Sunday, 18 March 2012

Rayman Origins - Xbox 360 Review

Rayman, Rayman Origins, Platformer, Gaming, Video Games, Review, Future Pixel, Article, Xbox, PS3, PC

There are many iconic characters in gaming when it comes to platform games.

Everyone knows Mario, Sonic, Kirby and the host of other characters that have us jumping around,collecting coins, stomping on some heads and just generally having fun.

That's what platforming games are all about, and although there's always been attempts at changing the dynamic of platform games, the 2D platformer has always been at the root of the genre.

Not everyone know about who Rayman is, but back in the day the first Rayman game released by Ubisoft was one of the best platformers out there.

Rayman, Rayman Origins, Platformer, Gaming, Video Games, Review, Future Pixel, Article, Xbox, PS3, PC
Originally released on PC and Playstation 1, it was a typical platformer in that it mostly involved jumping on the heads of your enemies and collecting. The main character was of course Rayman and he was a wierd sort of creature, with disembodied hands and feet.

Rayman 2 and Rayman 3 were released which game us more of the same, but eventually the series took a strange turn with the introduction of the "Raving Rabbids" which had never been seen before, and were probably the most crazy creatures I have ever seen in any video game. Positively insane and also a little bit moronic, they marked a change in the series which eventually saw the exclusion of Rayman entirely to make way for their own list of deranged titles.

Rayman, Rayman Origins, Platformer, Gaming, Video Games, Review, Future Pixel, Article, Xbox, PS3, PC
The Rayman Raving Rabbids games were considered a spin-off in the Rayman series, and instead focused on mini-games that used whichever motion technology was available at the time, with the first in the series being released on the Playstation 2 and eventually the Nintendo Wii.

Subsequent versions and sequels were released for numerous different platforms including the PC, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360 and the Iphone.

While incredibly successful and admittedly fun in their own ways, they had moved completely away from their roots.

In November last year, Rayman Origins was released for Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii and Playstation 3 and took us back to the roots of the genre with a platform game that was similar in style to the originals.

Rayman, Rayman Origins, Platformer, Gaming, Video Games, Review, Future Pixel, Article, Xbox, PS3, PC
Recently I managed to pick up a copy and I was immediately impressed by the cartoony style that it was presented in. The Original game was stylized in a strangely claymation fashion, and was unique at the time, but Rayman Origins scraps this look entirely in favor of a cartoon style that you might expect from a Saturday morning cartoon.

That's not to say that it looks bad though. In fact, it looks fantastic and beautiful, and plays on this style with great ease, adding to the craziness that the series has become well known for.

Rayman, Rayman Origins, Platformer, Gaming, Video Games, Review, Future Pixel, Article, Xbox, PS3, PC
Levels are cleverly designed, with many of the animations quite funny and unique. Even the environments are often constantly moving and occasionally make you stop to focus on some small detail in the distance that you might not have noticed before. 

The Gameplay is fun and enjoyable, and the game can also be extremely challenging, requiring quick reflexes in order to get through some of the more difficult areas.  Boss battles are also unique and a little insane, and need persistence t get through.

Rayman, Rayman Origins, Platformer, Gaming, Video Games, Review, Future Pixel, Article, Xbox, PS3, PC
Rayman is not the only playable character here, and as the game progresses many unlockable characters (or versions of existing characters) become available to use. One of the stranger characters available to play is "Globox" who looks a bit like a cartoon frog who may have taken one too many happy pills.

The games starts with Rayman, Globox and others unintentionally disturbing an old granny in "The Land of the Livid Dead" who sends an army of monsters up the surface world to reek havoc and kidnap the Nymphs and other creatures from the surface who Rayman and his friends need to rescue.

There are over 60 levels within the game, with many of the levels only available after achieving certain conditions. 12 separate and fantastically illustrated environments are available to explore and take quite some time to get through.

Rayman, Rayman Origins, Platformer, Gaming, Video Games, Review, Future Pixel, Article, Xbox, PS3, PC
Co-operative Multiplayer is included in Rayman Origins (for up to 4 players) and makes for an interesting variation to the single player experience. Players who die are transformed into a balloon that need to be popped by the other player in order to be returned to the game. Some sections of the game are only accessible when working as a team.

Rayman Origins is a fantastic example of a classic 2D platformer done right, but there's certainly enough innovation as well to make the game unique as well as nostalgic.

Loads of fun for all ages, the game is best played with two players, but is an equally enjoyable single player experience.

The game is currently available on Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii, and should also be released soon on PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS.

8 / 10

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