Every now and again, there comes a video game that embodies nostalgia. A game that is so unlike anything out today, yet reminds us so distinctly of the past. But nostalgia isn’t enough sometimes, there needs to be a fun-factor involved. Remember those nonsensical, carefree platformers on the Genesis and Super Nintendo – those goofy, yet addictively fun games you played all the way to the end in one sitting? It’s hard not to relish that sense of entertainment from a video game. Rayman Origins is one of those games.
Michel Ancel, celebrated creator of Rayman, certainly returned to his roots with this one. This high-definition 2D side-scrolling platform adventure couldn’t have come at a better time either. The Rayman series has seen better days, especially since the arrival of the spin-off series Raving Rabbids. As the maniacal Rabbids quickly gained popularity, Rayman was suddenly put on the backburner with no future in sight. Now that the Rabbids have overstayed their visit and, slowly, lost the outrageous appeal they won hearts with, the iconic platform hero has returned, and better than ever.
One of the most notable features Origins has to offer comes in its visual direction. Everything in this game has been lovingly hand-drawn and animated, whether it’s the stunningly vibrant and dynamic worlds or the charmingly goofy character designs. Animations are incredibly smooth, practically flawless in presentation. They’ll make you downright laugh until tears start rolling down your face – at least, they did for me. Origins proves that traditional animation can still very well be a major contender in today’s console releases, it’s simply a matter of finding the right visionary scope.
Gameplay is equally intriguing and is easy to pick up and play. Rayman and his friends Globox and the Teensies don’t rely on power-ups the way you’re used to seeing either. This time around, new abilities will be unlocked when you rescue one of the voluptuous fairies in each world. What’s really nice about this system is that once you learn an ability you’ll keep it forever so it makes backtracking through old stages a blast.
Not only does Origins offer some awesome gameplay, it also includes some intriguing secrets as well. If you’re really good, you might even unlock unique treasure chest chase levels, non-stop one-life speed-runs that will test your patience and reflexes. These levels are downright hard, but never impossible. With some trial and error, repetition makes anything possible in this fun platformer. Still having trouble? Why not grab a few friends and take advantage of the 4-player co-op? You can’t get much better than that.
It would be a bit of an overstatement to say the main campaign is as difficult but if you’re in it to find everything than it’s certainly not easy and will require every ounce of wit to discover. What’s so wonderful about Origins is that all skill levels are welcome, but once you unlock a secret the experience feels so rewarding.
Rayman Origins will make you feel like a kid again. Its nostalgic and entertaining gameplay has plenty of replay value and offers enough secrets to last you hours upon hours. No need to play the game alone, the 4-player co-op lets you enjoy with friends who aren’t afraid to cause some fun and mischief. The visuals are equally enticing, providing some of the nicest, most vibrant characters and environments – something we hardly ever get the privilege of experiencing in a console release. Rayman Origins is platforming at its finest. So what are you waiting for?
Rayman Origins is available on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii. Check out the Future Shop product page if you want to get your hands on a copy of this fun new hit!
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