Rayman Origins Review

Rayman Origins on the Vita remains every bit as silly and charming as its console counterparts.

by

Rayman Origins hit consoles late last year and brought with it a delightful 2D platforming experience combining the best of old-school and modern game design. Now Ubisoft's limbless mascot has made his way to the PlayStation Vita, and the transition has been a smooth one. This eccentric side-scroller plays every bit as well as it did on consoles, and the Vita's large screen does great justice to the game's vibrant artwork. The one drawback is that four-player co-op from the console versions has been lost along the way, but the introduction of a new feature that lets you share your best speed runs and race against those from your friends helps ease the pain. No matter how you look at it, this portable version of Rayman Origins remains a wonderful adventure.

Rayman Origins is a living, breathing testament to the artistic capabilities of a 2D canvas. Every one of the game's numerous landscapes is filled with rich, hand-drawn detail, from the lush foliage of Jibberish Jungle to the flurrying snowfalls of Mystical Pique. There's an almost eccentric level of variety on display here. One moment, you swim through a haunting underwater abyss; the next, you leap across an industrial cooking pot full of molten lava in some hellacious version of a Mexican restaurant kitchen. Whether it's your own character or the many different enemies you encounter, the 2D animations are wonderfully fluid and impress a strong kinetic energy onto every last bit of movement. The Vita version even lets you pinch and drag the touch screen to zoom the camera in and really soak up those details, but the novelty is fleeting because you need to be able to see as much as you can to keep up with the fluid action.

Keeping up with the action is key, because this is a platformer built with the idea of player momentum firmly in mind. Most levels are intricately designed pathways built to encourage a quick pace, with rapidly transforming (often crumbling) environments, wide gaps, and enemies that frequently get the best of you if not attacked head-on. Fortunately, the tight, responsive controls in Rayman Origins give you every tool you need to accomplish this left-to-right journey. You start only being able to sprint and jump, but you eventually unlock new abilities, such as gliding through the air and running up walls or ceilings. And no matter how extravagant your move set becomes, the game always responds precisely to your inputs.

That's a good thing, too, because Rayman Origins is a deceptively challenging game. Though it starts out easily enough, the difficulty curve moves on a constant, gradual upswing. Later levels become twisted death traps outfitted with swinging radial saws, spike-covered monsters, and crashing electrical storms. Yet none of it ever feels cheap; you're always in control, and the sensation of darting through these intricately placed hazards makes for an extremely rewarding experience. You never need to worry about having to repeat entire levels over and over again either, thanks to the game's generous use of checkpoints. The difficulty exists--palpable and ominous--but there's nothing artificial about it.

Sometimes you'll just want to stop and admire the scenery. You know, when you're not being hunted by a terrible sea monster.

The one area where the difficulty curve falters is in the game's small handful of boss fights. In keeping with the game's uniformly delightful aesthetic, these creatures are always a sight to behold, but they're an inconsistent bunch once the battles unfold. The challenge posed by these bosses holds little correlation to the sequence through which they're unlocked. It's a random smattering of encounters where one particularly harrowing fight is immediately followed up by a relatively easy one, which creates a weird inconsistency in an otherwise very consistent game.

Fortunately, boss fights don't offer the only change of pace to the game's core 2D platforming. One recurring palate cleanser has you jumping on the back of an adorably angry pink mosquito and shooting your way through a series of hazards that range from easily startled puffer fish to heat-seeking missiles. These levels are a blast and feel like a vintage shoot-'em-up covered in a thick layer of Rayman Origins' absurdist humor. Other notable examples of switching up the standard formula include levels where you have to frantically chase an equally agile target and subdued journeys through an underwater landscape of beautiful but deadly sea creatures.

Throughout all of this, one persistent element of Rayman Origins is the sheer abundance of collectible doodads strewn across every chunk of landscape. Everywhere you go, you find things like lums (the game's version of coins), hidden challenge rooms, and other scattered rewards placed in treacherous locations, which often puts you at odds with your own survival instincts. A few of the benefits are purely cosmetic, like collecting enough items to unlock new character skins. But unfortunately, the level progression system suddenly becomes very demanding once you cross into the second half of the game, forcing you to go back and replay prior levels that you didn't already scour for collectibles with an obsessive-compulsive attention to detail.

Ghost mode isn't as much fun as co-op, but it's a nice addition.

It's unfortunate that you can't return to these levels with friends in tow as you could with the co-op feature found in the console versions. However, the Vita version of Rayman Origins does have a ghost mode that lets you take your best speed runs and share them with people using the Vita's Near functionality. It's a more social and interactive version of leaderboards that makes for a fun way to familiarize yourself with levels you've already completed. It's not quite as exciting as co-op, but it's a welcome addition nonetheless.

You won't find many other changes to Rayman Origins on the Vita because this is almost the same game that was released on consoles last year. Ubisoft has avoided the temptation to shoehorn unnecessary touch-screen or motion controls into the experience, carefully preserving what made this game such a delight in its original form. If you're a Vita owner who hasn't played Rayman Origins yet, this handheld port provides a terrific opportunity to change that fact.

