Everyone’s favourite Mudokon makes a welcome appearance on the Playstation 4 with an HD remake of his original outing from 1997. With HD remasters of last generation games being all the rage, how does a classic side scrolling platformer stack up?
Game: New ‘n’ Tasty! Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee
Developer: Just Add Water
Publisher: Oddworld Inhabitants
Reviewed on: PS4
“That’s me. My name is Abe.” With these words, we were introduced to the fabulous Oddworld and its equally odd cast of characters way back in 1997. The bizarre Mudukon, with his lips sewn shut and his quirky voiceover, found his way into the hearts and minds of many a PS1 owner, and he became the star of a couple of superb platform games for the platform. An absolute stone-cold classic title at the time, Just Add Water and Oddworld Inhabitants have chosen to remake the game from the ground up in HD, debuting on Sony’s newest machine.
Abe works as a floor mopper at RuptureFarms, a meat processing plant that provides Oddworld with all kinds of snacks and treats. One evening, he happens upon a board meeting, where Murloc, the boss, is discussing their “New ‘n’ Tasty” offering, which transpires to be made from the Mudukons that are enslaved to work at the plant. Horrified, Abe sets out to free as many of his race as he possibly can before it’s too late.
The first thing that’s noticeable with New ‘n’ Tasty is the graphical upgrade. Obviously, a leap of 3 generations is going to provide a phenomenal overhaul, but it’s startling how true to the original art style it stays. Areas within RuptureFarms range from dark and grimy to darker and grimier. The whole place has a downtrodden feeling to it that is really enhanced by the updated art. Running at 1080p and as close to 60fps as possible, New ‘n’ Tasty certainly holds its own in the graphical department. It’s a welcome coat of paint for a game that truly stood out 17 years ago.
The next thing that stands out is the control scheme. It is as close to identical as the original PS1 version as you could hope for, and that could well split users down the middle. With the hyper-precise likes of Super Meat Boy and the floaty physics of LittleBigPlanet being the two ends of the spectrum for people, Oddworld sits towards Sackboy’s side. Strictly adhering to the original’s animation requirements make for a degree of precision that’s needed for jumps, whilst sometimes feeling somewhat frustrating if you miss a landing by mere centimetres. Personally, I find it endearing to know that the remake is faithful to the original, warts ‘n’ all, but it’s easy to imagine that there will be folks that dislike it for this reason.
Abe’s journey will run you around 8 or 9 hours for your first run through, and there’s plenty more to do once you’ve gone round once. Extra Mudukons can be saved, along with a plethora of trophies relating to increasingly more difficult in game challenges, that all add up to a reminder of how great platformers used to be. It’s very much a case of “Back in my day things were great”, but with Abe’s Oddysee, it’s extremely hard to disagree with the statement.
With all of the original stuff being included, is there anything new aside from the graphical overhaul? Well yes. A nifty quick save option is included, with the ability to wipe out the aforementioned frustration of missing that crucial jump with a click of the touchpad. Holding it in quickly jumps you back to the spot before the offending point, allowing you to nail the landing with no further load times. Additionally, the “Hey everyone!” mechanic from Abe’s Exoddus has been implemented, meaning you can signal to a bunch of Mudukons on screen rather than individually picking them up. It’s the little things that make the nicest features, and with these being put into New ‘n’ Tasty, it’s helped the remake quite a lot.
All in all, in spite of its flaws, New ‘N’ Tasty is well worth a purchase. If you’ve never played Abe’s Oddysee and have a PS4, go and buy this immediately. It’s a chance to play one of the all-time classic platform games with up-to-date graphics, as well as keeping Abe’s unique sense of humour and mischievous ways intact. It couldn’t be clearer that the love and commitment to Abe at both of the teams at Oddworld Inhabitants and Just Add Water is huge, and this really is a remake that’s worth picking up.
Oh, and yes, farting is still hilarious.