Hidden Gem: Rayman Origins
This months hidden gem was only released in November but that month had Skyward Sword, Super Mario 3D Land, Skyrim, COD and others so it’s no surprise that this one slipped through the cracks for many.
Full title: Rayman Origins
Console: Wii (version I’ve played), PS3, Vita, 360, Windows. It will soon be released on 3DS.
Released: 15th November 2011 (NA), 24th November 2011 (AU), 25th November 2011 (EU), 12th April 2012 (Japan, Sony consoles only).
Developed by: Ubisoft Montpellier
Published by: Ubisoft
Basic plot: Rayman and co wake up a granny from ‘The Land of the Livid Dead’ who causes all sorts of shenanigans. Time to save the day.
Game-play: This is a 2D platformer that takes the series back to the foundations it was founded on. Offering up to four players playing locally the offering of drop in/drop out is similar to that of New Super Mario Bros. Wii. As the game progresses you pick up further abilities such as gliding, shrinking, swimming and even running up walls. As is customary for platformers you will need to collect something and this time it’s Lums and Electoons. A certain level of Lums will give you more Electoons and the more Electoons you free the more you can progress in the game.
Criticisms: There are few games I would say are flawless and whilst not the best game I’ve ever played Origins offers few complaints that I can put a finger on it.
My thoughts: At the peak of platform gaming during the early 90s there were all sorts of things that went out the window and one such was the laws of physics. Do you want a giant orange to float across the water so you can get to the other side? You’re on. What about floating tree logs that allow you to jump across ravines? You’ve got it. This is something Origins throws in and then some, and I love it. It’s a great nod to the beginning of the series in 1995 not just with the crazy mechanics but also the art styling.
Rayman 2 and 3 brought Rayman into a 3D world which was actually pretty decent however with that a lot is forgotten about his first outing and just how nice the art styling looks. Origins decided to go back to these roots and frankly the game looks sublime. I’ve seen it on the PS360 in all its HD glory but for once the Wii version is definitely not lacking in visuals at all. Mix that in with a decent difficulty learning curve that feels natural, some simple game play mechanics, some typical Rayman craziness and you have a very good game.
Where to pick it up: Amazon has a good stock of it and it is currently £14.50, Game is offering it at £19.99 whilst Grainger Games has it for the same price.
It’s kind of like: If Donkey Kong Country Returns and New Super Mario Bros. Wii had the art styling of a Rembrandt (major exaggeration on the art styling).
Did you know: This is the first game to use Ubisoft’s UbiArt framework which allows focus on the art rather than the technical aspects of it looking good.