Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty – Review
Follow Genre: Platformer
Developer: Just Add Water
Publisher: Microids
Platform: Switch, PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Wii U, Android, iOS
Tested on: Switch

Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty – Review

Site Score
7.0
Good: Holds up surprisingly well given its age
Bad: Feels overpriced for the amount of content
User Score
9.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty!’s title is a bit misleading. There’s nothing new about this particular release, as it is a remake of the classic platformer Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee from 1997. Additionally, New ‘n’ Tasty!’s original release was in 2014, predating the Switch itself. Given that it’s also been released on pretty much every other platform under the sun, including Android, iOS, PS Vita and the Wii U, it’s no surprise that Abe has made the jump onto Nintendo’s hybrid device. The game might not be new, but is it still tasty? 

Story

Being the first entry in what would become the Oddworld franchise, the game tells the story of Abe, a Mudokon slave at the Rupture Farms meat processing plant. An opening cutscene, narrated by Abe himself, explains the game’s premise. As more and more species processed by Rupture Farms become extinct, the Glukkon owners of the plant turn to the Mudokons as a new source of food. When Abe discovers the Glukkons’ plan, he seems himself forced to become the unlikely savior of the Mudokon species. Abe must now escape Rupture Farms, freeing as many Mudokons as he can along the way.

Graphics

Unlike the sprite-based original, New ‘n’ Tasty is rendered in 2.5D. The graphics hold up surprisingly well given that this is a six-year-old game. This is in part due to the cartoonish aesthetic and the alien designs that don’t look like anything in the real world. The Switch version runs at a smooth framerate as well. Of course, we wouldn’t expect a game of this age to push the boundaries of the Switch’s graphical processing power, but it’s still impressive to see how good this game looks, especially in handheld mode. The game also lacks an interface during gameplay. Instead, information is delivered through scrolling wall signs, which is an elegant way of giving instructions that increases immersion and eliminates screen clutter. 

Sound

Sound has always been an important factor in the Oddworld games, and New ‘n’ Tasty! is no different. Abe’s ability to talk to his fellow Mudokons is a key feature and the game implements this by a GameSpeak mechanic. The dialogue is crisp and the Mudokon’s high-pitched but neurotic voices remain hilarious. We did feel that the volume of Abe’s voice was on the low side, especially during the opening cutscene, but that’s a minor nitpick.
As for the music, while presented here in much higher fidelity than it was over 20 years ago, it still tries to stay true to the original. We understand this choice, but it does mean that the soundtrack feels a little dated and could’ve used a little more polish to bring it in line with modern-day expectations. 

Gameplay

If you’ve played the 2014 re-release of this classic 2D platformer, you might not feel it’s worth it to double dip here, but if you’ve only played Abe’s Oddysee, you’ll find plenty of additional content not present in the original game. Players step into the shoes of Abe and must navigate their way through a variety of levels, in order to free both Abe as well as the other Mudokons. The game has two endings, depending on the amount of Mudokons saved. Saving more than half of them will trigger the good ending, but if Abe fails to do so, you get the bad ending of course.

There are 299 Mudokons to rescue, compared to 99 in the original release. Although a fair chunk of them are encountered naturally while navigating the game’s environments, there are also plenty that are hidden in secret areas. In order to save a Mudokon, Abe needs to talk to them and ask them to follow. They’ll subsequently need to be escorted to a bird portal, from where they can escape. Just like Abe, Mudokons are quite weak physically, and although Abe has a couple of tricks up his sleeve, his peers are a bit more susceptible to an untimely death. Getting them to the portal safely can be challenging, especially in later parts of the game. 

Abe himself, is one of the more interesting protagonists to play as. As mentioned, he is very weak physically and cannot go toe to toe with any of the enemies he encounters. What he can do, however, is sneak past them and use his wits as well as his telepathic powers in order to neutralize any threat he runs into. Many of the game’s puzzles involve luring enemies into traps in order to clear the way for Abe and his Mudokon friends. Additionally, Abe can temporarily take control of a Slig guard telepathically. When doing so, you can then use said Slig guard to kill other threats on your path, before Abe takes out the Slig itself by exploding its brain. 

Controlling Sligs is perhaps one of the signature points of interest that made Abe’s Oddysee stand out back in 1997 and over two decades later, it’s still as satisfying to do so as it was back then. Of course, there are limits to what you can do with a Slig. They can’t jump or climb, so the areas you can control them in are limited. Additionally, certain areas prevent you from using this ability by introducing orbs that zap you whenever you attempt to use telepathy. Unfortunately, just like in the original, Abe cannot take control of other enemy types. Dealing with these involves setting up the aforementioned traps or outrunning them with Abe’s trusty steed. Setting up complex traps can be challenging to those new to the game, but it quickly becomes second nature and although figuring out how to get past an obstacle can be a conundrum, once you do figure it out, it’s always fun to see an enemy meet his doom. 

The game’s overall difficulty has been considerably lowered compared to Abe’s Oddysee, with the Hard setting corresponding to the 1997 original. This makes the game more accessible, as Abe’s Oddysee was considered quite a challenge back then, but given that you’re looking at a playtime of roughly 9 hours to complete the campaign, it does feel like New ‘n’ Tasty is overpriced. This becomes even more apparent when you consider that you’re looking at a 6-year-old port of a remake of a game that was originally released two decades ago. 

Conclusion

Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty! holds up surprisingly well given its age. Although faithful to the source material, the addition of two-hundred extra Mudokons adds to the game’s longevity and the ability to change the game’s difficulty makes it more accessible to a mainstream audience. However, the core experience isn’t meaty enough to warrant the price of entry. If you haven’t played through Abe’s story yet, it’s worth giving it a try, but only at a discount.

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Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Sebastiaan Raats
Sebastiaan Raats


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