The Rayman franchise has been around for what seems like forever. I think I have played a different game in the series on every console I have owned. Every one of them was a great fun game, despite the fact that, over the years, the games industry has changed a lot and the 2D platformer has taken a back seat. With Rayman Origins, Ubisoft have proven that this is a genre that should definitely not be forgotten. This is a fantastically fun game, beautifully made with a crazy good multiplayer. So much of this game is simple, but as with many things, the simple ones are often the best.
You can often tell how a game will go from its story. In Rayman Origins, we join our hero Rayman and his best friend, Globox, with some of the Teensie in the Glade of Dreams. They are snoring and eating and their loud this noise disturbs a granny in the underworld who gets so angry she releases lots of evil and dark creatures. They turn the lovely world into various lands filled with lots of Darktoons that kidnap the Electoons and Nymphs. So you set off to bring order to the land and free the trapped Electoons and send the evil creatures back to where they came.
Anyone familiar to platform games will be right at home here as the controls are dead easy to learn. You can jump, hang, crawl, run and fight your way through the various levels and every time you learn a new move there is a brief tutorial that teaches you how to do it. The first thing that will get you about Rayman Origins is the look of it. The cartoony art look is absolutely lush, bright and vibrant. Simply put it’s stunning. You will be mesmerised by the detail in the background, foreground, the environments themselves and the characters on screen. All the details really add to the enjoyment of this 2D platformer as you can clearly see the love the artists and the designers have poured into this game.
The gameplay itself is also damn good, this is a platformer, so your job is to get from the left side of the screen to the right without dying. You climb and fight your way past the enemies, but this is not as easy as it sounds. The way the levels change makes this a challenging game, however, there is no point, not even during the epic boss battles, where you want to throw your controller against the wall. Instead, the difficulty is pitched just right so every failure just makes you more determined to beat it. The level design is also very clever as a lot of the time you will be thrown from the front of the screen to the background, at this point, the background becomes your main focus before you are thrown back into the foreground. It’s a nice switch and keeps you on your toes.
Rayman Origins really comes into its own, however, in multiplayer. Up to 4 players can play at the same time on the screen in a party mode. It’s so much damn fun playing with your friends as there is so much to collect and playing cooperatively helps you to collect all the Lums (the currency of Rayman). The more Lums you collect the more characters you can unlock as well as skins and challenges. As your friends go in different directions on the screen the camera zooms out and your characters get smaller. This does nothing to take away from the fun though, the way all of the levels have been designed with solo and multiplayer in mind is extremely impressive.
There is also variation in the gameplay thanks to the variety of different levels you’ll be travelling through. Whether you’re chase a treasure chest across a level – and can I just say, wow that’s hard – or riding a mosquito and shooting all-comers, Rayman Origins is constantly changing the focus to keep your mind and reflexes on their toes whilst always staying true to it’s core concept, and it’s this combination that makes playing it such a sheer joy.
The music is typically whimsical and fits the pace of the levels, it gets fast paced when it needs to and slows down when appropriate. The characters strange language is also funny to listen to, it’s a made up language but I think I sounds like pig latin. Thankfully all the conversations have English subtitles, so we are well looked after.
Overall, Ubisoft have bought the 2D platformer back in glorious style. Rayman Origins is a fantastic game that’s as good to play as it is to look at. The multiplayer adds tons of appeal to this game, but the main campaign mode is so fun that, even if you’re always playing solo, you will want to go back and collect everything anyway. Yes, there is no online mode, but that’s a good thing in my opinion as it has allowed Ubisoft to focus in on the core gameplay and make it perfect. Rayman Origins is truly a treat for your eyes, but as much as you’ll want to stop and enjoy the scenery, you will want to keep playing even more. The 2D platformer is back and Rayman has bought it back!
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