Rayman's back on his original plaforming routes after being overshadowed by the Rabbids,but does the limbless hero still holds up his game after such a long time from his last original adventure,or should he have stayed forgotten?
Rayman Origins is Rayman's 2D revival from the Rabbids,released for the Wii,Xbox 360(the version I got),PS3,PC,3DS and PS VITA in 2011/2012,and before we get to the action,let's dive onto the game's plot.
It starts by showing Rayman,Globox,two Teensies and the Bubble Dreamer sleeping and snoring in the Snoring Tree,making some sort of rythm ironically,eventually infuriating the creatures from the Land of the Livid Dead,making them rise against the Glade of Dreams,the land Rayman and company live on,and so with that,they go off in an adventure to stop them.The story is quite funny if you think about it,since the game does have some wacky humor around it's presentation,which is overally great,and it's hilarious to think that a little bit of snoring could provoke the bad ones to force them for revenge so badly like the game demonstrates,so I think the plot was actually quite decent on that topic.
Since I mentioned the presentation being great already,let me explain why.The game already haves you laughing hard from the opening cinematic after you start the game,(indicating this game has a fair amount of good humor)starting the first level of the game haves you getting used to the controls pretty easily,and the handrawn visuals are just gorgeous and spontaneous to look at,giving you impressions that it did have focused effort and care put into it,and with that,you'll easily like the game from the start,and that's something to give credit for.
The gameplay,even if it is in 2D,is actually different from the first Rayman game.Rayman doesn't throw energy balls(or whatever they're called) on his own anymore,but he still has his 'helicopter-hair' from the old days.Also,he's not the only playable character this time around.You can take control of Globox and the Teensies,and as you progress further in the game,you will unlock other characters(which are basically re-skins of the three protagonists) by saving a requested amount of Electoons,which purpose I'll explain later in this review,but back to their playstyles.They all play the same,only with different animations.You can walk,sprint and jump,as the usual basics of a platformer,and you can also glide while in air,and punch/kick,and you can also charge your punches in three directions,while sprinting and in air.You don't get all of what the gameplay has to offer from the beginning dough,and that includes attacking(punching) and even gliding,since throughout the game,you'll earn them by freeing the 'Bodacious Nymphs of the Glade' in the first level of each world,with Betilla(from the first Rayman game,and the one who gives you the ability to attack) being the eldest all of them all.Alongside punching and gliding,you'll also unlock the ability to change size,swim deeper in the water and run through walls and ceilings,all of which are unlocked in five different worlds:Jibberish Jungle(jungle themed),Desert of Dijiridoos(desert themed),Gourmand Land(ice and fire themed),Sea of Serendipity(water themed)and Mystical Pique(snow and mechanical themed)all of which having an unique twist of design and creatively great levels within them,and they each have a 'sub-world' which are playable after you complete them all,and your main objective in them is to save the King of each land,because apparently,they have gone missing,from Jibberish Jungle to Sea of Serendipity.These sub-worlds hold the bosses of the game,and they're actually the Kings of their lands,that for some odd reason,have been turned into big menacing beasts,and they're also creative in term of design and their battle strategies,even if they're a bit too short.In certain levels of the game,you'll have to ride a mosquito to fly through the level to reach the goal while avoiding obstacles.Here,you can move in any direction,shoot through the mosquito's nose and inhale enemies,and these levels are just as fun as playing through normal levels.Also,this game,unlike most platforming games out there,doesn't have a life counter system,meaning everytime you die,you will be sent back to the last checkpoint in the level,and so with that,you don't have to worry about getting Game Overs or anything of the sort.In a résumé,the gameplay is a blast to play,whenever you're playing alone or with friends.
Remember those cages in which you had to save creatures from the first Rayman games?Well,here,they come in the form of Electoons,creatures you have to free throughout your adventure,since the are said to create back certain balance between the Glade of Drems and Land of Livid Dead,and also help the Bubble Dreamer to dream of more happier thoughts.At the end of each level,the Electoons you saved will be shown through the Medalion,which summarizes how many Electoons are found in each level.In each of them,you'll have to destroy the cage found at the end of every level,and collect a specific amount of Lums to get two more Electoons,while others that have three additional Electoons are obtained through finding and destroying cages in two hidden areas in the level,and by beating the level in a requested time period from Time Attack Challenges(unlocked after you beat each level once),and while talking about the TAC,if you manage to beat a shorter time requested by it,you'll be awarmed with a Speed Trophy,but they don't really affect gameplay otherwise.Back on the Electoon topic,until the end of the game,you'll have to collect certain amounts of them to progress further in Origins,and there's a total of 246 Electoons scattered around the game,and all the effort for them will only result on getting another version of Globox as playable,and up to that point,you pretty much completed the game already,but I found a big amount of replayability in the levels,so the effort is not really pointless in my point of view.What I'd say that IS worth the effort dough is to find all of the Skull Teeth,found in the Chest Challenges levels,where you chase after a runaway chest through a fast-paced level without dying until the end(which are also chaotically fun to play on)and as a result,you'll earn a Skull Teeth,and they're pretty fun too.Just be warned that you gotta have some skill to outwit them all.Collecting all of them will unlock the last level of the game(not going to spoil which is for surprise sakes)which is truly challengingly fun.Yeah,it is that rewarding.
On the music department,it does have upbeat and some catchy tunes in the mix,with each of them fitting their respective area or situation,and without further explanation,in the end,the soundtrack is pretty good on it's own.
After many years forgotten in the shadows,Rayman manages to truly stand up in the platforming genre once more,thanks to Origins's phenomenal gameplay,interesting mechanics,incredible visuals,great presentation,catchy soundtrack and well-demonstrated humor,and because of that,I can see Rayman still standing up in the top positions of platformer games for many years to come.It's a must-have game if you're a fan of Rayman and/or platformer games in general.The limbless hero has made his comeback,and he has never been in better form.