It's easy to say that in recent years, the Rayman franchise has been slipping, bogged down by mediocre party games under the 'Rabbids' subtitle. Considering the original and its two sequels were so great, this was rather disappointing - so 2011 title Rayman Origins was a joy for many. As the name implies, it's a 'return to roots' for the series, back to the 2D platforming of the original, which was released in 1995. Origins could easily have been a reminder that Rayman's glory days were long past; instead, it's a return to the series, bringing back the fun of the first games while breathing new life into the series.
The premise of Rayman Origins is simple. You're Rayman, everyone's favourite armless hero. When a force of evil creatures capture Electoons from around the world, he goes out to save them and rid the lands of the monsters in the process. Overall, it's an enjoyable concept - but it completely takes a backseat to the gameplay. Origins's gameplay, much like the story, is simple, but still very challenging and maddeningly fun. You control the protagonist from a 2D perspective across tens of levels. These are divided and placed into nearly ten different worlds, each one with a different theme and style. From jungles to icy caverns, there's plenty of wonderful imagery in store. Each level focusses on you ultimately reaching a cage, which you can destroy to save an Electoon. You'll need to punch through enemies and struggle over obstacles to reach the goal.
There's loads of extra content however - levels don't simply involve you rushing through to reach the 'finish line'. Electoon collecting is, basically, the game's currency and by completing additional activities you can earn you more and more of these. Each level contains Lums, of which you can obtain a certain amount to earn Electoons. While many of these flying yellow objects stay put in plain sight, some will linger in less visible areas such as narrow holes in the ground or dark alcoves in a cave. Collecting these is very compulsive and just missing one might send you a tingle of frustration. In addition to a cage at the end of the level, there are up to two hidden away in each level. They aren't stupidly well-hidden, but involve a fair bit of searching around to find. Finding all 240+ Electoons is hard work, but the reward is worth it: you unlock new characters to play as, and extra levels. These additional levels can all be completed to unlock the 'Land of the Living Dead' stage. It's an ultra-hard, horror-themed level that's nice to see in a landscape of overly accessible and easy games.
Unfortunately, there's a rather big omission from Rayman Origins when it comes to the Vita, which is the co-op mode. In the game on consoles you can play with up to three other friends. However, there're thankfully a few exclusive features on Vita. There are many more characters to unlock and a series of new collectibles to find called Relics. You can also take it on the go and is superior to the 3DS version, playing just as well and looking just as good as the console and PC versions.
New and unique art styles are being used a fair bit in gaming nowadays. From the cel-shaded visuals of The Walking Dead and Borderlands to the vibrant style of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, many new games look brilliant even if they don't have a great amount of detail and realism. Rayman Origins is another example, and is arguably the best-looking game on the Vita. It's bright, colourful and just beautiful in general. The style really fits in with the game's child-friendly tone; monsters look quite threatening but still have a somewhat comical look about them, and the character design is wonderful. The sound is also very good. As with the visuals, the music is very different but enjoyable, suiting the charismatic and charming style that the game offers. It also has interesting ideas with sound design; for example, one level sees you running across pianos and jumping on bongo drums to make noises. To conclude, the graphics and audio is fantastic.
Rayman Origins's childish look is deceptive; in fact, this is a game that would probably be more suited to older, more experienced gamers. At times it's very difficult, and a pleasant reminders of the superb and challenging platformers of old. The 2D platforming is a delight, and collecting everything the game has to offer feels like a necessity, because even the 7+ hour story mode doesn't feel like enough. Just as significant is the graphics; the game is superb to look at and has a brilliant art style. The music is also great, fitting in perfectly with the game's light-hearted tone. The Vita version is nearly every bit as good as the PS3 one, with the same stunning visuals and smooth gameplay, but the lack of a co-op mode is a disappointing omission here. Rayman Origins is a fantastically surprising game that should be experienced by everyone and - thank god - there's not a single Rabbid in sight.
Thanks for reading! This review is also on Ciao under my name YoshiCheesePuff.
Ok guys, this is my 1st review in way over a year so please be kind!
So Rayman Vita, what a fantastic game. I will begin with some background info on the title. This is a re tweaked game for the vita that was released last year for the main consoles, and is also being released eventually on the 3DS
Rayman is a classic side scrolling platform game with puzzle elements, secret areas and has alot of reply playability. The game looks stunning and looks identical to the XBOX 360 version which i also own. The game has moments of pure madness, but this really makes it stand out. You have to collect Lums which are like pink little living blobs. The more you collect the more levels you can unlock on the map as you go. You also unlock different characters on the way which you can select at anytime and these different characters have unique abilities which will help you on certain levels
I actually prefer this version as i feel it works better having it in the palm of your hand and also has a zoom feature on the screen which the console version never had. This is simply used like expanding a picture on an iphone etc.
The visuals are stunning as mentioned above, so clear and crisp and is probably the best looking game i have seen so far on the Vita (with uncharted). Even at times the screen is full of action and there is no slow down at all. This is highly impressive i have to say.
The music is highly addictive and cute, Very much like the PSP game Locoroco. Cute little songs that get stuck in your head. The sound effects are also great with the little Lums saying "Help me"
This game is BIG and even though it looks adorable it is far from easy, i have been stuck many times and have taken a good while unlocking later levels. It has been a pure joy playing this, and i still do to this day. I highly recommend this for anyone that has the best hand held ever!
I cant think of anything negative to comment on, cant wait for the planned sequel next year!