* Best Platforming Game of 2011
Rayman, the 16 year old veteran, returns for another charming run under Ubisoft's vigilant eye. Refreshing and gracefully rendered we are more than happy Rayman's limbless body back on the digital screen.
From his 1995 debut on the Playstation till now, Rayman has spammed most of the gaming hardware over the years. Overshadowed by other platforming icons, Rayman is still woefully unfamiliar to most gamers, although not to worry, it is easy to get caught up. For Rayman it is simple, he is a magical limbless do-good critter who runs, jumps, and swims his way across the land being the helpful saviour for all. From 1995 to 2011 not much has changed, and sometimes that's a good thing.
Toons, Dreamers, Nymphs... oh my
Fast forward to 2011, 'Rayman Origins' puts a little more emphasis on its tale, although you don't need to pay too much attention because what you're sticking around for is the exceptional gameplay and artstyle. Nevertheless, for those interested here is a short synopsis; Rayman his buddies fight the Darktoons who contaminated the 'Glade of Dreams.' This world created by the "Bubble Dreamer" is filled with strange and beautifully rendered creatures, from grumpy cane wielding seniors to well endowed nymphs. Its pure imagination unleashed. Wonderful simplistic, yet artist design. Truly, Rayman (or most games for that matter) never looked so good.
Wii are glad to see you
Released for the three consoles, we're having a look at 'Rayman Origins' on the Xbox 360 and Wii. Excited to see how the Wii edition held up, expectations fell right in line because the Wii edition holds up to its friendly counterpart. While the HD shine might be lacking on the Wii, the game is basically the same with the added configuration of wiggling-and-waggling. Although, the Wii would be my second choice, simply because the 360's gamepad is more comfortable and precise, the Wii classic controller is also compatible, if you are worried about arm fatigue. If you only own a Wii and want a solid platforming game aside from Mario, this is it. Rayman has taken a back set to the moustached plumber over the years, but after the release of Origins, the times, they be a changing.
The gameplay in "Origins" is that of a traditional 2D side-scrolling platform. A refreshing change from all the games that try to innovative and expand on concepts that still works in its most basic form. Sure, Rayman is “artistic” but it's not to the point of being overly “artsy” simply to set itself apart. The drop-in-or-out co-op optional jumping is good enough for me, and great for any level of gamer. Although I did find "Origins" to be a challenging in a few areas, its nothing a little platforming rust couldn't cure. Mind you, co-op can be downright crazy, so I suggest playing through a few levels solo before you start inviting you slap-happy friends into the mix.
In a standard level-by-level progression you will swing, jumping and fight your way to the end of each level. In basics, travel left-to-right without dying. Aside from simply surviving the levels you will need to rescue little Electoons that are imprisoned, but first you'll need to find them. These “Hidden Room Challenges” are hidden in each world and are optional to find and clear. To break up the action Rayman will also mount a big eyed (legless) mosquito for some side-scrolling shooting action. This mosquito shoots and sucks items to use against the bigger enemies. One more variation to the common Darktoon busting are 'Treasure Chest' selections where you must chase a speeding treasure chest through a deadly course. The entire time you are playing through "Origins" you will also focus on collecting gold (or red) Lums, which act as the currency to purchase unlockables. Quickly, unlockables offer new characters and costumes that are worth working towards. The visual stimulation of a new character is enough. Rayman and his pal Globox are great, but those little Teensies, man they are cut little buggers. // Pokemon much? I gotta collect them all!
An amazing spectacle, yes!
Visually "Origins" is an amazing spectacle of hand-drawn art. Seriously, 2D never looked so good. Every inch of Rayman's diverse landscapes are filled with detail, so much that you can feel the love for the project emanating through its expression. "Origins" is so rich its almost better just to look at the screens then to put it into words. Truly a joy to discover, like us you will fall in love with the art style/direction.
While the visual impression is (obviously) strong, lets not forget about the level design that put the beauty in context. Each level has been skillfully crafted to keep the player motivated and better yet, moving. New abilities/mechanics are introduced at the perfect times to feel like you’re always progressing. Even if you’re unfamiliar with Rayman, you will feel like you’ve known him forever as you romp through his world.
In a season filled with 3D shooters and realistic action games, 'Rayman Origins' is the alternative treatment we needed. Hands down this is one of the best games to come out this year, if not for its simple traditional 2D side-scrolling gameplay, for its breathtaking visual fidelity. This one is for the fans; this one is for those who remember and urine for a worthy rebirth of the side-scrolling days of old. Rejoice, Rayman has returned.
Similar Games: New Super Mario Bros. (8.2) | Earthworm Jim HD (8.4) | Kirby's Epic Yarn (8.8)