The lights are on
As a kid, I watched a lot of cartoons. Shows like Fairly Odd Parents and Spongebob Squarepants had an appealing
playfulness and goofy sense of humor. There's a simple joy in watching silly
adventures starring even-sillier cartoon characters.
Maybe that's why Rayman Origins is so familiar. From the
hilarious opening video to the disco party at the end of every level, Rayman
feels like a Saturday morning cartoon come to life. The characters look absurd.
They deliver their lines in pig latin. Bad guys have funny facial expressions.
The silliness continues into the world design. Rayman must
traverse a world full of ice-skating, fire-breathing baby dragon chefs; mutant birds; and
worst of all, old people.
These terrifying enemies populate ten lengthy and varied
worlds. Level design deserves a tip of the hat; it's one of the strongest parts
of the game. Every world has a unique theme and gameplay style. You'll dive
into pitch-black waters by the light of glow fish, glide on the wind, and ride
waterfall slides. Worlds are long enough to feel worthwhile but short enough to
The levels within each world seem streamlined. There are a
three hidden coins and two secret areas in each level. Nothing else. Compared
to secret-dense games like Super Mario and Donkey Kong Country, Rayman Origins
looks spartan. However, this simplified approach to level design also means you
don't have to worry about going back and finding every little nook and cranny
in the level. It's easier to focus on having fun and collecting Lums.
Rayman Origins takes a cue from Kirby's Epic Yarn. Death is
lightly punished with a trip back to a checkpoint never more than a few feet
away. Performance is instead judged on how many Lums (coins) you collected in
the level. It's an inclusive approach to level design that should help younger
Newbies and experienced players alike will appreciate the
inclusion of excellent platforming physics. Rayman's movements feel totally
natural and smooth. I didn't run into a single instance of bad movement design.
There's nothing that needs improving.
What do need improving, though, are the boss battles.
They're not that good. The first half is flying sequences. The legitimate
bosses in the second half of the game require rote pattern memorization to
beat. There's no skill involved. Just see what each boss does and memorize how
to dodge it.
Regardless of weak bosses, Rayman Origins is something we
don't get too often. It's a kids' game that doesn't use its genre to excuse bad
mechanics. It's an honest-to-god triple-A platformer that isn't named "Super
Mario." It's a game with simple fun that should remind anyone of their
childhood. I enjoyed it. Anyone looking for a good platformer outside of
Nintendo's stable should definitely look at Rayman Origins.
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It is really fun. I have it for psvita.