Gamers may claim to be sick of remakes, but they keep selling. These remakes serve the purpose of updating past titles and allowing new people to experience them for the first time. The latest remake to hit Xbox One is Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty!, a remake of 1997's Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee. Has time passed Oddworld by or is it still an enjoyable experience worth checking out?
New 'n' Tasty tells the tale of Abe, a Mudokon slave, who is enslaved at a meat processing factory as a janitor. After accidentally discovering that the next meat the company will be using is Mudokons, Abe decides to escape and free his people from certain demise. The only problem here is that Abe is a bit of a klutz, so trial and error will be a key component in solving the game's many puzzles.
The game is set up as a series of connected rooms, each having their own puzzles that Abe will have to solve. These puzzles range from timing based activities such as defusing explosives, pulling levers to trigger events, and outsmarting enemies. While Abe doesn't have a weapon, he can pick up items (such as meat and grenades) that can help him defeat his enemies. Abe can also chant and use mind-control to take over an enemy, but this ability is often limited in areas due to anti-chant devices being placed throughout the world.
Oddworld also includes a feature called GameSpeak which allows Abe to communicate to other Mudokons and to speak secret passwords by whistling. Also a part of GameSpeak is a designated fart button which can induce flatulence at any time. We would be lying if we didn't find this endlessly amusing. Farting is mainly used to end passwords, but it can also be used to make a tense situation into a hilarious one. At least until you realize that you just alerted a guard because you wanted to hear Abe fart.
This leads us to another iconic part of Oddworld, its sense of humor. New 'n Tasty will make you laugh out loud in spots, as it is genuinely hilarious. The voice acting, which is mainly done by series creator Lorne Lanning, is very well done and the game even features a cameo by the voice of Solid Snake himself, David Hayter. Just exploring Oddworld is an interesting experience and this remake really is the perfect way to re-introduce a series that hasn't had a new installment since 2005.
This isn't just a bare-bones remake though, as several enhancements have been added to the game. The most exciting change is the addition of quick saving which helps take the sting away from the game's original save system that was dependent on checkpoints. Quick saving makes the game much more forgiving, although the original difficulty is still there if you want a challenge. The other big addition is online leaderboards which makes the game much more rewarding to speedrun. Players can also compare how many Mudokons they saved compared to their friends.
Graphically, Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty was built from the ground-up using the Unity engine and looks absolutely gorgeous. Abe's Oddysee has been lovingly recreated and developer Just Add Water should be commended for doing such a great job in remaking an iconic title.
While fans of the original will be glad to hear that it still mostly plays like it was 1997, it may be rough for some newcomers to get used to the game. Abe's movement will take a while for first-time players to get used to as it is very deliberate and has a weight to it that most platformers lack. The trial and error gameplay might also rub some players the wrong way as they will encounter death hundreds of times before finishing up. Quick saving helps soften the blow by quite a bit, but the death animations take a few seconds so there will be a lot of waiting before the player can reload.
New 'n' Tasty forces the player to earn every victory. Due to its high difficulty, the game feels so rewarding when you finally finish a room after twenty tries. Once the player is able to understand the title's mechanics, they might even see their improving skill in action and finish rooms on their first try. This is incredibly satisfying and few games in 2015 can elicit this feeling.
Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty definitely shows its age in spots, but it is absolutely the best way to experience the first Oddworld game. While the learning curve is still relatively steep, new additions such as quick saving make a huge difference in making the game more accessible to newcomers. Whether you want to play a platformer that will make you think or just want to experience a piece of gaming history, New 'n' Tasty should satisfy your cravings.