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Rayman Origins Review

When launched alongside the original PlayStation, 1995’s Rayman demonstrated the relevancy of an attractive 2D platformer alongside several ostentatious three-dimensional games. Regretfully, last year’s brilliant follow-up, Rayman Origins, didn’t quite have the same opportunity. Pitted against heavily marketing triple-A titles like Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, Batman: Arkham City, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, even near-unanimous critical acclaim wasn’t enough to elevate the title above an onslaught of solemn competitors. As such, Origins was quickly devalued to a sub-$20 price point.

With the release of a proficient port of Rayman Origins for the Vita, the game receives a much deserved second chance- albeit with an increase nearly back to its original MSRP.  Yet, when a title consistently inspires brazen smiles and reliably charms with imaginative level design, it’s easy to overlook little things like cost. Those assuming that the hop-and-bop genre is no longer germane are implored to discover the title’s copious charms.

Set across five main realms (along with an optional, final world) which range from verdant tropical jungles, gastronomic-infused lands, to mountainous locales, each environment tasks the game’s protagonist with freeing a confined nymph. Once Rayman locates the sequestered sprite, she confers a new skill to the hero, granting access to subaquatic stages or even imparting the ability to run up walls. When all of these talents are uncovered, another five worlds become available, followed by a final boss stage. In all, Rayman Origins contains sixty-six levels to explore, offering a nice sense of variety amidst an escalating level of challenge.

Although Origins’ difficulty ratchets up during the final third of the title, by the time players reach that point, they will have had plenty of training in preparation for the ultimate test. Like the console versions, the Vita iteration’s controls are spot-on, offering the ability to guide Rayman with either the directional pad or analog stick. Obsessives will be gratified to know to collecting every last Lum is made easier by the portable’s touch screen controls, allowing taps to capture the elusive beings. Additionally, players can adjust the size of the viewing area with a simple pinching gesture, which is useful for admiring Origins’ meticulous detailed stages. Miraculously, the visuals of the console version have been adapted without sacrifice, allowing the title’s vibrant parallax playfields to come alive on OLED screens.

One key element that is missing from Rayman’s transition to the touchscreen is the local multiplayer component. Working together to defeat enemies while still struggling to collect the most Lums, allowed console gamers to straddle the divide between cooperation and competition, and nurtured some spirited play sessions. Regretfully, ad-hoc multiplayer has been removed in place of a Ghost Mode. This supplementary converts the title’s stages into cutthroat speed runs, with the ability to post your best times on the Vita’s Near application. Additionally, players can collect and trade pieces of giant murals, recalling the 3DS’s Puzzle Swap.

With contemporary gaming obsessed with dystopian worlds cast in drab brown and grey hues, Rayman Origins’ vibrant, whimsical world is a sunny reminder of a halcyon past. Brimming with charm and fastidious polish, the title has made the jump from console to portable without misstep, much like the game’s own titular hero. With stages which breeze by in ten minutes or so, Origins’ is an impeccable addition to the Vita’s burgeoning library.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert ‘DesertEagle’ Allen is Tech-Gaming’s resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

20 comments

  1. I don’t know about the Vita version, but the PS3 one kicked ass. Great game.

    • They said it made money (in the long term). Still I can’t believe it was a huge success. I got it for $29.99 on launch week.

  2. Damn, Deagle you are on a roll. Do you do anything is your free time besides play games?

  3. Correction: The game does not prepare you for the bonus level, Land Of The Livid Dead. That stage is so damn hard it’s crazy.

  4. If I had a Vita, I’d double dip on this. I never finished it for console, but it’s one of the best platformers ever made.

  5. How long does game take to finish? please answer I think about buying very soon.

    • I probably put in close to 20 hours, but I tried to 100% it. Probably close to 15 hours for most people, YMMV.

  6. Thanks for the review DesertEagle. I just want to add that I got sucked into this just as much as Skyrim (but in a different way) Don’t let the cute graphics fool you.

  7. Honestly, I didn’t see what the big deal was over this game. It was fun and all, but just an average platformer to me.

  8. I bought the Wii version and was surprised how good the game was for the system. Some of those time trials are super hard, though.

  9. Let me tell you $40 isn’t bad for Raymond Origins at all. There’s at least 15 hours of play in it and more if you have to get everything.

  10. I bought this today, been playing it at work, sneaking off to the toilet to play a level. Haha.

  11. Everybody Loves Rayman.

    • God I hated that show.

      How could you desicrate this review? ;D

    • Didn’t SOMEONE have the same complaint as Wilt Chamberlain’s mistresses?

      “ITS TOO LONG”

      • I didn’t mean that it’s too long in general – it’s just that it’s longer than I would personally play a platformer. I’m sensitive to the fact that there are very few console platformers, and if I were the type of person that enjoyed playing them for longer than 1 or 2 hours at a time, then I would imagine that a 15-hour-long platformer (especially one of this high quality) would be like a gift from god.

        Imagine if you were a casual beat-em-up fan, and all of a sudden, Rare and SEGA drop a 20 hour long “Battletoads vs. Streets of Rage” game that is a marvel of modern technology. You might jump in and play for a few hours, say “wow! This is the beat-em-up EVER,” but you probably wouldn’t be compelled to finish it because you really only enjoy that type of game in small doses. I, on the otherhand, would probably play through it enough times to get all 198 different endings because BATTLETOADS!

        I wouldn’t take your hypothetical disinterest to mean that you think the game is too long, I just figure that maybe its too long for you. And that’s okay.

        That’s how I feel about Rayman Origins: It is an absolutely fantastic game, but not one that I personally feel the need to invest 15 hours into.

  12. I would play Battletoads vs. Streets of Rage until the aluminum chipped off the underside of the DVD, but I see what you’re saying.

    But on the other hand, value for the money is something people care about (see the six hour single player game cries that pop up), so offering more is almost always better.

    Remember that RO was originally conceived as a DLC game in separate parts.

  13. Look nice game! I want to play!