Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee is considered by many to be one of the timeless classics of video games. It’s one of the rare games that has a deep, meaningful message that is able to resonate with many players, without being overly preachy or condescending. It’s a game about returning to traditions, while fighting off a vast consumer based culture that values profit above all else, yet is able to remain grounded with a unique sense of humor. However, since Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath, there has not been a truly “new” addition to the Oddworld franchise. Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty is a clear attempt to see exactly where the Oddworld franchise stands and is a testament to just how well Abe’s Oddysee stands up today.
Abe is the quintessential everyman. He works as, essentially, a slave for the vast meat processing plant known as Rupture Farms. He’s the kind of person who just keeps his head down, doing his job and ignoring all of the horrendous things that Rupture Farms is doing to the environment of Oddworld, like so many other people in our own world. One day, though, he realizes that Rupture Farms, whose profits are dwindling, plans to introduce a new form of meat to the market: Mudokon pops, which use the meat of his own species. Realizing his species impending doom, he escapes from Rupture Farms, attempting to save every Mudokon that he can along the way.
Abe’s dark journey is offset with a unique sense of quirky humor. When you find other Mudokons, you can communicate with them using the D-Pad, often ending in you farting in the face of other Mudokons. The Mudokons feel like a fairly carefree race of kind, silly creatures, which makes Abe’s journey all that more heartfelt. The Mudokons didn’t ask to be enslaved. They didn’t want to be turned into food. You feel a need to help these creatures to overthrow their captors in Rupture farms.
Abe, and most of the Mudokons on Rupture Farms, are not very strong, tough. Most look like they’ve not had food in months. They’re brittle and can be killed by a single wrong move. Abe’s Oddysee becomes much more of a puzzle game in a sense, as you need to find your way around guards without alerting them to your presence. There’s quite a few “ah-ha” moments that you’ll have along the way.
Not all of the game is contained to Rupture Farms, however. After Abe escapes, he realizes that he has a greater destiny and searches for the home of the Mudokons. This part of the game is probably the most interesting section, as Abe reconnects with the past of his people. He is faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges in order to be accepted by the native Mudokons and to gain the ability to rescue his enslaved brethren. Not only that, but each of these new areas introduce a different kind of challenge. You never feel like you’re doing the same thing twice, making the adventure feel much larger.
Veteren fans of the series, however, may wonder exactly why they should pay thirty dollars for a game they played seventeen years ago. The most obvious answer is that this game was obviously built from the ground up to be a fairly different experience. While Abe’s Oddysee had static screens that you had to travel across, New ‘n’ Tasty’s world features scrolling levels which make the experience of playing feel interconnected. The graphics have also received a massive overhaul. While there certainly is a charm to the old, Claymation style graphics of Oddysee, New ‘n’ Tasty’s visuals are far more varied. Rupture Farms feels like a much more grim environment, while the outside world that has yet to be touched by industry feels bright and alive. While graphical comparisons may feel somewhat unjust to players who prefer the original games art, it’s unquestionable that developer Just Add Water took a lot of time in crafting Oddworld to be as alive as they possibly could.
That said, new players might feel somewhat disappointed when they realize how much the gameplay mimics the original. There’s no nice way to say it, but Abe moves in a very sloppy way. Many times when you think you can make a jump, Abe will just fall into a death pit. Sometimes, you’ll stop moving your analog sticks and Abe will still slide a bit. This can be extremely frustrating when there are several sections where you need to stop on a dime in order to avoid death. Veteren players may also be disappointed at the lack of bonus content that the game features. While the game is a massive experience, it feels like a remake of this size should feature a little more for fans of the original game.
Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty still captures much of the magic that Abe’s Oddysee captured seventeen years ago. It’s a game that many consider to be one of the defining games they’ve played in their life and it’s no wonder why. Abe, and all of Oddworld for that matter, deserve another chance in the spotlight and hopefully New ‘n’ Tasty gives fans another opportunity to recapture the magic they felt so many years ago.
SCORE: 9.0 out of 10
A code for New ‘n’ Tasty: Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssee was provided to Pixel Related for review.