Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty Preview
It was one of the most innovative and polished games of the original PlayStation era. Those who bemoan the loss of pure adventure games probably recall Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee with a great fondness, because it blended standard platforming with hefty puzzle-solving. Its quirky atmosphere and style only added to the originality and to this day, we’ve never seen anything quite like it. Now, it’s coming back in the form of Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty and just to be clear, “it’s not a fu**** HD remake.”
Creator Lorne Lanning has made this abundantly clear in recent months, as he says the new effort is about a lot more than refined textures. The game is being completely rebuilt from the ground up, and the result will be a brand new 2.5D presentation thanks to the powerful Unity engine. Yes, the HD version of Munch’s Oddysee that landed on the PSN last year was just a remake, but this is a very different beast. Of course, the story remains the same: Abe is a Floor Waxer for RuptureFarms, a diabolical place that ends up turning its workers into a vile processed food product. Yes, the Mudokons are becoming Tasty Treats and Abe must escape!
He must also try to save his fellow Mudokons from such a terrible fate. As you progress through the adventure, you will have opportunities to free your buddies. I distinctly recall going through the game and rescuing every one…I think there were 99 or something like that. It’s not easy to do, and it will require every ounce of ingenuity and puzzle-solving strength you’ve got. The biggest problem is that your fellow workers aren’t especially bright and they have to be led like lemmings to special rescue portals. The good news is that they listen very well; they’ll do whatever Abe tells them.
In New ‘n’ Tasty, Abe can take advantage of an enhanced GameSpeak mechanic, which means the characters will have more commands and responses available. This could come in extra handy in particularly dicey situations, when those annoying trigger-happy guards are everywhere. By the way, those guards – called Sligs – will shoot any worker who’s attempting to escape and trust me, the poor Modokons have no protection. They die instantly. Abe can’t directly attack enemies, either, but he can possess the weaker-minded foes. Then, he can control them; have them shoot other guards, or simply walk to their deaths.
The game doesn’t take place entirely within RuptureFarms, as Abe will also travel outside to places like the Monsaic Lines, Paramonia, and Scrabania. If you can conquer them all, you’ll return to your former employer with the power of a Shrykull. Then, it’s a mad dash to rescue the remaining Mudokons; time is ticking away and security has been tightened considerably. The story is goofy (yet decidedly twisted), the puzzles can be very intricate and challenging, and the rewards are high. If this sounds like a classic adventure-style game to you, you’re right.
Perhaps the most effective feature is Abe’s vulnerability. Absolutely everything can kill him in a split second, whether it be terrible enemies or horrific booby traps. As his buddies aren’t any stronger, the challenge of rescuing everybody is beyond significant. This is the kind of game that will test your problem-solving ability and dexterity, because it’s all about a plan of action, accompanied by exact timing. This upgraded version will have a lot going for it, obviously, but let’s not forget that the original production was light years ahead of its time. Still sucks that the franchise went all action/platformer on me but hey, at least I get this.
Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty doesn’t yet have a date but we should see one soon. And if it sells over 500,000 copies, we’ll get a true sequel!
5/15/2014 Ben Dutka