Rayman Origins Review
Generic brown shooters are boring. Sure, I play them, but I’m not exactly sure why. A majority of the third/first-person shooters that came out last year are good in their own right, but they don’t seem all that original or engaging. The stories in these games may have one or two moments that really suck you in, but for the most part it’s the same stuff we’ve gotten before. In a sense, TPS/FPS games could be considered the procedural TV cop dramas of video games in that the market is so saturated with them that its hard to notice or care when a new one is released because they all just tend to bleed together. That being said, if shooting games are the cop dramas, then Rayman Origins is the wacky Saturday morning cartoon show you watched as a kid. This game reminds me why I hate TV cop dramas.
Rayman Origins, developed and published by Ubisoft, is a 2D sidecrolling platformer starring Rayman and his friends as they battle an evil force that has been disturbed by, well, Rayman and his friends (in a hilarious, yet cool opening cinematic). For the most part, this is all the story you get which is a breath of fresh air for people who just want to enjoy the game. The game begins with you and up to 3 of your friends playing as Rayman, the big blue frog-thing Globox, and tiny blue creatures known as Teensies. Players go from world to world, completing levels and their challenges in order to obtain Electoons which are needed to continue on to new worlds, unlock secret areas, and unlock new characters. Players can jump, attack, sprint, and… well that’s about it aside from several new moves learned throughout the game. Although this isn’t such a bad thing as you have to worry less about controls and more about having fun.
Each level is pretty straightforward, with a few secret areas to find. Ubisoft deserves much praise for the level design though, as many of the levels are lain out so that a player can sprint through an entire stage jumping on enemies, swinging from vines, breaking through barriers, and jumping up walls without breaking their stride. Lums, which act as points towards a level end reward of more Electoons, are littered throughout the stages both hidden and in plain sight. Trying to collect all or as many of them as you can adds to the game’s challenge as many extra Lums will float away or are tucked in a narrow passageway surrounded by spikes. Nothing changes too much from level to level in terms of the gameplay formula, although the game does throw new things at you from time to time, such as the last stage of every world which has you riding on the back of a mosquito and shooting enemies ala Gradius.
As I said before, Rayman Origins is a cartoon. This game has got to be one of the most vibrant, detailed, gorgeous games I’ve played since Odin Sphere. Everything from the environments to the characters is beautifully drawn to the point where you feel like this shouldn’t be a video game, but rather a cartoon on Nickelodeon. The in game worlds at first seem to be your standard “Forest World, Ice World, Fire World”. However, these areas have so much personality and charm that you can’t help but fall in love. Whether you’re jumping on drums in the Desert Of Dijiridoos or dodging flying forks in Gourmand Land, you can be assured that each new world will be completely unique and a blast to play. The art style and the environments are great on their own, but the music really brings it all together. Everything from ukuleles to kazoos and even chipmunk-esque vocals (I promise you, it’s good) further suck you into Rayman’s world and fill your head with tunes that get stuck for days.
Not owning Rayman Origins will leave a cold, empty space in your game collection. Not playing Rayman Origins will leave a cold, empty space in your heart. This game reminds me about how awesome it was to be a kid, where I played video games to have a great time and challenge myself as opposed to playing for trophies/achievements. A lot of gamers will pass this game up thinking that Rayman Origins is some kiddie game, but since when did “Game for kids” mean “Game not for grown-ups”? Oh well, their loss.
Final Score: 10/10