Rayman Origins kicked my ass. Again and again. And it was awesome.
This game is incredibly hard. Just beating the game is hard enough, and if you’re a completionist, getting all the Lums, Skull Teeth, Time Trial Trophies, Medals, and costumes is going to take you a long time. There is a ton of content, and you can choose if it’s worth pursuing. Me, I was happy unlocking and beating every level, including the last one, which is HARD.
But let’s start with the presentation. It’s gorgeous. The artwork looks hand-drawn, and apparently, that’s because the game uses Ubisoft’s “Ubi Art” framework, which supposedly allows artists to use concept art as real, in-game assets. Well, it paid off, because Rayman Origins looks unlike any other game out there. The characters, enemies, worlds, all look full of life and vibrant colors, making them pop. I would’ve spent more time looking at the game if it weren’t going by in a blur! The enemies are pretty weird and quirky, but I expect nothing less from a Rayman game.
And the music. Oh, the music. It’s fantastic. The music has character. Cute voices sing along in weird, made-up languages to the catchy melodies. I even tried looking for a soundtrack online, since it was so good. The music helps alleviate the frustration of dying over and over.
And speaking of dying: you will die. A lot. If you’re the type of person who gets easily frustrated, and plays games mostly for the story, you should probably steer clear of this one. There’s not much of a story here anyway, but that doesn’t matter, because the gameplay is just so much fun. In fact, I completely forgot why Rayman was on this quest in the first place, and when I got to the final boss, I didn’t even know who it was. But it’s okay, because the gameplay more than makes up for it.
Every time I died, I knew it was my fault, not the game’s. The controls are tight, pretty much as good as a Mario platformer, which is high praise. But it’s the level design where this game truly shines. Each level is designed to be difficult, but achievable, if you memorize the layout and how far you should jump here, whether you should hover there, things like that. The levels that stand out are the “chase” levels, where you chase a treasure chest through a level. You can’t stop at all—you’ve got to keep running the whole way. Every jump, every punch has to be perfect. You’ve got to learn the level by playing it over and over until you can beat it perfectly, and when you do, it’s immensely satisfying.
If you’re a fan of platformers, or Rayman, or are up for a challenge, than I highly recommend this game. I don’t think I’ve played a non-Mario platformer as good as this in a long time.