hideous hero’s old buddies as you can – although killing them in violent ways is just as much fun as rescuing them.

If you’re worried that the uber-hard challenges won’t be a match for your mega-awesome platforming brain, then you’ll be happy to know that you’re going to have to earn this game’s Platinum Trophy. There’s a Gold trinket for freeing all 300 Mudokons on the hardest difficulty level, a feat which requires perfect timing, a lot of patience, and an awareness of where all of the little critters are hiding. And then there’s another Gold gong for rescuing them all in three hours or less. As a consequence, this isn’t going to be a game that you’re going to feel finished with in a matter of hours – even if you can complete the core campaign fairly quickly.

You’ll want to keep coming back for more than the virtual rewards as well, as the characters that you encounter maintain the Oddworld property’s penchant for intriguing personalities. Everyone (or everything) that you meet has been designed to make you smile; from the way that the Slig guards walk around, their bulldog gait like the stereotypical security guard, to the way that Abe reacts when you make him walk into a wall, it all oozes charm. It shouldn’t be hilarious ‘accidentally’ allowing a Mudokon to career like a coward towards its death, but the sound effects make it so. This is a world that you’ll want to prod and poke just to see how it reacts.

And that’s not just down to the presentation. Overcoming difficult sections and even following Abe through to the story’s conclusion is immensely enjoyable, mostly because the protagonist is the ultimate underdog and watching him go up against all, er, odds is always entertaining. That said, there are a few things that may prevent it from being everybody’s cup of SoulStorm Brew. The controls have definitely been improved over the PSone version of the game, but the hero still feels a little heavy, taking a significant span of time to jump once you’ve hit the button. This issue is particularly problematic in the bonus stages, where you need both incredible accuracy and timing, but it doesn’t feel like the controllable character is necessarily on your side.

On top of that, the PS4 version of the game comes loaded with its fair share of glitches and crashes, including a few that shut the game down and force you back to the home screen. The auto-save works well enough that you’ll never lose any progress – and you can always quick save using the touchpad if you’ve completed a particularly hard section with no checkpoint – but there’s no easy workaround for the screen suddenly turning pitch black or certain sounds cutting out randomly. No doubt a patch will be issued that fixes everything, but for the time being know that you’ll almost certainly see these problems.

Conclusion

Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty is everything that you could hope for from a remake: old issues have been resolved, the levels now flow much more naturally, and the world has never looked better. It does run into a few niggling problems along the way, but this is the beginning of a brand new Oddworld – and that’s a prospect that becomes increasingly exciting with every Mudokon mutilated.

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User Comments (15)

ShogunRokAdmin

#1

ShogunRok said:

The original game was incredibly atmospheric and wonderfully weird. I always loved taking control of animals like the Scrabs and killing everything I came across. Good to hear the this remake lives up to the strangeness!

Davros79

#2

Davros79 said:

Entwined 9/10

Oddworld new n tasty 8/10

Hmmmm ok They're different games, but something is not right here!!!

DHW

#3

DHW said:

This is such a good game. I never really got a chance to play the original so it's all new to me and it's awesome!

N711

#8

N711 said:

@Ridwaano Yea I know lol
I mean I want to play it on Vita :)
besides I wonder if it ll be cheaper by then, not sure how that works

Davros79

#10

Davros79 said:

@get2sammyb Or perhaps Different review systems LOL. I think some people were blinded by the fact that disgustingly mediocre Entwined, was bizarrely championed by sony at the beginning of their E3 press conference !

odd69

#11

odd69 said:

I sound like i may be against reviews but i find them extremely helpful, i just try to ignore the whole "numbers" rating system. I just wanted to throw that in. And everything sammy just stated IS politics

Davros79

#12

Davros79 said:

Push square

Entwined 9/10

Oddworld new n tasty 8/10

Metacritic

Entwined 60/100

Oddworld new n tasty 89/100

MatGrowcottStaff

#13

MatGrowcott said:

@Davros79 To be fair, the Oddworld score is that low because of the glitches - something I've not seen mentioned in a single other glowing review.

I don't know about Entwined - I haven't played it - but our score would have been far closer to the average with Oddworld had the bugs been less an issue. Remember that Push Square only uses a 10 point system as well, whereas many other sites would have perhaps scored this game an equivalent to 85 at Metacritic.

Either way, 8 is an awesome score though.

WARDIE

#15

WARDIE said:

I absolutely loved the original games as my girlfriend and I would play them for hours on end. I've been waiting for a remake or a brand new iteration for years now. Me and a few friends are going to be starting a brand new show on YouTube that will be reviewing games, movies, music and devices like mobile (cell) phones, Tablets and gaming systems. When a new game or device is released we will be making sure that it will be reviewed by more than one person and not just by a person who loves that game or device. In terms of games it will be reviewed by one person who really enjoys that genre and another person who isn't a massive fan and then we'll take the average score from both reviews. We also agree that something needs to be done about the scoring system itself as these days anything less than a 7 out of 10 is considered a game not worth investing in. We believe this is wrong as we feel a 1 out of 10 should be considered as a avoid at all costs. A 5 out of 10 should be an average but fun game and a 10 out of 10 should be a, stop what you're doing and go picks this up. Although 10/10's are debatable as no game is perfect and always has some room for improvement. We also understand that a scoring system should be used as a quick reference guide only and a full in depth non bias review is what gamers want. Back on topic though I really hope that the devs, J,A,W do well off this game for themselves but also from a selfish stand point so they can bring us sequels. As and old school gamer I love platform games as they seem to be the most addictive games these days. I do also love big budget FPS, TPS and Adventure games but remade old school classics like Oddworld hold a special place im my gaming heart. Also wanna say I agreed with this review for the most part.

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