If you have been a gamer since the mid ’90s, you know who and what Rayman is all about. However, Rayman has been on a bit of a sabbatical of late. We have seen somewhat recent titles such as Rayman Raving Rabbids, but the game is as far from being a Rayman game as it possibly can be. Rayman Raving Rabbids is a good game in its own right, but this isn’t what I intend to review. For now at least.
Rayman Origins says and does exactly what its title implies. It is the recipe that made Rayman famous back in the day. If you fell in love with Rayman because of its highly addictive two-dimensional gaming, you will absolutely adore this new installment. Rayman Origins is 100 percent 2-D platforming mayhem with improved visuals, sound and controls that you’ve come to know with current generation consoles. The visuals are absolutely breathtaking hand-drawn eye candy that never gets old. The same holds true with the audio as well. The controls are crisp, responsive and spot on, which is highly important in a 2-D platformer. Every death — and trust me when I say you will die a lot — is of your own accord. You never feel cheated or as if the game is at fault for your untimely expiration. Speaking of losing lives, the game’s checkpoints are well-placed and keep us from getting frustrated. This keeps the stress levels down as there really isn’t much worry or punishment from losing one’s life and having to start over.
Rayman Origins offers up multiple ways to play and plenty of things to do. If you just want to complete each level and finish the game, you’re looking at doing this in a handful of hours. If you are a completionist, you will find many things to do. Each level has a medallion with either three or six empty slots for a reward to position itself into. These rewards are pink smiley face things called Electoons. You are awarded one Electoon for completing certain tasks within that level. The first two are for finding the hidden cages within the level. The third Electoon is for completion of that level. The fourth and fifth rewards are for collecting a certain number of “coins” called Teensies throughout the level. The required number tends to vary with each level, but the norm seemed to be your first reward for 200 Teensies collected and your second and final reward for 250. Your sixth and final Electoon reward is for completing the time trial for the level. Once you have completed your normal run through a level, most levels will then offer up a time trial of that level. Simply start the level again, kick the clock and a timer will start ticking away as you frantically run off into the distance. Some of these can be a little strenuous, but the feeling of gratification upon completing one of these is indescribable. There were a couple levels where I ran across the finish line with about a hundredth of a second to spare. I had to pause the game and ring out my controller and then immediately jumped back into the action.
There are many different surprises and variations to keep the game fresh and fun. It isn’t simply one side-scrolling level after side-scrolling level. Well ... it is, but the goal isn’t always the same. Some levels have you flying on a mosquito shooting pellets at oncoming enemies. There are a handful of epic boss battles. There are certain levels that have you chasing a sprinting treasure chest from one end of the board to the other. I found these treasure chest levels to be intense and extremely fun to play. If the treasure chest gets too far out in front of you, you will succumb to the elements behind you, die and start over. The rinse and repeat learning process of these levels is a blast. It feels as if you are getting smarter and becoming a better gamer. You will need to learn every nook and cranny within these treasure chest chases to catch him and be rewarded with what is inside. One wrong move while chasing him and you will certainly be starting the chase over. There is little, if any, room for error.
Rayman Origins does exactly as its name implies. It is Rayman in his true, original form, but with the visuals, sound and control of a current generation console. The game is insanely fun, contains a boat load of things to do and will keep you entertained and on your toes for multiple hours. Anyone who enjoyed Rayman back in the day will simply adore his latest installment. Anyone who enjoys two-dimensional side-scrolling platformers will be right at home here. It is clear that Rayman Origins was made with the gamer and love of the hobby in mind. If you enjoy sitting down in front of an awesome game, this one begs your attention.