Although Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty! is far from a new game for most people, it actually stands as my first experience with the traditional Oddworld style. Before this port my only experience with the series was Stranger’s Wrath, a game I really enjoyed but also understood was a far cry from the rest of the series. Now I’ve experienced what Oddworld is truly like, and my love for the series has arguably grown even more. As a first-timer to Oddworld, New ‘n’ Tasty! is an awesome, if occasionally frustrating, time.
If you’ve played New ‘n’ Tasty! on other platforms before, you’re probably most curious about the quality of the Switch port and how this adventure fairs on Nintendo’s console. Generally, New ‘n’ Tasty! works well enough on the Switch. It’s not the best-looking port I’ve seen, but it’s certainly not bad by any stretch of the imagination. Some of the cutscenes are a little bit washed out but beyond that, it looks pretty good. The biggest issue I have comes from the occasional frame-drops and long loading times. In more intense moments the frame-rate can take a bit of a hit, and the load times in between dying can last upwards of five seconds. Without a frame of reference, I can’t really tell if the Switch version is the problem here or not, but it’s still pretty frustrating. With the stiff controls and plenty of ways for Abe to die, it can be a bit annoying to wait so long to get back into the action. Beyond that, this is a fine enough port that gets the job done of putting New N’ Tasty on the Switch.
Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty! is a remake of the PlayStation classic Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey, which sees Abe the Mudokon go on a quest to rescue his people from being turned into a snack food at Rupture Farms. The story is told through rhyme and has a distinctly charming yet depressing tone that makes it feel like a Grimm fairy tale. This is a really depressing world but one that feels fully realised and just waiting to be explored. It really works in the messages it tries to deliver, whilst also making Abe an incredibly loveable character. He’s supposed to be an everyman and you really get that feeling from him as he haplessly goes from scenario to scenario. The rest of the characters are great too, all punctuated by very funny noises and dialogue that delivers enough of what needs to be said without being overbearing.
Playing Oddworld is very reminiscent of something like the original Prince of Persia. Abe’s jumps and movements are incredibly precise and weighted, which means that you really need to commit to whatever you’re doing. There are no double or wall jumps here! That means that there’s although you’re technically doing a lot of platforming, it’s more like a movement puzzle than anything else.
As you move through the environment, Abe will also come across plenty of things trying to kill him. Bottomless pits, mines, Scrabs and more will all be standing in Abe’s way and it’s up to you to find a way to get around them. You’ll also need to rescue enough Mudokons to get the good ending and save your species, which come in the form of challenge rooms that have you guiding them around.
Although it definitely takes some getting used to, once you’ve figured out the controls and the general aim of the game Oddworld is fantastic fun. It’s hard as nails and often very unforgiving but it feels great to finally get to the end of a room or figure out exactly what the game wants you to do. The controls can admittedly feel a little stiff at times, but it’s all part of the learning curve.
There are two distinct elements to Oddworld that draw it apart from other puzzle-platformers. First of all is Abe’s ability to possess Sligs, which allows him to control the enemy and use them to get through special gates or mow down other Sligs with a gun. This ability would later get expanded in the sequel, but it’s used well here and feels like one of the more intricate puzzle elements.
Oddworld also introduced the idea of “gamespeak”, which allows the player to use specific buttons to talk to Mudokons and command them around. Once again this is something that is expanded more upon in later games but it works well here and provides a lot of charm from the Mudokon’s casually chatty responses. These two elements combine to make Oddworld feel distinct, even if they are elements that would be expanded upon more in future games.
Throughout your journey, Oddworld takes you to several distinct locations, all of which have an awesome PS1 atmosphere. Despite being a ground-up remake, New ‘n’ Tasty! still manages to remain creepy and simple, which was really nice to see. There’s plenty of added detail in pretty much every aspect of the game, but it never loses sight of its roots. Although the journey is a short one at about five hours, there’s plenty of things to collect to increase that playtime, and it honestly feels fine as a more compact adventure especially with how difficult things can get.
Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty! may be my first foray into the series proper, but it’s immediately shown me that I’ve got some catching up to do. Some graphical and frame-rate issues don’t detract from the charming, challenging platformer gameplay that makes this an adventure well worth having.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Oddworld Inhabitants