Rayman Origins (Wii, PS3, 360, 3DS, PC, Vita)

When people think of Ubisoft, one of the first things to come to mind is Rayman. This popular limbless hero has been spotted in plenty of 3-D platform adventures, as well as helping spin off the poplar Rabbids series. But Rayman was originally a 2-D hero in the 32-bit PlayStation era. Now Rayman has gone back to his roots with Rayman Origins, a lush, 2-D platform action game for nearly all the current major game consoles (3DS version reviewed here).

Players initially start out as Rayman, but can also pick to play as his friend Globox. Rayman and pals have all the moves a 2-D platform hero shouldn’t be without. They can run, jump, double jump, wall jump, and stomp on enemies. They’ll also earn new moves on their journey, like punching and floating. The goal in each stage is to collect as many Lums as possible while avoiding bad guys and obstacles. Later on, you’ll be able to go back for addition challenges, like Time Attacks and other events. At the end of each world you’ll have to fight a boss.

The graphics are extremely detailed and some of the best 2-D art I’ve seen on the 3DS. It’s like you’re looking into a tiny HDTV. Only problem is that the characters and text are so teeny tiny that it’s hard to see and read sometimes. The music is also top-notch, with quality instrumentation including nose harps, ukuleles, and didgeridoos. But the best part of the game is the play control, which is very fluid and smooth, and allows you to perform all sorts of difficult acrobatics that you normally couldn’t do in any other game. In fact, I’d say the controls here are better than many other modern 2-D platformers, even New Super Mario Bros.

I don’t think that the 3DS version of Rayman Origins has the multiplayer aspects of the other console versions, but you can share high scores with StreetPass. The game gets pretty difficult later on (luckily you can continue endlessly at the last checkpoint), and it doesn’t offer anything original or new to the experience, but if you love 2-D platform jumping games, you’ll probably want to check this one out.

Kid Factor:

Rayman Origins is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Comic Mischief, Mild Cartoon Violence, and Suggestive Themes. When characters get hit or punched, they just blow up like a balloon and then explode into sparkly dust and clouds. I don’t really know where the suggestive themes come from, maybe the female nymphs you have to rescue? I will note that even though it’s not in the game anywhere, the instruction booklet does have the word ‘badass’ in it. I’d be OK with any kid playing this game, though, but reading skill is helpful and younger players might get frustrated at the high challenge of later levels.

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