The Good
Beautifully detailed art design
Absurdly charming sense of humor
Difficult portions never feel cheap
Precise, reliable controls
Plenty of variety.
The Bad
Inconsistent bosses
Unlocking later levels requires scouring for collectibles
No co-op.
8.5
Great
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23 comments
Good-Smurf
Good-Smurf

I decided not to buy PS3 version and bought PS vita version instead because of its portability gives the game more value than console version and playing this game on OLED screen it's easy to say Vita version looks even better!

MEDzZ3RO
MEDzZ3RO

How is having to find things to access later parts of the game a downside? I'd hate it to be too easy. Likewise the omission of Co Op isn't a big one because whenever I've played Co Op on the PS3 version I've found that we don't scour the levels for lums as efficiently. Best platformer in years.

zaprct
zaprct

Agree with @gabsponge this is probably the best platformer since SMB3 on NES

sugurtle9
sugurtle9

Used ps3 plus used rayman origin would cost you less than a vita and this game. Same thing for lumines and other games... Mmm...

IPwnNooBs666
IPwnNooBs666

This game is amazing. Getting it for sure.

gabsponge
gabsponge

I've almsot beat it and it's simply amazing. It's probably the only game I've played that I haven't found a single thing I don't like about it. Haven't had that much fun with a game since I first played Super Mario Bros 3.

SaudiFury
SaudiFury

I never bought it on PS3, i played the demo and it never quite clicked for me. I played the demo on Vita and i was simply floored. and currently between the three games i got for Vita, (Rayman, Escape Plan, and Uncharted). Rayman is my favorite. Don't get me wrong i am also really enjoying EP and U:GA, both great launch titles and a lot of fun.

bakagami
bakagami

@painpas it would certainly be a lot harder to play on the 3DS that's for sure

marlobc
marlobc

i didn't buy it for ps3,because i wanted to play it on VITA , it will be the first game i will get with VITA :)

IncisionX
IncisionX

@Burgeg I completely disagree and here's why - 1 ) I've already completed it single player and Co op on the Playstation 3. 2 ) Co op was by far more enjoyable then the SP, I guess it depends on who you play it with but me and my brother were in tears off laughter. 3 ) It's a mode which was in the initial release, ports are meant to add or stay the same, not take away. 4 ) There are stronger SP offerings available with Uncharted,Blazblue and Mvc3 in my opinion. 5 ) I will get it but just not as a launch title at £34.99, for a game that I've already played with less features is bad economics.

burgeg
burgeg

I dunno why people are so upset over the lack of co-op. I only played the co-op on the PS3 version a couple times. It was fun, yes. But the single player game is VERY strong and choosing to miss out on a game with single player as awesome as this just because it doesn't have co-op is pretty silly.

IncisionX
IncisionX

Hmmm the lack of Co op hurts.. In fact, it's enough to make me not purchase this as one of my first games :( Blazblue here I come!

Superman_legend
Superman_legend

I got this from best buy yesterday with the buy 2 get one 1 free. Many are saying this is the best game on VITA I seems quite possible. I had reward certificates paid only $59 to get Uncharted, Rayman, and Fifa happy camper. Got to wait for Rayman to come in though to pick it up from store.

CMakaCreative
CMakaCreative

I was able to take advantage of the buy 2 get one free deal some stores have. I actually bought two games early this month before the promotion happened but good 'ol Amazon was able to let me get the third game free...which I made Rayman Orgins. I got UnCharted & Hot Shot Golf which are good. The Vita screen is crazy sharp. Hope it succeeds so they can really take advantage of it later in it's life cycle.

itchyflop
itchyflop

@squall_83 yeah hopefully it won't be money wasted.

itchyflop
itchyflop

@FlamingFury yeah me too i waited for it, i think its perfect for the vita

white_wind
white_wind

I have the PS3 version already, not getting thins even though I'd love to play it on the move.

painpas
painpas

Gelugon... with Mario Land on the market I'd be suprised if this game even gets released on the 3DS. On the Vita the game serves a purpose on the 3DS where Mario is king and who knows what Rayman 3d numbers were like. They may have opted to not bother with a 3DS release.

squall_83
squall_83

I played the demo today. It's insanely beautiful on the Vita's screen. I will definitely pick this up when I fill the huge dent in my wallet that the Vita made.

pikadeth
pikadeth

It's a shame that this is now the most expensive version of the game since you can get it new on consoles for $20 now.

Pukshd
Pukshd

whoa , ubisoft , im kindda dissapointed , i mean , no co-op , even don´t having a online aleast a lan co-op , but great game anyway !

FlamingFury
FlamingFury

I skipped this on PS3. Totally gonna download it on Vita.

Rayman Origins More Info

First Release on Nov 15, 2011
  • 3DS
  • Macintosh
  • + 5 more
  • PC
  • PlayStation 3
  • PlayStation Vita
  • Wii
  • Xbox 360
Rayman Origins is a comic adventure set in a lush 2D world brimming with unexpected secrets and outlandish enemies.
8.7
Average User RatingOut of 1355 User Ratings
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Developed by:
UBlart Montpellier
Published by:
Ubisoft, Feral Interactive
Genres:
2D, Platformer, Action
Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
Everyone 10+
All Platforms
Comic Mischief, Mild Cartoon Violence, Suggestive Themes