Riding giant mosquitos through a sidescrolling shooter level is not unheard of.
Even though the game is the most challenging platformer I have played this year, it is not frustrating. This is because the checkpoint system is more than fair, and provides you with ample opportunity for mistakes, and trust me you will make many mistakes. It is in these mistimed jumps that you learn, and many levels will have you memorizing patterns and sequences just to survive...but isn’t that why we came to love platformers in the first place?
The controls are by far the tightest I have used in a while. Granting the player the same precision as say, Super Meat Boy, Origins gives you no excuses when it comes to blaming the controller for your screw ups. When playing it comes down to the wire the controls of a well tuned platformer must be second nature. With each new mechanic the simplicity of the controls allow you to move throughout the levels flawlessly (with a little practice) and will have you making quick decisions without thinking twice of what your character is going to do on screen. For the record, I used the analog stick on the Xbox 360 controller and it held up just fine.
One complaint I have is that through all the mayhem, the game does not give me enough time to stop and take in all the scenery. The painted art style made my jaw drop on multiple occasions as I hopped across a number of very different and inspired environments. The fluidity of the characters and the charm Ubisoft has animated into each and every one of them brings them to life. Along with the stunning visuals is a score that blends so well with the style of the game you may not even notice it until you take some time and listen. Each of the instruments is hand picked for every nuance and situation throughout every level. Tribal didgeridoos escort you through a forest landscape and a jaw harp greets you on the world select screen. I can confidently say that Rayman: Origins is the most beautiful 2D platformer that I have played in my life.
This is only a glimpse into what kinds of fun you and your friends will be having.
I had the privilege of playing the game in its purest form, with 4 player couch co-op. Unfortunately for everyone, Origins does not come equipped with online co-op so it is up to your local, real life friends to actually meet up in the same room to enjoy the game together. If the game was not challenging enough already, try having three other people jumping beside you, clouding your vision or hitting you in the back of the head as you try to make that death-defying jump to reach the checkpoint. The game is perfectly fine alone, but really shines with a co-op session. The levels do not change with the addition of more players, but the beauty comes from being able to share in the fun with friends. Keep in mind that only one player will be able to earn achievements in a co-op playthrough, even if everyone is signed into their profiles. I highly encourage the game to be played in co-op, but ensure that you have competent friends otherwise everyone is going to get frustrated.
The unfortunate reality is that Rayman: Origins was sent to die. Being released alongside huge titles like Assassin’s Creed, Modern Warfare 3, and fellow platformer Super Mario Land did not help its cause. Everyone that enjoys gaming really needs to grab this game both on premise, and the fact that it is the best platformer you will play this year. The art direction will tease your eyes and leave you wanting more. It is tragic that Origins will not be seen by more people, so I emplore everyone to grab a copy and get together with a couple friends for some beautiful platforming mayhem. You will have multiple hours of amazingly crafted fun and it will be up to you to spread the word and get as many people playing Rayman: Origins as possible once it wins over your heart.
Note: This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game.
The Co-Op Experience: Four players can play the entire campaign via local co-op. Players can hoist each other up to reach higher areas and revive each other when they die.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.