It’s been a long time since I have played a real platform game so getting behind the sticks on Rayman Origins was a refreshing hit after all the 3d action plat formers that get copy, paste, Released. Now there isn’t a great deal of plot that I managed to pick up, Rayman and his friends are hanging out in a tree making music with their snoring, a knot hole in the tree leads down to some dark underworld type place and wakes an evil old lady who then unleashes a torrent of evil gribblies on the world. Rayman and his friends then have to quest across the land to free the Electoons, Lums and my favourites the Nymphs. Sure there’s a little more to it than free the princess from the castle but then who plays platformers for the detail plot and subtle underlying subtexts…
Even with the desirably weak plot Rayman is a lot of fun, its levels are well thought out and well-paced as to remain challenging with puzzles that can stump you occasionally but not for so long as to kill the fun. As you progress through the game you unlock new abilities like gliding and wall running which are add a lot to the standard platform jumping. They mix up the levels a bit so whilst for the majority you will be progressing through standard levels there are also chase the chest levels which are well scripted and very fun though they can get a little frustrating at times. There are also side scrolling ‘dog fights’ where you rid a mosquito, it’s another side scrolling classic but it helps to break up the levels enough that it doesn’t feel like a choir.
Combat in the game is well executed and easy enough to grasp, there are of course a variety of different enemies some of which must be dealt with a little more cunning then simply jumping on their head. Punches, powered up punches, jumping kicks and head bouncing are your primary modes of combat with some slightly more cerebral traps mostly involving making platforms disappear. Once an enemy has been hit they then need to be popped to get extra points which leads to an interesting tactic of getting an extra jump off the top of the enemy allowing you to clear obstacles more easily.
Progression through the game is really controlled by how many ‘collectable’ Electoons you can free; there are hidden ones throughout the levels and bonus ones if you can collect enough Lums. The Hidden Electoons are a neat little mid-level puzzle stage which will have you defeating monsters in all sorts of bizarre mini games so you can break the cage and free the cute little Electoons. Lums are equivalent of coins in Rayman and in order to collect enough you will need to do some pretty mad jumping. There are also Big Lum coins which, if you can get them, give a health does of extra Lums and indeed there are the King Lums who double the value of the other Lums and make them all hum an annoyingly catchy tune as a timer for the power up.
Unfortunately I am a bit of a no mates on the PS3 and with only one controller I didn’t get to try out the up to 4 multiplayer feature, I dare say it would be a good spot of fun though.
Rayman Origins is, as one would expect, a very attractive game. Lush cartoon graphics and smooth animations certainly have a polished feel to them. There are clear lines between good and evil so you won’t jump at something without knowing it’s probably dangerous. The sounds are right where they need to be and help create a little atmosphere and the controls are responsive and uncomplicated which is required for a good platformer. Rayman is an excellent Platform game in the true spirit of platformers and whilst there is a lot to do its still what I would class as a casual game. Definitely fun for a bit of relaxation and very entertaining for the kids.