By Willem Weinstein
The Rayman series is a fast moving platform style of gameplay, full of colorful enemies and exotically designed levels, some of which are extremely difficult. A platform style game, like this one, is a side scrolling game (that means 2-D with a 3-D background) that forces the player to jump from section to section, using some form of combat to knock enemies into the abyss below, not unlike the Mario series.
Rayman in particular has always held a special place in my heart, mostly for its colorful areas and overall tightly designed gameplay that, while challenging, never frustrates me to the point of quitting.
Unfortunately for Rayman, the platformer did go out of style for a time in favor of 3-D games. But now, we have Rayman: Origins here to remind us of the good old days and pick up the slack that the change to 3-D has left us.
Rayman: Origins was designed to explain the story of Rayman himself and why he has neither legs nor arms, just hands and feet that gravitate around his center body. I do not think it did this. I was still just as confused about his story as before the game started.
Despite this, the gameplay itself is quite enjoyable. There is a co-op mode during which up to four players can play, helping the fallen ones and getting hidden treasure, but it really is a standard function.
The main draw to Origins is its aesthetics. Every character is designed uniquely, and there are so many of them that the player will rarely get bored. Similarly, each level is appealing to the eyes, and the soundtrack that accompanies each individual level is so perfect and fitting for that particular level that I often stood in one place just to hear the music.
As I mentioned before, the levels are original and varied, featuring jungles, swamps, underwater habitats, an oven and a collection of didgeridoos in which the music is made by the player jumping on certain pipes.
In terms of complaints, I only have a few. I often couldn’t tell what was in the foreground rather than the background. The co-op is nice so that players can work together, but you will sometimes get in each others’ way.
Overall, though, Rayman: Origins is a delightfully colorful and absurdly fantastic game that I highly recommend for group fun.