I can recall over 15 years ago, the ultimate shrieking of terror from children screaming in the living room. In a panic, I ran back to discover both my toddler son and crib-bound daughter staring intently at a bald, green-skinned, large-eyed alien’s head as it peeked through the television screen’s opening interface from Abe’s Oddysee on the PlayStation One. Are the kids really that scared? I thought to myself. I exited the current screen, and when it refreshed, Abe’s head peeked out and replied, “Hello”. The kids shrieked in terror again.
Ah, how nostalgic! As I install the PC reboot,Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty, I reminisce the days of when I originally played the first installment. The current version has improved beautiful graphical scenes as well as remarkable rendered movies, an appealing storyline, and fascinating characters led by a protagonist that is just so darn unforgettably adorable. New ‘n’ Tasty is similar to Lemmings, a save and rescue puzzle game, but an adventure designed for the macabre sense of humor, for personalities who deem cute as bug-eyed aliens with stitched mouths. The main character, Abe, saves his fellow Mudokons from becoming someone else’s future meal. Your goal is to help Abe lead his people to safety, bypassing meat-grinders, dodging falling objects, and sneaking past one-legged slogs, just to name a few.
New ‘n’ Tasty was available for the PS4 (its original console) last July. The Xbox One version just came out in late March. I decided to download it from STEAM, and after too many hours configuring and updating my NVIDIA and DOLBY drivers to view and listen to the opening scenes without lag, I finally found myself giggling at the simplest added animations to the game. When the game pauses, you will notice Abe making a variety of gestures as you are stumped on what to do next. I appreciate how the gameplay gives a nod to the archaic side-scrolling, but does so now with smooth fluidity. The animation transitioning from level to level is still strikingly magnificent. The detail in color choices, contour lines, and range of values really adds a somber mood to the theme. I must say, I cannot help but feel a bit squeamish after seeing the aftermath of an unsuspecting Mudokon smashed to smithereens as I experiment with the levers. Though dead, the bodies continue to wretch and writhe long after getting smooshed and crushed by falling objects.
As far as controls go, guiding Abe was not as precise as I would have liked, but after a while, my awareness of his abilities became second nature. The diagram in the menu may look somewhat intimidating, but no worries, the game directs you in very engaging ways on how to use “Gamespeak”, Chants, and other commands.Throughout the game, you are instructed with LED billboards to fluttering lights in the sky, which makes the game that much easier to memorize special commands.
Overall, Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty, is still gratifying to play after all of these years. I am still absorbed by the stunning graphics, hooked on saving EVERY Mudokon, and tickled by the hope that the publishers, Oddworld Inhabitants, will one day finish their intended Quintology.