In 1996, a popular game called SoulStorm was shown at the second-ever Electronic Entertainment Expo. That game, eventually renamed Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, went on to release a year later on the original PlayStation. Fast forward 18 E3s later, and the classic is back at the show, remade in high definition for the PlayStation 4.
Examiner went hands-on with Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty at E3 2014 earlier this month, where we got to relive the ridiculously challenging, side-scrolling action, platforming game that graced our earliest Sony console almost two decades ago. Aside from the obvious improvements -- like visuals, controls, sound, etc. -- not much has changed from the original. The game is very much a remake.
“[Oddworld: New ‘n' Tasty] is a total remake,” Lorne Lanning, co-founder and CCO of developer Oddworld Inhabitants, told Examiner. “We stayed true to the original design, but the original game was 2D, bitmapped, you know, a flip screen platforming game, and [New ‘n’ Tasty] is all continuous, real-time, 3D, dynamic lighting, dynamic animation, ragdoll physics and all of that.”
Arguably the most necessary of added features is the quick save button, which is assigned to the PS4’s touch pad. The original game is known to be frustratingly difficult; contributing to this factor was the poor placement of checkpoints throughout the levels. Fortunately, for those looking for a less demanding gameplay experience, players can now save at any given moment and return to that point whenever needed...difficulty levels are also available this time around.
One of the more interesting new elements of New 'n' Tasty is the inclusion of fan-made impersonations of the Mudokons (Abe’s race) into the game. In fact, Lanning says there are dozens of individuals from the community whose voices make up Oddworld’s Mudokon inhabitants. “We had the community actually supplying a bunch of voices for the Mudokon,” he explained. “So when you talk to the Mudokons you’re actually talking to a lot of fans that did the voices.”
As for gameplay, New ‘n’ Tasty feels a lot more fluent than the original. There’s no doubt that speed runners will want to rechallenge their old fastest times in this installment. Unfortunately, however, Abe feels a bit stiff, which is disappointing for a platformer that at times forces players to rely on not missing a step. But it’s almost hard to complain since most deaths will call for some pretty good laughs. Plus, we never forgot to quick save.
Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty is a timed PlayStation 4 exclusive, arriving on Sony's latest console on July 22. The game is also slated for release on PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, Wii U, PC, Mac and Linux, though there is currently no confirmed release dates for these platforms.