Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty Review: Welcome to Rupture
Abe is back and he’s never looked better. After years of dormancy, the Oddworld franchise is back in full force with the scrawny hero we fell in love with in the late 90’s. But does Abe’s Odyssey hold up well today? Did Just Add Water make enough improvements to justify the $29.99 digital price tag, let alone have the game be worth your time with so many other terrific indie titles vying for your PS4’s attention?
The good news is that New ‘n’ Tasty does a great job re-creating the original game and by all means would be a stand out game had it been released today first and not in the 90’s. The art style has been tweaked to show off more impressive visuals than your PS1 could ever muster and JAW has added little details in the background art and during cut scenes to give the world more personality. While the game isn’t the best looking game on PS4, the art direction is well done with several stages forcing your jaw towards the floor with their fantastic use of color.
The story, as always, has some substance to it though many players will ignore the anti-capitalist and anti-big business undertones in the game’s narrative. This plot seems ironic today considering how much drama Just Add Water and the Oddworld IP has gone through over the past decade with big publishers making things difficult for them, eventually the franchise’s path leading to a new era where indie games are a focal point of whether a console has enough quality games or not.
Of course this plot is told with very little dialogue through farting, singing, and countless times falling to your death. It’s a simple story that does have a good point and it has stood the test of time. Abe represents the little man, abused by big corporations (Rupture Farms) as he trades shackles and slavery for heroics and mind control. I will say that the inclusion of a few ads for real-world games is a questionable choice that kind of goes against the entire narrative the game is trying to tell.
There really isn’t much to complain about with New ‘n’ Tasty except some minor control issues. Unlike the original game which didn’t use the Dual Shock controller, New ‘n’ Tasty challenges players to make slower, more gentle movements with the analog stick in order to move Abe quietly. Add just a little bit too much pressure on the stick and Abe will fling himself into a land mine or alert a guard of his presence.
These controls could be a bigger issue in a platformer that emphasized precision button presses but in a puzzle platformer like this, especially since its slow paced, it isn’t a huge deal that the controls work against you at times. You’ll die countless times throughout the game and the controls will only contribute a handful of extra Abe executions to the long list of failures that you’ll wrack up by game’s end.
Puzzles are the main challenge in Oddworld and most puzzles are near perfect replicas of the PS1 originals. They’re all quite difficult even on the easiest setting so be prepared to get a little frustrated from time to time. That said, each puzzle is well made and some are downright amazing, putting other puzzle platformers to shame with complex but still engaging stage puzzles. Most of these involve getting Abe’s co-workers to an exit or not alerting an enemy. There were several moments in my play through where I was absolutely stumped but once I finally figured out what to do I let out a loud, satisfying “Aha!”.
Oddworld is the next exotic location you should journey to with your PS4. While New ‘n’ Tasty isn’t without some bitter moments, overall it possesses a flavor that is distinctly old-school while still satisfying all the needs of a modern gamer. People looking for a challenging, charming, funny and wholly unique title fill out their PS4’s library need look no further than Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty.
Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty is a worthy remake of the 90's classic. It turns out Abe has aged very well, making this a must-have PS4 download. Review copy provided by Just Add Water.