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Published on August 6th, 2014 | by Chris Scott

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Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty Review

Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty Review Chris Scott

Summary: Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty! is a modern remake of that original Playstation experience. I still don't get it.

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A friend I grew up with fell in love with Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey on the original Playstation. For a few months straight, every time I went over to his house he would boot it up for us to play. Despite loving platformers, I never understood his love of the game. The world the game was set in was unique and interesting, but the gameplay was brutally hard with awkward, imprecise controls, making for a gaming experience that was less than fun.

Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty! is a modern remake of that original Playstation experience. The update boasts adjustable difficulty, improved controls, and beautiful modern visuals. Yet, even with these adjustments to the original game, I still do not understand the cult love for the game.

Oddworld is an intriguing place, depressingly dark but with a dose of whimsy that keeps the tempo light. New ‘n’ Tasty! starts off with Abe, a first-class floor waxer (and currently Employee of the Year) at Rupture Farms, a major meat-processing plant, discovering that his odd little race (Mudokon) is next on the menu. Players will control Abe as he flees the processing plant and escapes out into the wilds of Oddworld to learn his destiny and mount an effort to save the Mudokon while taking down the evil corporation. This initial escape area introduces players to many of the gameplay mechanics to be used throughout New ‘n’ Tasty!

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New ‘n’ Tasty! is a puzzle platformer. Sometimes areas will be heavy on puzzles, like figuring out how to flip a switch surrounded by mines. Sometimes areas will be heavy on platforming, like having to time jumps on a run across a treacherously laid out bridge. And sometimes areas will be a healthy mix of both, although much less often than the other two. The game shines whenever puzzles are in play. The level design in these areas is fantastic, with challenging puzzles that require some thought to actually push past. Unfortunately, everything falls apart whenever the game relies on platforming as its main gameplay function. While many of the controls feel better in this version, New ‘n’ Tasty! retains the imprecision of the original game making platform-heavy sectors seem like more of a crapshoot than a test of gaming skill.

When I play a Super Mario game and I press the jump button, Mario jumps. He jumps every time I press the jump button at the exact same time. When I press the jump button in New ‘n’ Tasty!, Abe will jump sometimes. Other times he will slide off a ledge to his doom or run into a wall to be shot at or eaten alive. At first I thought this might be caused by a particular set of physics rules that I just wasn’t grasping (like Little Big Planet for some people), so I tested out pressing the button earlier to account for a delayed  on-screen jump. The results were still sporadic. Next I thought that my controller might be having input lag effecting the gameplay in but after some experiments in other games, I didn’t notice anything there.  I’ve come to the conclusion that the platforming in New ‘n’ Tasty is just frustratingly imprecise. With jump button presses not always registering correctly and Abe being a rather slippery character to begin with, I found the platforming in New ‘N’ Tasty to be an experience that angered me, actively pushing me away from the great stuff I liked about the game.

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I feel bad saying this because I do enjoy the setting, story, and strong puzzle design, but I just don’t like New ‘n’ Tasty!. I got to a point in the game where I felt I was playing it just for this review, going through the motions and not enjoying it at all. That was when I quit. My issues with this remake’s platforming are the exact same ones I had with the original game on the Playstation. I guess I am an outlier, but I didn’t enjoy it then and I don’t enjoy it now. If you liked it when it came out 17 years ago, this is the same game with a shiny new coat of paint and you will love it. I, on the other hand, will continue to be confused by it all.

Note: This review was written with material received from the publisher. For more on our review process, please read here.

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