Genre: Action Developer: Publisher: Classification: G Release Date: 23rd Feb 2012 Platforms:
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Don't mistake this for complaining. I'm begging you, don't make that mistake. It's just that sometimes when I'm playing all the games I need to play for this job some awesome ones slip through the cracks, and that sucks.
Rayman Origins - which I got to play a few times (but never for more than 15 minutes a pop) - was one of these titles. It combined an unbelievably gorgeous art style with fantastic old school platforming, throws in fantastic music and - on the Vita - wraps it all up inside a 5 Inch OLED screen.
It's perfect platforming too - an excellent combination of gradually increasing challenges and jumping puzzles means you'll never quite feel like the master of any level until you actually finish it, though the fast pace does have its drawbacks.
You never really get to admire any of the artwork while you're leaping through the game's many environments - which is a shame, as they really are very pretty. I also found myself getting into a flow with the level and forgetting to find the secrets in the level, which meant I had to replay a number of them.
The secrets, you see, are tied to Electoons - and as you play through the game you need a growing number of Electoons to unlock new areas. While you always get one Electoon for finishing a level, there are numerous other ways to get more. Collecting Lums (little yellow flying things) can unlock some, while finding hidden areas in each stage unlocks more. Beating levels under a certain amount of time is another way to earn them - these almost always require a separate run though, as going after Lums and hidden passages slows you down considerably.
The whole Electoons/Lums thing ties in with the plot - something about the world being in peril. An ancient... or maybe not so ancient... evil is threatening everyone and everything with imminent doom and... you know what? Who cares? Has anyone ever actually given a damn about the plot in a bloody platformer? In Mario you save the princess, in Sonic you collect rings and save... a princess (who can follow that series any more) and here in Rayman you save the Nymph princess. 'Bu-bu-but Joaby, what about something like Braid?' Yeah, you travel in time and save a princess or something. I don't care.
Eventually the levels get almost frustratingly difficult - the last 10 or so levels I found really tough, relying a little too heavily on trial and error and not enough on the puzzle platforming the game had lent on earlier. It's a bit disappointing - though not entirely unexpected, as it can be difficult to keep a game fresh across 60 levels.
Each level takes a couple of minutes to complete, and they gradually get longer as you find yourself dying more/hunting for puzzles - making the game less appropriate for short spurts the further you get into it. They've added "Ghost" mode - which means you can upload ghost data and race through levels against your friends, which encourages you to replay earlier levels to some extent. I think it's primarily designed to compensate for the lack of actual coop, but I don't really feel like it makes up for it - even two player Ad-Hoc Coop would have been enough.
The Vita version is almost a 1:1 translation of the home console version of the game. With the exception of Coop (admittedly a very fun addition to the game) you have everything you could possibly want from Rayman Origins in a format which fits in your bag/cargo shorts pockets.
Still, if this is a sign of things to come with the Vita it's a reason to get excited. The almost flawless recreation of the home console game makes Rayman Origins yet another one of those Feature games - the titles you show to friends to demonstrate the power of your new little toy.
If you already purchased Rayman Origins on your PS3, 360 or Wii you can safely skip this one. It really is just the home console game perfectly ported across to the PS Vita - so if you, like me, never got Rayman Origins the first time around, grab it now. It's the best platformer out today.