Review: Rayman Origins (Xbox 360)

By Wayne Webb

Rayman was a game from the PS2 era that eventually got ported to modern platforms but always felt a little out of place to me – that is, until now. These types of games were at their peak in the 90s and not many have survived that well into modern era of next gen console gaming. Rather than trying to shoe horn the game into modern aesthetics, European game company Ubisoft has done the opposite and embraced the dagginess of the old platform classics and given it a high definition twist.

Rayman is an odd bird with hands and feet that float free with no limbs attached, looking like the fantasy love child of French Cartoonists and Walt Disney. He’s an oddly designed and elastic moving hero that barrels through level after level of platforms that are designed with so much lush detail in them that it almost conflicts with the simplicity of game play. Running, jumping and hitting things is pretty much it. However Rayman Origins does this with flair and finesse that most games lack these days.

There’s plenty to do and see and as much as I love playing it, my kids love it even more, oohing and ahhing at the new levels being unlocked, and obsessively seeking out all the hidden gems and Lums that allow you to proceed. Origins features a “drop in” multiplayer for up to four gamers and fast-paced levels can be completed for all items or record times to get more awards and unlock more things.

Favorite levels are fun to replay with others along for the ride, and playing against yourself to get a record time is also satisfying. It may be a few weeks before the short attention span of my kids lands on something else, but for now they love the quirky world of the Rayman and his friends. There is an overarching plot and purpose to the game, but no one seems to care too much about that. Further into the game, you need more purple things in your medallions to go ahead, so you may have to do bonus levels more than once just to move on.

This is a great example of how games can be fun with simple concepts, while being delivered in a high-definition thematic world. Rayman Origins is good for new gamers and those who want to relive some of the Platform Game glory days.

Pros: Cartoonish design is excellent, fun and frantic platform action, loads of levels, plenty of collectibles, high replay value, and excellent multiplayer.
Cons: Can get repetitive, not much of a story.

4 Shacks Out Of 5