Abe's Odyssey might be approaching 20 years old, but it has lost none of its charm, challenge and intensity. The HD remake lit up the PS4 last year and it finally makes a bow on the Vita, having lost very little in the translation, perhaps some shine and sparkles. The portals look a lot simpler and there's a few less mines and furniture, and the lighting is toned down.
If you can be patient, a physical limited edition release for Abe's has been confirmed, so hang on if little plastic cards are your thing! If you're not buy the PS4 version, which is Cross Buy for £6 on PSN, and save around £9 on the Vita listed price.
It looks a little more pastelly than the PlayStation's original cartoony palette, but otherwise is visually sharp and fluid. You can't open other apps while playing it, so I guess it uses the recently freed-up extra Vita power and RAM.
The aim is to rescue your fellow Mudokon grunts from the meat farm and other hellish menial tasks they have been assigned. You can either avoid, trap, destroy or take over the minds of your captors, and get them to do some of your dirty work for you. Hopefully when the grunts vanish into the portal, they go to a better place.
Through a mix of trapdoors, platforms, teamwork and cunningly (or annoyingly) placed save points, the action drives you relentlessly forward in the hunt for more chaps to rescue. The mix of platforms, sensors, bombs, mines and need to throw grenades or distracting bottle tops in the right place cause burst of delight and angst as you pull off a tricky rescue or cock it up at the last step.
Jumping, rolling, dodging, hiding in the shadows and other skills must all be used at the right time, with the right timing to proceed. At least getting it wrong usually only knocks you back a few steps. Then you need to keep an eye out for doors that lead into the scenery or to other hidden areas where a Modokon might be hiding.
Of course, you don't have to rescue them all, you even get a trophy for "accidentally" topping one. But, having gone to all the trouble of putting such a fine game together, it seems rude not to try. New tricks through the levels keep things fresh, talking to your fellows through whistles and farts will never get old.
If there are issues with the game its that the original controls were very digital whereas the Vita's analogue stick can see Abe sometimes jump forward instead of up. There's also the odd lag between pressing the button and the desired effect taking place, defusing mines being one such annoyance.
Otherwise, tuck into this feast of puzzling fun that feels so thoroughly modern, it seems almost rude to call it retro.
Kudos to Just Add Water for adding a little touch for Vita owners, you can play with lights on the screen, by using the rear touch panel during loading scenes!
Price: £15.99 on PSN (note, the PS3/4 version is currently onsale at £6.19 until Jan 22, it is CrossBuy, so use this method to save some money)
Dev: Just Add Water
Progress: Paramonia, the art of noise!