New? No. Tasty? Well…

HIGH Shooting Sligs while impersonating one.

LOW Dying ten times in a row because of wonky throwing controls.

WTF Seeing advertisements for other games in the Oddworld factories.

The Oddworld series first appeared on the Sony Playstation in 1997. Despite the appetizing rebranding, New ’n’ Tasty is a straight remake of the original Abe’s Oddysee. However, it was already remade in 2014, so is there anything substantially new in this port to the Nintendo Switch? (Spoilers: no.)

For newcomers, the Oddworld series (with the exception of Stranger’s Wrath) consists of 2D platformers with puzzle elements. The protagonist is Abe, a Mudokon slave in a factory ruled by the evil Glukkons. Worse, not only are the Mudokons slaves, they’re going to be used as ingredients for canned food! Of course, our hero has to rescue every Mudokon he meets and then escape himself.

Abe can run, jump, roll, throw grenades and bottles, and tiptoe to avoid alerting enemies. Later in the campaign, Abe will learn to telepathically possess gun-wielding Sligs– basic grunts used by the Glukkons. There are also beasts that can be ridden in order to jump deep chasms. Finally, Abe can communicate (via “hello” or farts) with his fellow Mudokons in order to guide them to the nearest exit in each area.

Graphically, the upgrade to a fully 3D engine transforms Oddysee from 2D to a 2.5D and it looks pretty nifty on the Switch, both docked and undocked. Unfortunately, the controls — the biggest problem when I played the remake in 2014 — remain intact.

Anyone who’s ever played a precision platformer knows that the genre lives and dies by the accuracy of its controls. New ’n’ Tasty isn’t one of the worst offenders in the genre, but most of my deaths were caused by slippery movement and impractical button combinations needed to throw grenades, along with imprecise jumping. I had hoped that port team Just Add Water would have added touchscreen controls that might have helped with some of this, but none are present in this version.

Complicating the issue of the controls, New ‘N’ Tasty is a platformer that requires perfect precision and timing — it’s a rigid style of gameplay that will be very familiar to whoever grew up in the eighties, but will probably turn off younger gamers. It doesn’t help that each puzzle usually has only one correct solution, and taking any other action results in certain death.

The new additions to this remake (apart from the enhanced graphics) are a quicksave and screen panning. The sound design was also revamped, but mostly for the worse — the added dialogue for Abe and the Mudokons is terribly repetitive, with two or three phrases looping continuously.

For newcomers to the Oddworld series, New ’n’ Tasty is a good place to start and the anticapitalism and anticonsumerism messages in Oddysee still feel (sadly) as fresh and important as they did back then. However, there’s no real reason to grab the Switch version if one already owns any of the others. It’s still tasty enough, but a little short on the new.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10

— Damiano Gerli

Disclosures: This game is developed by Just Add Water and published by Oddworld Inhabitants. It is currently available on PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Mac OS, iOS, Android and Playstation Vita. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on Switch. Approximately 5 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was not completed. There are no multiplayer modes.

Parents: The game is rated T by the ESRB for Blood, Crude Humor, Language, Use of Tobacco and Violence. New ‘n’ Tasty is not a bloody title and the violence is pretty cartoonish, but, given the themes and the dark narrative, parental guidance is advised.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: Subtitles are only available during cutscenes. While it is possible to carefully watch Abe’s reactions to understand what he is saying, all other characters’ dialogue will be difficult to get without subtitles. While most of the creatures speak English, any dialogue outside of the cutscenes is unfortunately not subtitled. There are also “Simon Says” puzzles where Abe has to replicate what another Mudokon is saying. Again, without subtitles, this will end up being more difficult.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available in the options.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: while it is possible to activate subtitles, they seem to be used only for the cutscenes. While it is possible to carefully watch Abe’s reactions to understand what he is saying, all other characters’ dialogue will be difficult to get without subtitles. There are also “Simon says” puzzles where Abe has to replicate what the other Mudokon is saying that, without subtitles, will end up becoming more obtuse.

Remappable Controls: This game’s controls are not remappable.

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