My failing hand/eye co-ordination is ruining my enjoyment of Oddworld: New ‘n Tasty.
Seriously, it is. And that’s annoying the hell out of me.
I might be in my mid-40s but come on, I thought I had a few years left in me before my hand/eye co-ordination started heading south, but it seems Oddworld: New ‘n Tasty has other ideas.
A remake of the classic Oddworld game from 1997 featuring a bug-eyed hero called Abe who must escape the dastardly plan hatched by his employer Rupture Farms, New ‘n Tasty is a platformer pure and simple – a game where you’ll often have to jump Abe from platform to platform, often hitting the X button on the PlayStation 4 controller (New ‘n Tasty is only out on PS4 at the moment) in quick succession so as to avoid causing Abe to plummet to his death.
I’m loving the game – I love its sense of humour, its main character, its gorgeous visuals – and everything was going so well until I got to a level set in a place called Scrabania, a desert landscape punctuated in its latter stages by platforms with massive drops either side of them. And it’s these situations which are causing me problems: And not that I want to admit it, but I’m blaming my hand/eye co-ordination.
The areas which require successive taps of the jump button are ones where Abe is riding a two-legged beast called an Elum, which has a boosted jump useful for clearing large gaps. Often you’ll have to tap the jump in quick succession to clear to clear two or three gaps in a row – sometimes jumping over land mines – and this is where I struggle.
Time after time, I think I’ve pressed the jump button quick enough but, no, clearly I haven’t, sending Abe plunging to his death, only to re-spawn at the nearest checkpoint (which, thankfully, are nicely placed) where I repeat the process again and again. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve given up in frustration on this level because I just can’t get it sorted, tossing the PS4 controller onto the couch in frustration and walking away, vowing to not try it again. But, I’ll be back soon enough, determined to beat it but don’t – and it’s ruining my enjoyment of the game.
The signs of my waning hand/eye co-ordination have been manifesting themselves for a while, though, but I’ve just ignored them, hoping it’s just because I’m tired or I’m having an off day. It used to be that my now-less-than perfect hand/eye co-ordination would manifest itself in co-op matches with my son where twitch reflexes and fast reactions make the difference from winning and losing. Sadly, more often than not these days, I’m losing when I play fast reaction games. I don’t play as many first person shooters as I used to and while much of that is because I think most FPS games are generic and same old-same old, a lot of it is because my reflexes just aren’t up to scratch.
I’m also wondering whether I might need glasses now, too. To be honest, I vaguely recall a few years back an optometrist telling me that because I was constantly looking at a computer screen I should be wearing glasses. I never heeded his advice then but these days small print is getting harder to read and old age is creeping up on me – but I’m not ready for a retirement home yet.
The harsh reality is that – as much as I don’t like to admit it – I’m getting older and I don’t have the fast reactions and reflexes when it comes to hand/eye co-ordination that I used to. That likely means that I’m going to get more and more frustrated from time to time when it takes me twice as long to finish a level as it does my teenage son. Or it takes me ages to complete a simple sequence of platform jumps in a game like Oddworld: New ‘n Tasty. Bloody hell, it’s frustrating
I’m not going to give up on Oddworld: New ‘n Tasty, even if it might take me 22 million and 500 thousands hours to finish it at the rate I’m going. I guess the upside to my failing reactions, though, is that if you’re after someone you’re guaranteed to beat in a fast-paced multiplayer game, drop me an email: I’m your man.