Rayman seems to have a way of making comebacks. If anyone told you that the 2D platform genre was dead, they obviously never counted on this French limbless wonder to come bounding back into it.
Of course, Rayman has already made a new name for himself as the headline act in the Raving Rabbids series, but now he’s back to doing what he does best in Ubisoft Montpellier’s new 2D adventure and he’s even managed to make his way on to Sony’s PS Vita, the scamp!
For those who’ve played the game on the PS3, Xbox 360 or PC you know the score. For everyone else, this is a classic left to right action platform game where Rayman and his various friends are tasked with rescuing rather voluptuous fairies from the jaws of evil monsters for some unfathomable reason (I certainly couldn’t work out the story, beside Rayman’s band of friends being woken from their slumber by an annoyed neighbour).
The story doesn’t really matter anyway, as what we have here is a beautiful old fashioned platform game with some fresh ideas embroidered into the material like a well woven silk coat. Not that you’ll be stopping for too long to take it all in, Origins pretty much begs you to move forward with every move you make and asks you to leap, jump and bounce off every available piece of scenery while snagging Lums, the currency of choice in Rayman’s world, and finding special hidden levels along the way.
The game is nice enough to ease you in to all this movement by providing some fairly simple gameplay for the first few missions before gradually ramping up the difficulty until constant restarts are needed to reach the end. It’s testament to the game that this never becomes a chore. Maybe it’s because you just want to see what mad, brave new world Rayman will enter next, but the fact is that the game never feels as if it’s unfairly punishing you; it’s all down to your skill rather than bad level design.
On the PS Vita’s screen Rayman Origins manages to look just as impressive as it’s console cousins did, maybe even more so as you take into account that everything moves so fluidly on a handheld device while the many layers of animation all work their charms. The hand-drawn art style, bright pastel colours and lush scenery gel together to create a world so beautiful that you wonder how its all possible.
Plenty of unlocks open as you collect Lums and find secret mini-boss levels. These open up new characters or suits to use, some of which make a difference during the game and others less so. It’s nice to have the option, though. Also unlocked are new powers for our limbless friend, from a helicopter style hover to a wall climbing ability. Every one of these is tested in the next set of levels and needs to be mastered in order to continue.
But some concessions have obviously had to be made for the Vita and it’s the co-op mode which gets the boot here. This may be a shame, considering how fun it was on console, but at least Ubisoft have found a half-replacement in the Ghost mode. Playing old levels over again will pair you with the ghost of your last playthrough, allowing you to compete with older times to finish the level faster. It’s a nice addition that goes some way to covering the loss of co-op.
Rayman Origins on Vita is a very similar game to the original console version, an impressive feat given the high quality graphics and gameplay. While those who’ve already completed this game will find little to drag them back, players who are new to the game have a lot to look forward to.