Rayman Origins Review

Rayman Origins

The Raving Rabbids have been holding down the Rayman fort for the past few years now, but it’s about time the title character got back in on the action. Rayman Origins marks the triumphant return of the limbless protagonist, but this time in a more scaled-back fashion. The newest entry abandons the 3D world in favor of a more stylized and straightforward approach, and it’s all the better for it. The series’ goofy charm is still there, but the astounding art design and sound fundamentals are what make Rayman Origins a real winner.

Any notion of storytelling in Rayman Origins is practically non-existent. The only goal is to collect enough Electoons to move on to the next area, and this simple approach is one of game’s greatest strengths. It manages to draw from the nostalgic wonder of old 2D platforming classics while remaining fun and exciting in the modern videogame landscape. There aren’t any show-stopping features or innovative game mechanics. It’s just a well-made 2D platformer firing on all cylinders.

Of course simplicity can only go so far in a 2D platformer if the mechanics and level design are lacking. Luckily, Rayman Origins doesn’t have either of those problems in the slightest. Initially players only start off with the ability to run and jump, but throughout the game various new skills are obtained, such as flying and running up walls. Entire worlds seem to be dedicated to each of these abilities, all of which feel incredibly satisfying thanks to the precise controls. As the game moves on and becomes more complex, players are tasked with using all of the learned abilities in tandem with each other. At this point the level design really starts to shine, as players go from running up slopes to dodging jellyfish as they traverse the sea in a matter of moments.

Rayman Origins

There are also branching pathways in each of the levels that will entice the completionist in everyone. Only by finding these secret passages can all of the Electoons be obtained in an effort to gain achievements/trophies. In addition, a substantial amount of Electoons are often needed to unlock the extra levels in which players chase an elusive treasure chest. These sequences are intense and nerve-wracking since the margin for error is minuscule. It provides a nice change of pace from the main game, which is challenging in its own right. The checkpoints are generous, but in the moment there can be some tricky sections, especially during the latter portion of the game. But it’s that perfect kind of balancing act where the game isn’t a cakewalk and also doesn’t prove frustrating.

There are a couple of noteworthy multiplayer issues that hold Rayman Origins back though. For one, the lack of online co-op is disappointing. It’s understandable in this day and age for games to omit the option for local co-op, but Rayman Origins does the exact opposite. Even more troublesome is the fact that the local co-op doesn’t really stand out. Up to four people can play the game together and there are some good times to be had when traveling through each level with a few buddies. On the flip-side, nothing really changes when players are added. The experience ends up feeling similar to the single-player portion of the game, and don’t be surprised if a friend or two gets left behind on the more difficult levels.

Rayman Origins

It’s not often that visuals actively make a game more enjoyable, but Rayman Origins is one of those rare cases. The graphics don’t tie into the gameplay in any meaningful way, but there’s something about the hand-drawn detail and environmental variety that just brings the game to life. Imaginative worlds include an underwater sea cavern and what looks like a kitchen you would find in hell. On top of that, the 2D animation is as good as it gets. With all of that eye candy in the game, it’s likely that people will overlook the music. But the score in the game complements the unique art style well, perfectly encompassing each new world.

In recent years there has been a nostalgic renaissance of sorts for 2D platformers with games like Kirby’s Epic Yarn and Donkey Kong Country Returns. Rayman Origins can now be added to that list, as it takes the best parts of the beloved genre and delivers a game full of charm and wonder. The cooperative multiplayer issues are unfortunate since they prevent the game from entering into that elite class of 2011 releases, but anyone looking for an expertly crafted game that will help put a smile on his or her face should definitely consider giving Rayman Origins a try.


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Author: Anthony LaBella View all posts by
My first experience playing a video game blew me away. The fact that Super Metroid was that game certainly helped. So I like to think Samus put me on the path to video games. Well, I guess my parents buying the SNES had a little something to do with it. Ever since then my passion for video games has grown. When I found that I could put words together into a coherent sentence, videogame journalism was a natural interest. Now I spend a large majority of my time either playing video games or writing about them, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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