REVIEW: Rayman Origins

Rayman OriginsDeveloped by – Ubisoft Montpellier

Published by – Ubisoft

Number of Players – 1-4

Platform – Xbox 360 (Reviewed), PS3, PlayStation Vita, 3DS, Wii, PC

Release Date – Out now for Xbox 360, PS3, Wii and PlayStation Vita. 3DS – March 20th, 2012
PC – March 29th, 2012 

Genre – Platform

ESRB – Everyone 10+

MSRP – $29.99-$39.99

As with Sega recently did with Sonic the Hedgehog, Ubisoft has taken its limbless hero back to his roots. Originally intended as episodic content for XBLA/PSN, Rayman Origins returns to the 2D side-scrolling style of the original. While it may be called Origins, which may imply it’s an origin story, it is in fact a sequel in the bright, cartoon style of the first adventure.

The story sees the nasty residents of the Land of the Livid Dead, the Darktoons, emerge from their underworld lairs to wreak havoc on Rayman’s home, the Glade of Dreams. The reason for their invasion is that Rayman and his friends’ snoring is driving them mad. So Rayman and company take it upon themselves to rid the Glade of Dreams of the Darktoons, thus returning it to the tranquil haven it once was.

Starting out, Rayman’s only ability is being able to jump. Those who remember the original Rayman will recall, it was the same back then. And just like the previous instalments, Rayman’s powers are acquired at different stages, by rescuing the captive fairy, Betilla and her nymph friends. As each is rescued, you are awarded a different ability. The game has got quite the learning curve. Things start out quite basic, but the difficulty soon spikes, with the levels being quite testing at times. While not on the same level of difficulty, at some stages you would be forgiven for comparing the game to Dark Souls!

Electoons make a return to the fold (the spherical pink things with pony tails that are trapped in cages), and these are scattered around each level. Some are right in front of you, and some are not so obvious, with them being hidden in secret areas. Electoons are a valuable resource, as not only do the act as a currency to unlock extras, they also unlock other areas. Also featuring again are the golden collectible winged creatures, the Lums. These are scattered throughout each level for Rayman to hoard. Collecting a specific amount of Lums will unlock even more Electoons.

A superb addition to the game is 4 player co-op, as you and up to 3 other try and whizz through level as best you can. The extra multiplayer characters come in the form of Rayman’s side-kick, Globbox, and two Teensies. There are several alternative costumes available to unlock, meaning that you can differentiate between players on screen, or just to have fun with the different styles of dress available. The co-op mode has all players on screen at once, making for a frantic experience, but overall an amusing one. And if there’s a slower player, there’s a form of auto catch-up so no one gets left behind.

Rayman Origins is a visually striking game, with some of the finest, vivid art work yet to have graced the current generation. Its high definition comic style really adds that extra bit of character, making the landscapes and levels really come to life, be it the lush greenery of Jibberish Jungle or the frozen ice-caps of Gourmand Land.

Rayman Origins may just be the surprise platform gem of this generation. Most games these days tend to be too straight forward, and while this sticks to the basic platform formula of running from left to right, it does so in such a fashion as to actually challenge the gamer. This may be a bit bold, but Rayman Origins is quite possibly the best platform game since Super Mario World on the SNES.

Story: 2 / Graphics: 5 / Audio: 5 / Gameplay: 5 / Overall: 5

About James Lamming

When not contributing to Kabooooom, I'm videogames editor at www.horrorcultfilms.co.uk. I'm a film and games obsessive and enjoy the odd comic, too.

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