Review – Oddworld: New ‘N’ Tasty! (Switch)
Oddworld: New ‘N’ Tasty! is a ground-up remake of the original game that started it all, Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee, which first graced our consoles back in 1997. Oddworld: New ‘N’ Tasty! was first released back in 2014, but has now finally made it to the Switch. I didn’t play New ‘N’ Tasty! back when it first came out, but I did play Abe’s Oddysee back when it first launched and quite enjoyed it. Now that it’s made its way to the Switch, I figured it would be the perfect time to try out this updated classic.
The story in Oddworld: New ‘N’ Tasty! is exactly the same as in Abe’s Oddysee. You play as Abe, a Mudokon grunt worker for the Rupture Farms meatpacking plant. While waxing the floors one night, he overhears his boss, Molluck the Glukkon, announcing his plans to turn all of the Mudokons into Tasty Treats as a last ditch effort to save the failing plant. Now it’s up to Abe to escape the facility and save all two hundred ninety-nine of his fellow Mudokons.
While Abe’s Oddysee was a 2D side-scrolling puzzle-platformer, Oddworld: New ‘N’ Tasty! has been upgraded to a 2.5D puzzle-platformer. The graphics have had a serious overhaul and a lot of care went in to rebuilding this world from the ground up. The visuals are sharper, more dynamic, and have some great lighting effects. However, the cutscenes still look like something from the PS3 era. This is a little disappointing considering all of the story elements are delivered through the cutscenes and seeing the sharp contrast in visual quality can be distracting.
Supposedly, the controls have been enhanced as well, but I’ll be honest, they’re still horrible. Abe can’t fight or defend himself, but he can run, jump, roll, throw things, speak to fellow Mudokons, and possess Sligs. This is where the puzzle aspect comes into play. Since he’s relatively defenseless, you’ll have to figure out how to get him safely from point A to point B, while trying to rescue as many Mudokons as possible.
The problem is that the controls still feel like an early PS2 game. The jumps are weighty and completely unreliable. Most of your deaths will come from the game not registering a jump, or over or undershooting them. It’s incredibly frustrating. Plus when you roll, it takes a moment to build up speed, but then you’ll be flying almost recklessly into enemy or bomb filled terrains. It can be very tough to move with the finesse needed to get through certain sections. Add in the fact that there’s often times a momentary input delay and you’ve got a recipe for inducing rage quitting.
Oddworld: New ‘N’ Tasty! does offer several new features from Abe’s Oddysee. They’ve added GameSpeak, which allows Abe more communication options with his friends. However, this is mainly comprised of various whistles and farts. It’s a cute idea at first, but grows tedious before too long. There are also more random generators featured here. This means that Sligs have randomly generated AI and some flying mines also have random flight patterns. Naturally, this means that the game is even harder to get through because you can’t always memorize where to avoid the dangers.
There are new difficulty modes, with the Hard mode being equivalent to the original state of the game. The Easy and Normal modes seem to only adjust Abe’s ability to withstand a couple hits and slightly reduce enemy reaction times. Even on Easy, it’s still a very difficult game, so be prepared to die often.
On the bright side, more save points have been added and they’ve integrated a Quicksave option. They’ve also added a Co-op mode, although this only allows people to take turns playing from other controllers once someone has died. However, this can provide some much needed respite from the more difficult platforming sections. Plus it’s always fun to be able to laugh at your friend’s misery together as a group.
The soundtrack and audio has been redone, being sharper and richer than before. The sounds from the various creatures as well as the ambient noises really help to capture the feel of an alien world. The soundtrack is good, although not all songs are particularly memorable. Each tune does manage to fit its corresponding area well, however. There’s just the right mix of zaniness to the melodies, which is an Oddworld staple.
I’m beginning to realize that the fondness I had for the Oddworld games is dissipating over time. While I still enjoy the characters, quirkiness, and dark satirical elements, the gameplay still bogs down the experience. After playing a newer platformer like Horace, with its incredibly tough yet fair controls, playing a game with the old school weighty feel just isn’t fun. Especially when you consider the unreliable and touchy gameplay mechanics.
All Oddworld: New ‘N’ Tasty! managed to do was frustrate me. However, it did make me appreciate the controls in Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee more. Honestly, if you’re new to the franchise, it might even be better to just skip ahead to Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath. At least those gameplay mechanics feel like something more from this era. That being said, if you’re a die hard fan of Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee or perhaps just a glutton for punishment, then perhaps try your luck with Oddworld: New ‘N’ Tasty!.
The graphics have had a huge overhaul from the original version. They are sharper, more dynamic, and have some great lighting effects. The cutscenes still look like something from the PS3 era, though.
This game is a 2.5D side-scrolling puzzle-platformer. While the controls have been greatly improved from the original, they’re still incredibly frustrating at times.
The sound effects are very well done. The various Mudokon speak and all the ambient sounds are charming and clear. Each song in the soundtrack fits each section well, although some tunes aren’t entirely memorable.
This is a beautiful remake of the original game that started it all. However, even though the controls have been upgraded, they’re still aggravating as hell. It’s hard to enjoy the story when you constantly want to rage quit.
Final Verdict: 6.0
Oddworld: New ‘N’ Tasty! is available now on PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, iOS, Android, Wii U, and Switch.
Reviewed on Switch.
A copy of Oddworld: New ‘N’ Tasty! was provided by the publisher.