Rayman Origins First Impressions

The iconic limbless hero is back in an attractive two-dimensional platformer. And he found a friend!

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Having taken a backseat to the manic rabbid crew in recent years, Rayman made a fresh new appearance at Ubisoft's E3 2010 press conference. Rayman Origins was announced in a trailer prefaced by discussion about a unique set of tools that allow a small team of artists to bring their talents to bear in the creation of a game. Indeed, worked on by only five artists, Rayman Origins has a simplistic yet disarmingly attractive look to it, and the gameplay seems tailored to match.

At the beginning of the trailer, a narrator told of the fabled creation of an iconic character. The trailer then zoomed in on a forest glade and a hovering forest fairy engaged in the magical creation of something. After some buildup, Rayman appeared beneath her and promptly spun his hair like helicopter blades, blowing a breeze up the fairy's skirt and establishing his incorrigibility. He then trotted off into the woods, and we saw a sequence of what appeared to be gameplay clips. Rayman jumped and scurried his way through vibrant, whimsically designed environments and delivered some brisk punch combos to enemies that crossed his path.

Soon, another being crossed his path and returned his punches with glee. Rayman had made a friend. This new character looks sort of like a blue, bipedal frog--big belly, comical underbite, and slightly googly eyes. The two made an odd couple, to be sure, but it quickly became clear that they work quite well as a team. They used a variety of moves to cooperatively vanquish enemies and navigate areas, including one in which Rayman uses his helicopter hair to fly on an updraft of air created by his exhaling frog buddy. The trailer ended with a clip of them both furiously punching a massive tentacled beast with about a hundred eyes and a mouth big enough to swallow a building.

So it seems Rayman has a new cooperative platforming game in the works. The art style is cartoony and evocative of claymation, setting a bright, cheery tone for the strange worlds and stranger enemies. Rayman and his new friend no doubt have more tricks up their sleeves (despite not actually having any sleeves), though since this was a trailer tacked on to the end of the press conference, we're not optimistic that we'll get much more information anytime soon. Still, Rayman Origins certainly made a charming debut, and we'll be sure to bring you more just as soon as we can.

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