The Oddworld franchise has certainly had its ups and downs over the years. I can still recall when it was one of the staples of the PlayStation brand back on the original system. The concept wasn’t original, but the world and characters that Lorne Lanning created certainly were. Since then though, the series has tried new ideas, and even new genres to rekindle the magic that made it memorable in the first place. New ‘n’ Tasty doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, but instead re-skins the original game with HD visuals, and slicker controls. For those of us who remember Abe’s original odyssee it feels good to dive back in; for those that never had a chance to experience it, this is a great place to get started.
New ‘n’ Tasty is a side-scrolling platform puzzle game that focuses on dictated movement, patience, and plenty of trial and error. One of the things added to this HD iteration that I absolutely adore is quick save/load. By simply tapping the touchpad I could save anywhere I wanted. In correlation I could hold it down to quickly load my last save. It is brilliant for a game that relies on chance. I was never afraid to take a risk on a puzzle, and getting back into the action was quick and painless – a must for a game where dying and doing a part over repeatedly is necessary.
Price I’d pay: $20
The Oddworld games have always been known for their humor, and New ‘n’ Tasty is no exception. Sure, it may be juvenile to laugh at flatulence, but when Abe does it, it is still somehow endearing. The dialogue is minimal, and mostly consists of monosyllabic grunts, but there is still more personality here than some story-driven games. It speaks volumes when a developer is able to convey that much through simple gestures and animations. I felt sorry for Mudokans I could not save, and even more excited for the ones I did.
All of this looks amazing as well. The new HD visuals really shine on the PS4, giving the game that unique look I remember, while bringing with it new camera angles, animations, and just more personality to the world. Abe also has a host of new tricks to make things easier along the way. He now has bottlecaps that can be used to distract guards. Checkpoints are much more frequent, and the aforementioned new camera angles give better awareness to the levels. This feels like the game it was meant to be back in 1997, no longer constrained by technology.
New ‘n’ Tasty doesn’t come without blemishes though. While the quick save/load function is handy, it also got me into some looping deaths from time to time. I found myself abusing it in some areas, only to realize there was no way to get out of the situation. This wasn’t a regular occurrence, but when it did happen, losing all that progress was a monster pain.
There are also ads splattered all over Rupture Farms showcasing other indie games. While I appreciate the camaraderie that developers seem to have, seeing ads displaying humans in a world sans them feels a little out of place.
The biggest problem I had though was the price. Serving up niche title like this is great for nostalgia, especially with someone like me who loved Oddysee and Exodus on the PSOne, but $30 is still a bit steep even for me. I don’t think that it isn’t a fair price for the meaty adventure delivered here, but by comparison it isn’t going to sit well with consumers used to paying no more than $15-$20 for a download-only game.
Even with these downsides I cannot recommend New ‘n’ Tasty enough. There are not enough games of this type on the market these days, especially ones of this quality. Anyone who enjoys puzzle games owes it to themselves to check out this series. The Oddworld games hold a special place in my heart, and are definitely some of the most charming titles from a forgotten genre.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.