In a time ruled by 3D worlds, where 2D games have been been taken out back and put down like Old Yeller, Rayman: Origins makes a valiant effort in the fight to keep 2D platforming alive. For most gamers of this generation, 2D platforming is a strange creature that just doesn’t make much sense, but for those of us who grew up on these types of games, Rayman hopes to be that breath of fresh air in a market overcrowded by first person shooters, action adventures, and RPGs.
In Rayman: Origins you play as either Rayman, Globox, or one of two Teensies trying to beat back the nightmarish neighbors that have declared war against The Glade of Dreams, all over a little snoring! As you defeat more and more of these nasty creatures, you will rescue nymphs, free locked up Lums (pronounced Looms), and unlock fantastic new powers along the way. But the question to ask though, is whether or not Rayman: Origins is enough to warrant a full $60 price tag, especially when there are a plethora of other amazing titles to choose from? We find out in our review of what’s HOT and what’s NOT in Rayman: Origins.
So much to do!
When I first starting playing Rayman, the first thing that I noticed was that even though this game is just a 2D platformer, and there are practically no modern day gaming features (other than local 4-player co-op), there is just so much to do. As players run through stages, they will be constantly taunted with Golden Skull Coins that are just out of reach, hidden areas that you know are there thanks to small audio queues, and many more distractions. Completionists will have hours and hours of entertainment as they run around collecting Lums, emancipating Electoons from their cages, and chasing chests.
For the record, I have no clue what a Lum or an Electoon is, nor do I have any idea why Rayman and his friends have to save the Glade of Dreams from these evil creatures. But you know what? I don’t care either. Rayman: Origins takes me back to a day when I didn’t need a reason to play video games. I didn’t need complicated story arcs, or plot twists, or betrayals; just knowing that I was a plumber and that there is a princess that needed saving was enough for me and sometimes I just want to give my mind a break from all the garbage that gets shoved into it every day and just let my muscle memory take over. Rayman: Origins allows players to do so with its story that is so comically simple, it may as well not be there.
The unique hand drawn artwork of Rayman: Origins is simply breathtaking. Each level has its own sort of organic feeling to it and the different themes of stages throughout the game feature an insane range that could only exist in the world of Rayman. These visually stunning stages are completely off the wall; being able to run through a musical desert (as in sand, not ice-cream) or ice cold fruit punch with killer orange slices leaves a long lasting impression in your mind that is difficult to forget.
The level of creativity in Rayman: Origins is nothing short of amazing. The soundtrack in this game is absolutely astounding and perfectly captures the joyful energy of the eye-popping visuals. Gamers will regularly find themselves humming along to whimsical and compelling soundtrack. Throughout the game are moments where music ties in to what is actually happening on the screen; running along the back of a wind instrument snake, landing on drum platforms with different velocities, almost everything in this game exudes the feeling that Rayman: Origins was developed with nothing but love from its designers.
Spikes in Difficulty
Platformers are not easy games, they never have been, nor should they ever be. Games of this genre are meant to test your muscle memory, improve your hand-eye coordination, and improve reflexes until they are lightening fast. Rayman: Origins does just that over and over again and usually has very good checkpoint placement but there are times throughout the game where split second mistakes can cause you to go back all the way back to the beginning of the challenge; this is especially true when it comes to the boss battles as a single mistake can cause you to go through the first three stages of said boss battle for the 30th time.
Rayman: Origins is a love letter to a genre past, one that has helped propel the video game industry to the level of success that we have all benefit from; but unfortunately, this game is not for everyone. Despite the stunning artwork that is absolutely impossible to find a comparison, and a soundtrack the likes of which we have never seen this generation, the game can be a bit frustrating and can deter a small percentage of gamers who have been spoiled by such modern day mechanics as regenerating health, and the ability to save anywhere. Rayman: Origins is one game that must not be missed by anyone as it is a true beacon of light for those of us who enjoy platforming games, and remember a yesteryear when video games were innately fun simply because of the craftsmanship prevalent throughout the game.
[Editor’s Note: Rayman: Origins was reviewed on the PlayStation 3. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Rayman: Origins Review,