Rayman Origins

Rayman Origins
Format: Xbox 360
Players: 1-4
Genre: Platformer
Release Date: 25th November 2011
Ubisoft

An origin story gives you the details on how your favourite characters became who they are today, though usually end up telling you nothing worthwhile and forming more plot holes. Rayman Origins doesn’t really give anything about the past of our limbless hero, but there is plenty worthwhile in this platformer. The limbless, the big one and the two little things set off on an adventure quite unlike any other. An adventure stained with the blood of fallen heroes.

Rayman Origins has much in common with New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Three other players can drop into the beautiful 2D world at anytime, and the healthy team of four must work together to find the secrets and reach the goal. With one hit kills without the aid of a heart power-up, the character turn into bubbles upon death, floating around till someone saves them. Douchebaggery is also available as you can smack each other and cause all-sorts of manic mayhem. Multiplayer Origins is brilliant fun with many a laugh out loud moment, but the more players, the more confusing it can all get. Each of the levels contain hidden doors and hundreds of yellow blobs called Lums to collect, good luck grabbing all that stuff when you have an impatient gamer wanting to blast through.

Rayman Origins is best played either alone or with one other when it comes to the great collectathon race. Each level holds three cages to find, three hundred and fifty yellow Lums to grab for the medal and most stages come with an extra time trial challenge. Charging through the game will provide a fun time, but going for gold opens the game up in more satisfying ways. Collecting Lums unlocks extra character skins and stages, and the stages are perhaps the best in the whole game. Outside of the levels stuffed full of enemies, secrets and careful platforming, these secret stages have you chasing a treasure chest. You have to charge after it, perfecting each jump, wall jump and obstacle dodging. Skills are put to the test and completing them is a reward in itself. Death comes often in Rayman, but infinite lives and quick loading means it is never annoying. Only you are the one to blame… most of the time.

Rayman Origins is a beautiful game full of imagination and charm. Jungles are filled with breaking platforms, deserts contain piano floors and flute snakes and the mountains allow you to run up the side breaking through the clouds. Happy music accompanies the gorgeous levels, though the cheery ‘doo doo doo’ from the backing singers won’t be for everyone, especially when you begin to die a fair bit. These worlds and ingenious level design focusing on fluid acrobatic perfection are a joy to view and play, but sometimes it is too much. The background and foreground aren’t always clear, leading to unfair death and this is the biggest problem with the game. Clear enemies swirling around in the water stages might as well be invisible and in multiplayer the camera can cause all sorts of hell in the chase sequences, as it gets confused on who to follow; anyone off the camera focus are as good as dead. Splat. I also had much trouble trying to bounce off floating enemies, only the head will launch you, anything else expect to fly through.

Rayman Origins however is an essential game for those who love to platform. It has healthy competition on the Wii with the likes of Mario, Donkey Kong and Kirby, but it manages to stand by them proudly. On the 360 and PS3 which neglects 2D platforming to the download marketplaces, it is nigh on essential. Don’t let Rayman’s last venture be in his origins!

8/10

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