So, I just finished Rayman Origins. And I am exhausted. It’s sort of hard to describe.
It’s kind of like babysitting a hyper-active 4-year-old cousin, who has just discovered Fanta, and then mixed it with crack, and then main-lined it through his eyeball. And instead of being a responsible adult, I’ve just sat back and dropped an acid tab.
It was kind of awesome.
To start with, I’m not going to lie – I still have no idea what the storyline of this game is. As a newcomer to the Rayman series I don’t know what this weird little dude’s deal is. There’s no dialogue, but from what I gather you wake up some sort of sleeping woman who gets mad and sends some sort of demonic creatures to kidnap all your friends, the Electoons, who are small pink balls of goo with high-pitched voices. They also capture the Nymphs, who are the only characters in the game that can talk. These nymphs grant you new powers throughout the game, and for some reason they are also strangely and almost inappropriately buxom.
They’re kind of awesome.
And so you are thrown into a mad world of bright colours and singing pink blobs and gleeful little creatures, and you just sort of assume you are meant to move your character to the right because, well, it’s a platformer. It’s fast-paced and fun and colourful and that novelty lasts for most of the game, but as you get closer to the end it starts to become a bit of a grind and you get the feeling that every level is going to be very, very, similar to the one before. The spasmodic addition of boss battles offers a welcome change to the gameplay, as do the occasional levels where you to get to fly around on a mosquito and shoot the bad guys – if these had been a little more regular it would have broken the monotony up a little better.
That’s not so awesome.
Where this game really does win is graphically. It’s a welcome return to platform games of the past like Mario and Crash, and it’s done exceptionally well. The unlockable characters are all bright and bouncy, and the bad guys all look like they’ve crawled straight out of the Wizard of Oz. The bosses are sinister enough without actually being scary, which I suppose is what you expect really from a game that is quite clearly aimed at a younger audience.
And that audience has been kept very firmly in mind. The difficulty of the game is not high – although the storyline is relatively lengthy for a platform game, it doesn’t pose much of a challenge throughout. But in order to unlock the later levels of the game some serious grinding is required, as you pretty much have to rescue every single captured Electoon in the previous levels to get that far. And although this does add a solid amount of length to the game, desperately searching for collectibles is not necessarily a good time and it eventually does get boring.
In saying that, the pace of the game means that some of the levels are excellent value – you zoom your way through icy tundra, dank caves and hellish infernos, all the while changing size, flying, running on walls and beating the crap out of the bad guys. It’s hard to take issue with such an infectiously cheerful game, regardless of how repetitive it might become. Playing Rayman Origins is like being beaten over the head by a unicorn wielding a rainbow. Sure, it gets annoying after a while – but look at the pretty colours! It’s innocent (save for the enormous-breasted nymphs), it’s fun, and it does exactly what it promises. It’s a solid entry to the platform genre, and although it isn’t anything ground-breaking it was a nice bit of nostalgia, a flashback to years gone by where the sky was bluer, the grass was greener and the nymphs had bigger breasts.
It’s kind of awesome.
Lasting appeal: 7