I’m sure a LOT of PlayStation owners out there have fond memories of Abe’s Oddysee, whether it was by playing through the whole adventure itself when it launched back in 1997, trying it out via the infamous ‘Demo One’ that came bundled with the console, or simply by playing around with the GameSpeak feature to make Abe say weird things and… uh… fart.
Either way, the puzzle-platformer had its fair share of fans in the 90s and rightfully so. Back in 2014, it received a remake in the form of Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty, which didn’t just bring the game up to modern spec as far as the visuals were concerned but also reinvigorated the gameplay mechanics to make them more user-friendly seventeen years on from its initial release. It proved a hit with gamers and, six years on from that (wow, time flies), it has now brought its Mudokon-liberating antics over to the Nintendo Switch too.
Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty takes place within Rupture Farms, a desolate and horrifying food factory where little green folk known as the Mudokons are imprisoned and forced to work by a ruthless and greedy race known as the Glukkons. Players take on the role of the Mudokon Abe who overhears a board meeting where they discuss the next food product that the company is going to release. It’s nice to be in the know, huh?
Well, unfortunately for Abe, it turns out that the core ingredient of that new product is tasty Mudokon meat. Thus, he decides to make a run for it and try to escape from Rupture Farms and save his skin (literally), but not without rescuing some of his brethren along the way…
This means heading on a platforming escapade across an array of hazardous locales, all whilst solving tricky little enigmas to ensure that you rescue as many Mudokons as possible and use their assistance to help you get past any obstacles that are in your path. This your first time experiencing the game? Honestly, you’re in for something special.
First-and-foremost, you need to ensure that your platforming skills are up to snuff in Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty, with the tricky set-pieces you find yourself facing demanding both speed and precision in order to survive. You can expect to run, jump, sneak, and roll your way through countless 2.5D locales that bring with them perilous falls to your death, countless mines to blow you to smithereens, and a myriad of enemies that have all sorts of tricks up their sleeves to bring you down. Whilst it has an almost cutesy appearance with its sweet looking Mudokons, Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty is actually pretty ruthless, with body parts flying everywhere if you or your enemies make a wrong move.
Fortunately, Abe also has a few tricks up his sleeve that can help him out in these tricky situations. For one, he’s able to speak with his fellow Mudokons via the game’s GameSpeak commands. Pressing certain buttons allows you to issue a variety of commands, whether it’s a simple ‘hello’ to grab someone’s attention, a ‘follow me’ to have them follow you (duh), or a ‘wait’ to stop them in their tracks. Utilising GameSpeak efficiently isn’t only vital to progressing through the game, but it can also make a difference as to how many Mudokons you save throughout the game – there are two-hundred-and-ninety-nine to rescue in total, with the ending of the game changing based upon how successful you are…
Another one of Abe’s abilities sees him chanting in order to take over the minds of the enemies lurking across each area. Using enemies is, again, vital to progress through the game, with each offering different capabilities that you wouldn’t normally be able to perform. Group of enemies in your path? Take over a Slig and have him shoot away at them. Want to take out some mines? Take over a Scrab and sacrifice its weird arm-less body to clear the way. Of course, you can’t use your mind-control ability whenever you please thanks to the occasional security bot that’ll zap you or enemy that’ll take you out mid-chant, but its use does make for some of the more exciting moments in-game.
Every element of Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty comes together nicely to make for a thoroughly entertaining experience, with all aspects of the puzzling and platforming still holding up well twenty-three years on from Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee’s initial release. It brings with it a fair amount of challenge too, but nothing that some clever thinking and slick platforming prowess isn’t able to overcome. Admittedly, it could be argued that the controls can be a little fiddly in the moments where it demands absolute precision, but never to the point where it feels frustrating. There’s simply no denying that Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty feels excellent to play and offers enough variety and challenge throughout to keep players hooked in until they reach the conclusion of Abe’s journey.
How does the Nintendo Switch port hold up though? Well, I’m happy to report that it looks and plays great throughout, with the game’s visuals looking sharp on both the Nintendo Switch’s handheld and docked modes. I’m a big fan of the game’s 2.5D visuals and I’ve always been fascinated by the wacky sights on Oddworld itself, and honestly, it all looks as good here as it does on other platforms.
Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty feels as fun to play now as it did in 2014, with the excellent platform-puzzling escapade proving to be as thrilling as ever. It really manages to look the part too, with the riveting landscapes and its kooky inhabitants still as wonderful now as they were when players were first introduced to them twenty-three years ago. Plus, you can make Abe fart with a simple button press… what more could you want?
It could be argued that the controls are a little fiddly in places, but in all the Nintendo Switch offers another wonderful way to experience Abe’s thrilling adventure to rescue his species all over again.
Developer: Oddworld Inhabitants, Just Add Water
Publisher: Oddworld Inhabitants
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC