Rayman Origins is the brand new 2D platform title from Ubisoft which follows Rayman on his journey to set everything back to normal after the Glade of Dreams is seized by evil creatures. This time around Rayman has 3 companions to help him out, Globox and two Teensies. While the game is just being released on consoles it will be released on handheld consoles at a later date. Nevertheless has the time of the 2D platformer passed and will the fight against evil be one too many? Or will Rayman Origins see the return of a gaming icon?
Let’s find out and kick off the HOTs and NOTs.
Players will find a wealth of content in Rayman Origins. As people play through the 2D platformer they will enjoy plenty of levels and stages and this is just the start. The stages themselves offer hours of entertainment value, as players attempt to collect Lums and rescue Electoons, in addition to just trying to beat the harder sections. Even after playing all the main stages there are amusing things to do. While trying to obtain the Golden Skull coins can be fun, finding hidden stages is even better. Fortunately players who pay close attention to the game will find the hidden stages rather easily thanks to helpful audio hints. Player can also expect to unlock amusing character skins while playing, providing another reason to replay the game.
Rayman Origins has a unique cartoony artwork style which players will instantly fall in love with. The style lends itself to the game well presenting extremely colourful and vibrant themes that the stages revolve around. The cartoony style also means odd themes seem completely normal in the world of Rayman: with a musical desert, to name just one, feeling perfectly at home. The games stunning presentation doesn’t stop at the exceptional visual experience it extends to an incredible soundtrack which allows players to sink slowly into immersive title. The soundtrack features nothing that simply fades away and ranges from lounge jazz to native like music. With such an amazing graphical style and music that is a treat to the ears of gamers; Rayman Origins is worth playing simply for this experience.
Rayman Origins maybe a visually pleasing game but more importantly the gameplay is as solid as ever. Each level offers something different from the last. Whilst the change is occasionally only minimal there is always enough to keep the gameplay fresh, especially with the inclusion of boss fights. The typical level sees players attempting to save Electoons, earning new tools and using Rayman’s wide range of unlockable abilities to safely get through different situations. These abilities range from merely swimming to hovering and shrinking. Each ability adds a unique element to the gameplay and is periodically used through-out the game. Thus none of them seem overused.
Some may dislike the difficulty present in Rayman Origins but it’s a nice change to have a form of a challenge. Too often are games incredible easy, with players beating the game within hours and defeating bosses first time with minimal effort but this isn’t the case with Rayman Origins. Like many other platformers Origins will often test your hand eye coordination and speed and although this can result in some frustration, it means the game offers a pleasant challenge. One boss battle took me nearly 10 times to complete due to somewhat silly mistakes. On the one hand this was irritating at the time but on the other afterwards it was much more satisfying knowing I had defeated the boss than if I had defeated the boss first time. The biggest challenge to get around, if somehow you are new to the 2D platform genre, would be understanding the Rayman world itself with some platforms moving and others dissolving. For those who often play the genre this will be relatively natural for you.
Rayman Origins is a fun game to play alone but it leaps in entertainment value when other players join in. The entire game has been developed tremendously well for cooperative play allowing players to reach otherwise near impossible to get to areas. Co-op also removes some of the annoyance from the game. When a friend fails at a section it is clearly an opportunity to make them look stupid but only if you can manage to do it first time; so be careful before you brag and end up looking daft. When playing on your own failing sections can be irritating, as you have to restart at a checkpoint but when it’s not your fault you friend will definitely get the blame. Unfortunately one thing to note is that despite the fact that co-op is so fun it is only local co-op.
While the storyline does hold the game together it does little else to majorly advance the engrossing nature of the title. While it is obviously a tale of good versus evil and saving the Glade of Dreams the storyline is regrettably forgettable. The main cause of this is because the story has been kept fairly simple. An amazing narrative or plotline is hardly needed for a 2D platformer but something more than the standard may have just made Rayman Origins that bit better. Thankfully most players will ignore the lack of an intricate plot as they will be too busy trying to save that last Electoon.
Rayman Origins is the 2D platformer that does everything you want to an astoundingly high level of quality. The presentation is sublime. It is tough to find another game out there which pulls off such a unique graphical style as well as Rayman Origins does. The gameplay will take you back to when 2D platforming was at the height of gaming and give you something completely fresh from the monotonous stream of first person shooters that saturate today’s market. The co-op element of Rayman Origins makes the game exceedingly entertaining which is why I don’t understand why a form of online play wasn’t included. Overall, if you a fan of the genre Rayman Origins should be an instant purchase and if you not it is still well worthy playing.
[Editor’s Note: Rayman Origins was reviewed on the Xbox 360. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]