Rayman Origins Review (PS Vita)
We simply adored Rayman Origins when it came out for game consoles last year. Not only was it a complete blast to play along with three friends, but it also revitalized the platforming (and in some ways, shooting) as we know it, thanks to lush hand-drawn visuals, a wonderful soundtrack and the type of gameplay that never gets stale. Now, somehow, Ubisoft has crammed most of that experience into the PlayStation Vita handheld, and it’s just as remarkable as ever – even after we’ve found all the Lums.
Rayman, his big buddy Globox, and a pair of Teensies are selectable from the start, and you set out to collect Lums in each individual stage, while bouncing on enemies to make them inflate and then destroying them. Each stage becomes trickier than the next, with the introduction of hard-to-reach coins, running waterfalls, gusts of wind and other environmental dangers. But it’s all quite fun, we assure you.
Somehow, Ubisoft has managed to shake off the vibe that had come from previous 3D Rayman adventures (not to mention those countless Rabbids games) and return to what made the limbless hero so endearing to begin with – classic platforming. Everything from gliding across platforms to slamming into something on the ground is handled with utmost accuracy, so if you die, it’s probably something you did. The concept of hidden goodies is well realized here, as you’ll be seeking out the likes of pink Lums and hidden coins. You can unlock these awesome chase stages as well, where you pursue a treasure chest as he sprints across a continuously changing level.
Some players will be sore that Rayman Origins doesn’t include co-op multiplayer like the original. To be honest, it probably would’ve been a struggle to try to include it here in some form, mainly due to PlayStation Network issues. Instead, though, we get a solid add-on with the Ghost Runs. Here, you can record your best times on certain stages and collect additional Lums. Sure, it’s not a wacky party experience, but it almost makes up for that loss, so we’ll accept it.
Rayman Origins, as we said, features some of the best 2D animation you’re likely to see in a game this generation. Every bit of animated goodness from the original game made it in this port, from the voluptuous fairies that grant you new powers to the happy Lums that go jumping about, waiting to be collected. The level structure is nothing short of brilliant, and even goofing off around The Snoring Tree (your home base) has its moments.
Though the game is light on the new Vita specific functions, you have the option of squeezing your fingers on the screen to zoom in and out of the action. Though this is the kind of game where you’ll benefit from seeing more of the stage, it’s awesome being able to see just how much work Michel Ancel and his team have put into its appearance. Play around with it for a while and make Globox slam around like a goofy idiot. You just might break out into giggling fits.
As for the sound, it’s stupendous. The music is a bunch of lunacy-enabled tunes, from the stage selection tunes to the happy strumming that occurs when yellow Lums go happy red. The voicework is mostly gibberish, as in most Rayman games, but it’s so delightful that you won’t really care. I’m just glad that Ubisoft opted to go with the natural approach to the character, rather than chasing after A-list actors. Whew.
Simply put, Rayman Origins is a masterpiece, a platforming game that deserves to reinvigorate the genre in its own special way. And while the PS Vita version has its certain limitations (namely in multiplayer), it’s so joyous and spectacular to play that you won’t even care. Get this with your system, and get happy.