Developer(s) – Just Add Water
Publisher(s) – Oddworld Inhabitants
Director(s) – Stewart Gilray & Lorne Lanning
PEGI – 12
Back around when the original PlayStation was first released, and in competition with the likes of the Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn, and the Atari Jaguar, the traditional 2D side-scrolling style of gameplay was being fazed out fast to make way for 3D open-world games, which were taking precedent equally as fast. In spite of this, however, there were a handful of games released in the 2D side-scrolling genre throughout the fifth generation, including Yoshi’s Story, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and the first games in the Oddworld series; Abe’s Odyssey and Abe’s Exodus. Oddworld: New N’ Tasty basically takes Abe’s Odyssey, and gives it a fresh coat of paint as well as a slightly different perspective on gameplay, making the scenery seem less linear in turn. The gameplay stays completely true to the great amount of variety the original had to offer, and I would thoroughly recommend the remake.
Graphics – 8/10
As I said, aside from being given a complete makeover in terms of visuals, the game also seems a lot more visually diverse than the original incarnation of Abe’s Odyssey, with backdrops being a lot more visible than the latter, and with the inevitable inclusion of enhanced details in form of more in-depth textures (particularly on Abe and his race, the Mudokens), and more effective use of the contrasts between light and darkness, which in turn add even more to the game’s already dark and gritty atmosphere.
Gameplay – 8/10
Differing from the many different 2D side scrollers released both during the fifth generation, and of today, New N’ Tasty stayed true to not only the intense puzzle-solving element, but also to the significance of the game’s one side quest; to rescue as many of the other Mudokens as possible, or kill as many as possible to unlock either one of the multiple endings; one of the first games I ever played to have ever included multiple endings as well as elements of the 2.5D side-scrolling genre.
Controls – 10/10
Unlike many other video games released early in the PlayStation’s shelf life, there were next to no issues with the control scheme, and there are even fewer in New N’ Tasty. Though it may not seem as impressive in comparison to the original game, I’m thankful that no new issues have arisen, and that the developers haven’t made any silly mistakes.
Lifespan – 6/10
Unfortunately, however, the lifespan remains around the same as the original game, clocking up at about 3 to 4 hours. Though this isn’t unforgivable, and fairly long for a game of its kind, I think it would have been a plus for the developers to have added a little bit more in terms of gameplay. In my opinion, the ideal solution would have been to bundle Abe’s Odyssey and Abe’s Exodus, complete with the same huge lick of paint, but nevertheless, it is an entertaining game for the time it lasts.
Storyline – 8/10
The majority of the original game’s surrealism stemmed from its different and unusual cast of characters, premise, and story. In New N’ Tasty, it is retold with all of its wonderful weirdness kept intact. It follows the story of Abe, a member of a humanoid-amphibian race called the Mudoken, who is a slave alongside his fellow people at the biggest meat processing plant in all of Oddworld; Rupture Farms. One night, when Abe is working late, he stumbles upon a board meeting, highlighting how the company’s profits are plummeting, and executives pondering the solution. Abe is horrified to learn of Rupture Farms’ plan to use Mudoken meat in the production of their latest product; New N’ Tasty. Abe immediately resolves to escape Rupture Farms, while in the process, saving as many of his people as possible. With multiple endings and plenty of twists and turns throughout, it is indeed one of the most unique stories ever told in a game and stands out among a plethora of others.
Originality – 8/10
Although many 2D side scrollers had been developed, and the be-all and end-all of such are considered to this day to be Super Mario Bros (and rightfully so), the Oddworld series delivered a new perspective on the formula, so to speak, and New N’ Tasty expands on that new perspective. It gives me hope for the future since I believe there is quite a lot that could be done with the characters and gameplay premise, but this game (then and now) is an excellent starting point in my opinion.
Overall, Oddworld: New N’ Tasty does an excellent job of bringing Abe’s Odyssey to a new audience, and is hopefully a sign that the series will continue past this point. It’s been languishing in video game obscurity for far too long in my opinion, and hopefully, this formula can be improved on for a possible sequel and beyond.