Xbox 360 Review: Rayman Origins

The limbless icon returns to his roots, but is it for the best?

It’s safe to say that Rayman and I have had our differences over the years, which is why I was surprised to find myself reviewing his latest game which returns him to his platforming roots of yesteryear. I thought it might change my opinion of the limbless guy, but did he succeed?

Well, while it’s safe to say that we won’t be the best of friends, I did enjoy my time with Origins. So it’s got a very thin plot, but then again so does every Mario game and he’s done very well out of it, providing the game is superb…luckily for Rayman, Origins is impressive and addictive. It follows the traditional platform formula of going from left to right to the exit, while finding collectables along the way. Rayman (or whatever character you choose to play) rescues little creatures called Electroons and gathers yellow animals called Lums that are scattered all over each stage, hitting the King Lum will turn the surrounding Lums red and double their worth, which adds towards your score at the end of the level, which will net you medallions to spend on unlocking new levels.

It’s surprising to see a 2D platformer as a full retail release, but Rayman Origins is a masterpiece of design and it looks just superb, it’s well animated and it plays seamlessly. You gather abilities as you progress and you can play with upto 4 players co-op in a New Super Mario Bros Wii way of dropping in and out. The game may only have a 7+ rating on it, but it’s fair to say that it’s difficult for even the most experienced gamer.

The levels are nice and varied, plus there are areas where you’ll be flying on a mosquito as you shoot targets and gather Lums to mix things up. The controls are simple and you’ll only die by your own mistakes, not randomly like in say a Sonic game. Which is quite a feat considering you can sprint pretty fast through the levels, I did so early on and not only managed to hit the end without stopping my sprint, I did so without getting hit once.

Boss fights are decent and matches the traditional nature of remembering the pattern to defeat them, while the main platforming is difficult in one sense, but easy in another. The enemies you come across don’t really pose much of a risk since you can just slap them or jump on them, but the timing of the jumps you have to pull off will test you. Replay value is limited to returning to the past levels and gathering enough Lums to hit the target and rescuing the hidden Electroons. As a whole, it’s an impressive package and there is plenty for you to do.

The visuals are the most charming aspect of Origins; it’s just like playing a cartoon. The engine is just superb and I can’t wait to see what they do with it next, the voice-acting is definitely more inclined to the younger audience, although the music that plays when you collect a King Lum is quite amusing.

The Verdict

As much as it pains me to say it, Rayman has done a wonderful job in returning to his roots in Rayman Origins. It’s a great platformer and one that deserves to be played by everyone, my only criticism is that it perhaps plays it a bit too safe with its level design. Other than that, it’s a real gem.