You need Rayman Origins in your gaming life
There's a certain something that a lot of platforming games completely miss the mark on these days. It doesn't matter how much content or excitement you cram into a platformer if you fail to take heed of just how important the feel of game's controls is. Make it too floaty, and frustration will soon set in. Make it too restricted, and players won't bother to come back for more.
Rayman returns to his 2D roots more than 15 years after he first showed us all how it’s done, and manages to tighten his grip on platforming slickness with an even greater showing of prowess. It's impossible not to give Rayman Origins a perfect score.
The Glade of Dreams has been overrun by the Darktoons, and it's all Rayman's fault. Fortunately, he's not one to simply sit by and watch the world tumble down around him, and he sets off on an epic journey with his friend Globox.
The first most striking thing about Rayman Origins is those visuals. I mean, let's be honest here - when was the last time that you saw a game that looks this gorgeous, either 2D or 3D? It's such an incredible art style, with a serious amount of finesse pumped into both the background and foreground surroundings.
Coupled with Rayman's looks come the ruddy brilliant soundtrack and the game's frequent splashes of humor. As a single, well-rounded package, it all feels so effortlessly spot-on, making up perhaps the most complete world we've seen in a video game in a long while. Any other game that can match Rayman Origins for personality should be very proud of itself, as here lies the king.
Now that we've stopped gushing over the aesthetics, let's discuss the gameplay (warning: prepare for more gushing). Rayman Origins delights with pixel-perfect runs and jumps, wallkicks, chases, escapes, bounces, the works. The level design is so spectacular that we found ourselves constantly mouthing the word 'wow' and then dying, due to the fact that we were concentrating too hard on how bloody wonderful it all is.
The controls marry themselves well with the level layout, giving possibly the tightest feel since Super Meat Boy in 2010. This is classic platforming if ever we saw it, with a huge dose of the 2010s. The keyboard isn't the most fantastic scheme to use, but it's absolutely doable. If you have a gamepad or an Xbox 360 controller, you'd do well to plug that in instead.
As you explore each level of Rayman, there are multiple secret areas to find, cages to break open, coins to collect, boss battles to overcome, time trials to destroy -- and that moment when you realise that you're only halfway through the game is mind-blowing. If you're looking for a game filled to the brim with content, it's difficult to look past the bulge that is Rayman Origins.
There's such variety too, as each world is based on different themes and settings, from underwater levels and fiery environments, to flying through the air on the back of the buzzing mosquito from the original 90’s game. Our favorite levels by far, however, are those that ask you to chase a treasure chest on legs, with precision timing needed to make each and every jump.
Rayman Origins sure gets tricky towards the end of the game, but it's never too frustrating, as death simply leads to you restarting from the door of the same room, meaning you never lose more than 30 seconds of play. Even when you do die, you'll usually find yourself laughing out loud at the peculiarity of your passing, be it from a flying fork, or a giant bouncing sponge.
If you've got a friend or three around your place, plug a bunch of controllers into your computer, sit some chairs around the monitor, and you're laughing. Up to four-player co-op is supported, and all four people can run and jump through levels with intense glee. You can even interact with each other, punching and pulling to the ends of annoyance, which fans of LittleBigPlanet will definitely enjoy.
The only real bad thing we can say about Rayman Origins is that we really wish there was online co-op play. There aren't many people who will want to sit around a PC screen playing together, and online play would have really helped.
Rayman Origins can be summed up in one word: Glorious. Whether you're into your platforming games or not, and no matter what you think of the blonde-haired buffoon, this game is most definitely worth your time. Miss this at your peril.
- Gorgeous visual style. Slick, tight controls. Brilliant level design. Tons of content.
- We wish it had online co-op!