For those that are not familiar with the Rayman franchise, Rayman Origins is not a new title. This game originally came out in November 2011 on most major consoles, but don’t let that discourage you. Rayman Origins is one of the better platforming games to come out last year, and now with a Playstation Vita port, the game looks just as good as ever. When this title was originally released, it was critically overlooked, but now gamers have a chance to see it again. Hopefully, gamers will come to appreciate this title for what it is: an excellent game.
The story starts with Rayman and his friend sound asleep by the snoring tree. Rayman and his crew are snoring so loudly that they disturb a granny from “The Land of the Livid Dead”. She yells at Rayman and his friends to wake up, but they manage to stay asleep, despite her best efforts. She then resorts to sending her creatures to the surface to take care of the problem by capturing Rayman and company. You then have to break out of your cages and save the Glade of Dreams from being overrun by dark creatures.
Where Rayman Origins really shines, is the hand drawn 2D-graphics. All the textures and colorful and bright, and it provide players with a beautiful and engrossing gaming atmosphere. Whether you are swimming in the haunted caverns or jumping across tree branches in the jungle, the game’s quirky charm shines through, and never looked better doing it. The animations themselves are extremely fluid and have a strong sense of realism about them. It is as if you are playing a live-action cartoon, which is something you don’t see too often in modern gaming.
The controls in this game as especially strong, as well. The game’s pacing is fast, and encourages you to move quickly across platforms. You will face more than one time where the stage is collapsing behind you, and you need to make a break for it before you collapse with it. There is also a sense of weight to Rayman, so a stop-and-go approach will cause you to miss your jumps. In addition to the jumps, most enemies require a front-facing attack, so getting a running start is always recommended. So while games like Uncharted reward a slow and steady approach, Rayman Origins is quite the opposite. Fortunately for all, the controls on the Vita are excellent, much like its console counterpart. The Vita feels responsive, and you never feel like you failed the mission because you couldn’t get Rayman to do what you wanted to do.
Gamers should be warned that this game is particularly difficult. The game starts out with a relatively gentle learning curve, but before long, you will find that this game gets quite unforgiving. Thankfully, the game has a number of check points in each level, so you’ll be able to keep playing the parts you have trouble with until you finally conquer them. There are also a large number of collectibles found throughout the game, which seem like a novelty at first, but get critically important as the game marches forward. As you find collectibles, rewards are unlocked, and they really help you down the home stretch. Though the collectibles add to the experience, those that don’t like collecting items in a game may not enjoy this aspect.
The Playstation Vita version could be considered a port of the console versions, but there are a few differences that gamers should be aware of. This version does not have co-op like the console did. Instead, the game saves your path and time through each level, allowing you to replay those levels with your “ghost” showing your previous pace. It also keeps your friends updated with your best scores and paths, so there is a fun competitive aspect that has been added to the game. You can also share your accomplishments using the Near function on the Vita. Though this doesn’t take the place of co-op, it is still fun.
Since this game is essentially a straight port, this version of the game does not take advantage of any Vita-only controls. All the movements and actions are completed using the face buttons. This keeps the integrity of the game intact, since adding controls that weren’t available in the original game might come off as a gimmick, rather than an improvement, in the game.
Rayman Origins is an excellent game, worthy of any Vita owner’s library. The graphics look great, the colors are bright, and it delivers a solid 2D-platforming experience that is rarely seen in the gaming world. Whether you loved the Rayman titles or you are new to the series, this game is a worthy investment for any collection.
This review is based on a review copy of the Playstation Vita version of Rayman Origins by Ubisoft