It doesn’t take long for Rayman Origins to put a smile on your face. Leaping from platform to platform, everyone’s favourite jointless protagonist is a joy to control. The game’s format is as familiar as they come, but this doesn’t stop it from feeling like one of the freshest titles in years.
The visuals have a lot to do with it. Beautifully drawn textures are sewn together with a parallax effect that gives each level real depth. As you navigate from left to right, each of the many layers move at a slightly different speed, making it hard to judge whether it’s a 2D or 3D game.
“It doesn’t take long for Rayman Origins to put a smile on your face”This is one of the many details that shines through in Origins. Water flows naturally, undulating as you jump in and out of pools. Trees sway subtly in the wind as rain hammers down and lightning strikes in the background. Loading screens are disguised as miniature levels.
For someone with key body parts missing, Rayman feels surprisingly solid. Combined with precise controls, this makes navigating the 60 levels relatively easy. Good timing and co-ordination are required to reach some items, but when you fail to do so, the blame is typically yours rather than the game’s. It can be easy to feel shortchanged and frustrated by platformers, but Origins largely avoids such situations.
Those familiar with the console version will notice the lack of co-op multiplayer, with only the option to race a friend’s ghost available. It’s one of the few negatives for a game that otherwise has plenty to keep you occupied for weeks, in short or long bursts.
As a Vita launch title, this is a safe bet for Ubisoft and gamers looking for their first game on the platform. With a console port of a critically acclaimed title, you know what you’re getting. Yet Origin’s charm makes it easy to forget that you’re playing on a handheld and that is perhaps its greatest achievement.