Oddworld: New n Tasty - Wii U Review

A Great Game Gets a Great Renewal

Oddworld New n Tasty
Oddworld Inhabitants

The puzzle platform Oddworld: New n Tasty makes me wonder: do we actually need any new games? I mean, aren’t there thousands and thousands of great but technologically decrepit games that could be refurbished and brought to a new generation? If every brilliant game can be made new again, why not just keep doing that?


Clever puzzles. Exciting platforming. Intriguing story.


Lacks the original’s seaminess. Doesn’t support Pro Controller.

The Basics: Jump, Solve Puzzles, Don’t Become Dinner

The game is a graphically improved-version of 1997’s Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee, which followed the adventures of Abe, a lizard-like humanoid who worked at a meat factory and discovered that he and his fellow workers, a race called Mudokons, were themselves fated to become the meat. Escaping the factory, he goes on a journey to earn the strength he needs to return and free his people.

The grimness of the premise is balanced out by the fanciful humor in the execution, which offers cartoonish villains and explosive deaths that end in Abe’s essence rising to the sky as a flock of birds and reconstituting at the last checkpoint.

Along the way, Abe must deal with the factory’s brutal guards, freakish attack animals, and creatures that will kill Abe or, if they meet, one another. Levels are intricate, full of booby traps, motion sensors, switches, and ingenious puzzles. You’ll need to lure enemies into meat grinders, run through a gauntlet of monsters to reach a bomb machine, or sneak past a sleeping guard. You’ll also get to use Abe’s mystical powers, which both allow him to open portals to free his friends and to take over the minds of guards, sending them on shooting sprees before walking them into bombs.

Occasionally, Abe gets to ride a creature called an Elum, which often involves fun, tricky dashes along precarious platforms.

The New: Shiny Graphics, Scrolling Environments, Better Checkpoints

New n Tasty is not a HD revamp that simply makes the original game look newer. While the graphics are slick and modern, the most significant change is that, whereas the old game was a series of static environments that one would walk through, with a new screen replacing the last one whenever you reached the edge, New n Tasty is a side-scroller in which Abe is always center screen and the environment glides past him. It’s a big change that required changes in some of the puzzles and action, although there are other changes that seem to have been added simply because they popped into the developers’ heads. The result is something that’s not entirely new but that goes beyond both standard HD remasters and more customized renovations like The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker.

Of course, you can’t make big changes in a classic without some complaints. I came across a video diatribe that hated everything about this new version, mainly focusing on a loss of grit in the move from painted backdrops to the real-time rendered environments. This isn’t entirely untrue, but I think it’s going to mainly bother people who played the original game at a formative age and have every moment seared into their memory. If you were to play New n Tasty first and then play the original, it’s unlikely you would prefer it. (If you want to try the experiment for yourself, try the original PC demo.)

The developers have also fixed the original game’s checkpoint system, which could result in players having to replay difficult chunks of the game over and over. While there were a few areas where I would have added checkpoints, and places where there’s a checkpoint I would have preferred to hit right *after* pulling a lever instead of right before, so I didn’t have to keep pulling the lever every time I died and respawned, it’s a solid system. You can also do a quicksave with the minus button, although I didn’t bother with that until a final, annoying, timed mission.

The Verdict: A Terrific Remake of a Brilliant Game

Of course, even when changing a feature everyone hated originally, you will find people complaining about improvements, so some old-school gamers will lament the less punishing nature of a properly check-pointed game. But it’s clear the developers, as much as they would prefer to make old fans happy, were focused on turning an old game into something for a new generation. They have done this so well that one wonders if perhaps developers should eschew the riskiness of creating new things in favor of raiding game history for brilliant, faded gems. I would love to see complete revamps of dusty, amazing games like Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, Bladerunner, and Space Channel 5 that could excite a new generation. And if you’re an originalist who hates these bold new takes on the classics, you can still have fun making anguished youtube videos.

Developed by: Just Add Water, Nephilm Studios
Published by: Oddworld Inhabitants
Genre: Puzzle-platformer
For ages: 13 and up.
Platform: Wii U​
Release Date: February 11, 2016