Oddworld gets a makeover

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First Posted: 8/18/2014

The last time I played an “Oddworld” game, it was the original 1997 Playstation One classic “Oddword: Abe’s Odessey,”nand there are very few games that were even remotely similar.

“Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty” is a reincarnation of the classic action platforming game. It isn’t just a remastered HD version with updated graphics, it is a total reboot of the graphics, sound, animations and cutscenes were re-done in a new graphics engine. “Oddworld” has never looked or sounded so good.

The new upgrades to the system make the game feel more alive then on the PS1, everything has textures, and all of the environments have more details making the whole world feel bigger and more fleshed out.

If you are too young to remember or just missed Abe’s original quest, Abe is a very odd looking Mudokon slave that must make his way through ‘RuptureFarms’, which is essentially a galactic meat processing plant, to save his family from becoming food. One day Abe decides to make an escape and liberate as many enslaved Mudokons as he can.

Oddworld is a 2D side scrolling platform game, where you have to solve puzzles, avoid tricky obstacles and stay away from enemy captors. If you get killed by a trap, an enemy, or you fall from a crippling height, then you have to restart at the nearest checkpoint.

There are many ways in which he can avoid death, he can roll under obstacles, run and jump over large gaps and tiptoe past certain enemies so they aren’t alerted to his location. In some areas of the game Abe can telepathically control little flying orbs called ‘sligs’ which he can use to attack his foes or activate switches and other devices. When Abe possesses these creatures he is vulnerable to attack but if something happens to him he jumps back into his body. Along the way Abe has to interact with other Mudokon slaves issuing them voice commands to lead them safety. If you rescue 50 or more you get the good game ending.

Unfortunately not everything in the game was remade, the movement and controls are still a bit finicky, some sections of the game need precision but Abe still feels very clumsy. The movement controls are a bit different then the original which adds to the frustration. You once held a button to run, now all the movement is done with one analog stick making it so you have to judge the correct pressure of the stick to move the way you want. Some of the puzzles require a lot of trial and error so the lack of precise control make these sections a real hassle. For the most part, the new controls are good, but in some sections where you need absolute control to land a tough jump it can be tricky.

The way the levels are displayed is the major change. The amount of memory on the new system generation allows the levels to flow better because there are no screen breaks they just flow together into one big level. Another addition is the ability to control multiple Mudokon survivors at once making it easier to save more of them. The most important feature is the new quick save feature allowing you to place a check point wherever you want which cuts down on the difficulty because you can restart wherever you want. Sometimes this feature feels like cheating but it cuts down on the aggravation and makes the game more accessible to newcomers to the series.

Overall I loved “Oddworld: New N Tasty”, it is a great remake of classic game that expands on the quality in every way. The new controls and gameplay elements make it the most enjoyable way to experience the source material. Even though it is an old game the new changes make it feel very fresh and fun. Usually remakes don’t stand up to the test of time but the “Oddworld” series was so new and innovative when it came out, the remake feels like a fresh new indie title. If you like platforming games you will love this game, it stands up with some of the best in the genre and it is a blast to play.

Robbie Vanderveken is the digital operations specialist at The Times Leader. E-mail at rvanderveken@timesleader.com.