Portable Rayman is just as good as console Rayman!
Written by Super User
Published Monday, 12 March 2012 20:00
Rayman Origins released last year for consoles, and was met with critical acclaim. A platformer worthy of the praise it received, Rayman Origins was a true throwback that relied on simple mechanics and solid level design. There were no fancy tricks; just beautiful animated-style graphics and tried-and-true gameplay. Now a few months later, Rayman Origins finds itself ported to the Vita. Nearly a perfect clone of the console version of the game, Rayman Origins on the Vita is another reminder that when a game is done right, there is no more enjoyable experience to have.
Rayman Origins may be light on the story, but there’s no shying away from the great variation in level design. Every world presents a wonderful series of new challenges to master. Though every level can be broken down to merely running and jumping, Rayman Origins is a title that relies on precision to make it through unscathed. As barebones as the controls are in this game, it will take some solid concentration and focus to clear every crevice, collect every Electoon, and save every Lum. Despite keeping the controls to a minimum, you will find yourself challenged when trying to complete levels without dying. Don’t let the simplicity fool you. As great as it is that anyone can learn to play Rayman with ease, mastering every level will certainly push even the most devoted of platforming fans to the brink.
"While the Vita has had its fair share of console ports already in its short lifespan, none is as simple or fun to play as Rayman Origins."
Though you may find yourself begging for mercy from the gaming gods at points, you will never really become frustrated with the difficulty of some of the later levels. It’s only when you’re trying to find every collectible and last little Electoon to help you unlock levels that you’ll feel any sort of pressure to perform. Despite having to replay certain areas over again in order to open up new levels, it doesn’t feel like the developers are forcing replayability down your throat. It probably helps that every level is a uniquely different experience, rife with small details that can only be picked up on repeated plays. Even on the Vita’s smaller screen, there’s an incredible amount of detail to take in, and the sharpness and quality of the game’s designers still shines through.
Musically, the game is just as wonderful. Aside from each world having its own musical theme, the levels themselves are full of sound effects that only add to the rhythm of the board. The score is a tremendous asset in a game where characters don’t really talk, save for the occasional gibberish spouted from one of the fairies. The way the music and the level design work in harmony to keep you immersed and invested is both awesome and dangerous. Getting too caught up in the moment can cause you to lose track of what you’re doing or where you’re going, and will likely result in a quick death. Rayman’s checkpoint system is very forgiving, and with an infinite amount of lives, there will never come a time when you’ll have wasted too much progress. You might think that the lack of lives would make death meaningless, but the game doesn’t want to punish you for exploring or experimenting with tactics. Dying matters, but it’s not as important as being able to continually keep playing no matter how stuck you get in a particular part of the game.
The Vita version does have a few slight differences from the original product. First, the multiplayer is completely gone. This iteration of Rayman Origins is a strictly single-player affair. Thankfully, you can still unlock the multitude of characters and skins available in the original game. There is a Ghost mode, where you can race against the clock to see if you can complete a level faster than you previously attempted. Additionally, you can actually zoom in on the screen for an up close view. You sort of lose the ability to see where you’re going, but the graphics remain just as sharp zoomed in as they do at regular viewing distance. New collectibles called Relics are also in the game, and can only be acquired by tapping them on the screen. They’re blended in pretty well, but the zoom feature and sound cues should help you find them with a bit more ease.
While the Vita has had its fair share of console ports already in its short lifespan, none is as simple or fun to play as Rayman Origins. The platformer simply shines on the handheld, and is a truly welcome addition to the Vita library. It’s virtually an identical version of the game released on consoles late last year, but that shouldn’t deter you from playing. Rayman Origins is a perfect example of all that is right with gaming, and you’d be a fool to miss out on it (even if you do own the console version).
Release date : 2012-02-15
Publisher : Ubisoft
Developer : Ubisoft Paris
Gameplay : Platformer
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