Review: Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty (PS4)

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Title: Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty
Format: PlayStation Network Download (4.7 GB)
Release Date: July 22, 2014
Publisher: Oddworld Inhabitants, Inc
Developer: Just Add Water
Original MSRP: $30.00 *This is a Cross-Buy and Cross-Save title
ESRB Rating: T
Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty will also be available on PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, Wii U, PC, Mac and Linux at a later date TBD.
The PlayStation 4 version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy.

Audio Review:
The audio review for this game is available on Episode 381 of the podcast.

Gameplay:
As always, I’m not going to discuss the story as to avoid spoilers for those that have never played an Oddworld game before. For those that have played games in this series, the story is fully intact, as is everything else. Oddworld: New ’n’ Tasty (NnT) is a complete remake of Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee, which originally came out for PlayStation and PC in 1997 (and was later ported to Gameboy in 1998.) NnT is a platformer, but unlike any other than I can think of, Abe doesn’t actually have any weapons, attacks, or defense, at least not directly. You can’t jump on anyone’s head or shoot fireballs at the enemies, but Abe does have some useful abilities to get past his many enemies.

Launch Trailer

In essence, this is more of a puzzle-platformer at its core, but there’s plenty of action as well. Something that has always set these games apart is the fantastic pacing, and never tiring you out or boring you to tears. As you work your way throughout the levels, you’ll need to figure out how to get past the Sligs, Scrabs, and Paramites without dying, which happens pretty easily to Abe. The puzzles vary in difficulty, and set to ‘Hard’ the game gets pretty difficult (which is a signature of the series.)

Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty_20140719185419

Abe has a unique set of tools and abilities to help accomplish his mission, and when I say unique, trust me, you won’t find this anywhere else. Abe doesn’t have any attacks, he doesn’t have any blocking moves, and he can’t even jump really high. Instead, Abe can chant. When he chants in the right location he can actually accomplish quite a bit. First, when you see a bunch of tiny lights flying around, the chant brings them into order, creating a message that acts as a hint for the area. Chanting can also heal Abe up a bit, and when a Slig is in the vicinity (and NOT when a red orb is present) you can actually take the Slig over telepathically, allowing you to move and shoot. If a red orb is present though, a chant will be met with a huge electrical shock to Abe’s system so you’ll never be able to get too reliant on that weapon.

I actually own the original PlayStation game, but I never got very far in it, and that wasn’t because I didn’t like it. The big problem was that the controls were pretty difficult, be it a result of the need to allow the wonderful animations to run all the way through, or a design choice; quite frankly the controls were harsh. Fortunately, that’s not the case at all in this remake, and this is a VERY good thing! The crazy thing is that even with the refinements it oddly (see what I did there?) still feels like the original controls in a certain way. Even better, unlike the original’s sparse save points, you can now perform a quicksave at any point by simply pressing-down on the DualShock 4′s Touchpad.

Visuals:
This is the best looking game that I’ve seen built on the Unity engine so far, and that’s quite a feat. The visuals are all faithful to the original game but now instead of the levels being broken into individual, static screens, they scroll which makes this feel like a whole new game. Obviously, some of the puzzle elements had to be altered a bit to accommodate this change, but that doesn’t hurt any expectation a fan of the original may have.

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The game is, in a word, gorgeous. On PS4, it runs at 60 frames per second at full 1080P, and every pixel is put to use. The art is fantastic with an incredible amount of depth that oozes lighting from every angle. Colors are vibrant when they need to be and the animation is exactly what a fan of the original game would expect. The folks at Just Add Water really put a lot of love into NnT, and you can tell that they’re fans of the original. As good as the screenshots are, in motion it looks a hundred times better.

Audio:
The biggest change, but not really a change, is in the audio. The original audio samples were just too low-definition to be used, so instead of trying to recover them, the team re-recorded all of the voice-overs (which now include a couple of really cool guest appearances) and sound effects. Since some of the pacing of the game was changed the music was also redone. However, it is completely based on the original with only small tweaks from what was in the original. What you get then is a sound design that fills your ears from every angle, but at a high quality that matches the visual overhaul.

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Online/Multiplayer:
There is no online play in Oddworld: New ’n’ Tasty, but there are Online Leaderboards for each level for the purpose of competing with friends in a speed-run sense. There is a Co-op mode available that’s setup in a “hot seat” format, but since I have no friends here to try it with, I can’t speak to how this mode plays.

Conclusion:
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, if no one knew that this was a remake it would be considered a fantastic beginning to a new series of games. I’ve been deep in thought for the last few days trying to figure out the worst and best remakes that we’ve seen lately, and time and time again, Oddworld: New ’n’ Tasty inevitably rises toward the top of that list. The changes made were all in the best interest of the player, with everything else staying faithful to the original game. It’s beautiful to look at, pleasing to listen to, and a ton of fun to play. The universe that’s been created isn’t only deep, but quite funny as well. The puzzles never get too impossible and the revamped controls make this much more accessible than the original on the PlayStation.

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It’s a fine art to be able to recreate something that so many have loved for so long, and the crew at Just Add Water have done so masterfully. The best part is that if you’ve never played an Oddworld game before, your first foray into the series will be a memorable one for all of the right reasons. They say that if this game sells 250k copies, they can remake the next game in the series (Abe’s Exoddus) , so let’s all make that happen. Also, don’t forget, Oddworld: New ’n’ Tasty is Cross-Save and Cross-Buy (you’re welcome) between the PS4, PS3, and Vita versions. You’re getting a LOT for a great price, and even better, you’re getting one of the best examples of bringing some true nostalgia to a new generation of gamers and consoles. Oh, and those that are big fans of the original, the developers haven’t forgotten you. Along with a true adherence to what fans loved about the game, they’ve even included some big surprises in this one. I just wish I could tell you what they are, but where’s the fun in that, eh?

Score:
9.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Glenn Percival

Glenn Percival

Just a guy that loves games, movies, Golf, Football, and Baseball.

Podcast Co-Host, Editor-in-Chief, Video Producer, and whipping-boy

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  • ChazzH69

    Such a shame it isn’t a retail disc release as I would love to add this to my collection. Looking forward to this regardless.

    • http://psnation.org Glenn Percival

      But it makes sense why it’s not, and it actually helps keep the price as low as possible

      • ChazzH69

        I know, but I would have happily paid the extra. Now if you don’t mind I’m printing out a mock up I made earlier and putting it in an empty case.
        #HowSadAmI

        • http://psnation.org Glenn Percival

          I love that pic. I wish there was a way to copy the game to a Blu Ray so this could be used lol

  • johnnyp70

    Not surprised at this at all. The hour or so that Glenn played looked phenomenal. With the Destiny beta down for a couple of days, I guess I’ll be checking this out Tuesday night. It’ll be pre-loaded too!

  • Keith Dunn

    Can’t WAIT until tomorrow!

  • Holy Sock

    Sexy sexy screenshots

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  • Jonathanrex1

    I can hardly wait for the MAC version to be released. The game looks great!