HD remakes are all the rage this year, and even a beloved PlayStation game has gotten the once over: Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee, which originally came out in 1997 to both critical and financial acclaim. While it is nice to see some old classics get a new face and shine, sometimes the games are too old to configure controls for the gamer of today. Just Add Water did a great job with the transition to high definition. They found a way to keep the magic from the original, while wrapping it in a nice high definition bow for today’s gamers. The story is the same, your name is Abe and you work at a plant that makes tasty snack treats. As you are cleaning the hallway you stumble across a meeting where the board of directors is deciding a new snack treat to make, and they decide to make it out of Abe’s species. Abe decides he is done working here and sets off on a journey throughout the plant to save his fellow workers from this gruesome fate.
Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty! is a straight up platformer, which is good if you are into that sort of thing. If you’re expecting a huge world to explore and multiple endings, you are looking at the wrong game. As Abe you must traverse the plant to save his co-workers, you do this by grabbing their attention, by using the D-pad to say “Hi” and “Follow Me.” Once you get them to follow, you must lead them to a circle of birds, there you chant and they are whisked away by the birds to safety. It’s not that easy to do most of the time, the further you get into the plant the more obstacles you will encounter that will kill you and your following co-workers. You must figure out how to disarm mines, sneak past guards, throw grenades, and kill guards to be successful. The game is somewhat unforgiving in this aspect, for the most part how to play can be learnt by dying over and over. Most of the time if you look in the background there will be instructions on what to do next, but not where or when to do them. You’ll die several times over trying to figure out just how to get that guard to walk into the spinning blades. However, the developers were nice to put many, many checkpoints in the game, so even if you do die multiple times, you won’t have to replay too much of the previous level.
Controls. Controls are the bread and butter for a platformer, they can make it or they can break it. The Mario Brothers would never have been so successful had their controls been sluggish or loose. Oddworld‘s controls are okay, they are nothing to write home about, but they don’t break the game so badly that you regret downloading it. Jumping and manoeuvring is very important in this game, as you attempt to jump before the guard spots you, otherwise you may get shot. Hitting jump isn’t as perfect as it should be and you will find your Jedi patience as you replay parts over and over until you pass them. The aiming also is somewhat sub-par. To throw a grenade you must use the left stick to aim and R1 to throw, while this seems simple it is anything but. The first time I tried to throw a grenade I took too long to aim and it blew me apart. Then once I figured it out, it took me five grenades to kill one guy because they kept bouncing away or did not go where intended. While all of this makes the game a tad more frustrating than it should be, I had to remember that the original was just as hard, if not harder. This is no reason not to buy the game though, when you get to points where you know what you are doing and the controls are on your side, it is a blast. The frustrating parts averaged out much less than the fun, but I felt a caveat was needed.
In HD this game is gorgeous, long gone are the pixels, the long load times and the disc swappage. I was blown away at the remastered cut scene and knew that I was in store for a visual treat. The levels look great, they’re murky, stinky looking and just depress the hell out of you. And that’s perfect, if I was trying to escape from a snack cake plant I would expect it to be a depressing place where none would want to tread. Abe looks great, they have kept him looking stylish like back in 1997 and the enemy models look great as do the co-workers you are saving from a horrible fate. Even though this is a 2D platformer for the most part, the developers made the levels look 3D and you can see things happening in the background that won’t affect Abe. It’s a very nice touch to add depth to the levels so that the player doesn’t get bored saving people.
Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty!, while great to look at, does not have a lot of content. If you have the gumption, you can finish this game one lazy Thursday afternoon and relive some of your childhood memories. I went into the game in the same way I went into last years Ducktales: thinking that it was made to pull the nostalgia heartstrings. It isn’t going to change how you feel about gaming, it isn’t going to open your eyes to platformers but Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty is going to take you back to the 90’s. This game is fun, but there are other titles out there to grab right now that will leave you less aggrivated. I would wait until this is on a flash sale or when it comes to PS+.