Rayman Origins Review By: Andrew Bohnenberger
Rayman Origins Review
By: Andrew Bohnenberger
Rayman Origins is a 2d side scrolling platformer game developed and published by Ubisoft for PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360. Due to the success of Super Mario Bros Wii, it is obvious that Ubisoft wanted to piggy back off of the family friendly co-op experience which made that game such a hit. But does Rayman Origins provide a unique experience or is just another Mario knock-off?
Rayman Origins used UbiArt Framework, a proprietary game engine developed in house by Ubisoft. This engine really allows the graphics of this game to shine, partly due to the hand drawn art world, cartoon characters, and colorful visuals. Each level is beautifully crafted and the frame rate is a solid 60 frames per second. All six game worlds are uniquely different, whether it is the tropical Jibberish Jungle, the musical stylings of the Desert of Dijiridoos, the icy landscape of the Gourmand Land, the marine life of the Sea of Serendipity, or the steampunk world of Mystical Pique. The graphics are the star of this game and I hope Ubisoft releases the framework as open-source. This framework would help smaller indie developers limit repetitive tasks in order to make high definition animations from original artwork.
Rayman Origins gameplay consists of jumping platforms, defeating enemies to unlock force fields that contain Electroons, and shoot em up sections where you ride a giant mosquito in order to shoot and suck up enemies. At the end of each world you also gain new skills which you use to traverse the subsequent levels in other worlds. Some of these new skills include being able to dive underwater, run up walls, change your size, and glide. Pretty soon the formula does begin to become repetitive once you obtain most the skills as you must revisit previous levels in order to collect Electroons to unlock later sections of the game.
The game can be played solo or cooperatively with four other players locally. Each player’s character shares the same screen and the additional players can drop in or drop out any point in the game. When playing cooperatively, if one character is hit by an enemy or obstacle they will inflate into a balloon until another player frees them. This allows for some fun elements where players will use this to their advantage to collect more lums at another player’s expense. At the end of each level players are awarded metals depending on how many lums they collected. The game features 60 levels and will take about 8 hours to complete.
Overall, while I enjoyed the graphics and the couch co-op feature of the game, I disliked many gameplay mechanics. First, the platforming is floaty, so if you like the precision platforming of Mario and Super Meat Boy you will not find that in this game. Second, the game starts off great as you explore new levels and gain new skills but quickly becomes repetitive as you have to replay previous levels in order to collect Electroons to advance. Lastly, I didn’t like that there was no online co-op and no level editor, something I have grown a custom too in modern platformers thanks to Little Big Planet. I think if this game was a downloadable title for $20, had 20 levels, featured online and local co-op, and a level editor, this game will be flawless. Unfortunately, they priced this as a full featured $60 dollar game without the lasting appeal required to return to the game after you finished the story mode.
Rent: The game features 60 levels and will take about 8 hours to complete. At about the 4 or 5 hour mark you will see everything you need to see in the game. With that said, don’t hesitate to Redbox this but it might not be worthy of your Gamefly queue, especially if you haven’t experienced all the great holiday games out there.