Review: Give Skyward Sword a little break, Rayman Origins is one of the most charming games of the year


Rayman Origins is by far and away one of the most pleasant surprises of 2011. Who knew that the franchise that went from a side-scrolling platformer in 1995, to a mini-game collection in 2006 would come back full circle to deliver one of the finest platformering games in existence. Coming from a Nintendo fan who grew up with Mario titles such as Super Mario 3 and Super Mario World, this praise given to Rayman Origins means a whole lot. 

Although there are quite a few good games with the Rayman name attached to it, Rayman has never quite reached the level of popularity or critical acclaim as everyone’s favorite Italian plumber or even Sega’s blue blur; but with the arrival of Rayman Origins the limbless wonder has really given the platforming genre a run for its money. Starting from the very first level, Rayman Origins delivers a non-stop thrill ride filled with creativeness not often seen in a video game world filled with killstreaks and curb-stomping. It will take pure dedication to acquire every Lum and find all the Electoons, but it is something that will be done with a smile on your face throughout because of the captivating visuals made possible by the UbiArt Framework and entrancing soundtrack from composer Christophe Héral.

The rich hand drawn environments and character design would be nothing without compelling gameplay to complement it, and thankfully that is a department that Rayman Origins delivers on by the boatload. The tight and responsive controls allow a feeling of freedom while exploring the wacky diverse world, while the acquiring of new abilities keeps the game feeling fresh as Rayman gains the power to glide through the air and climb up walls to name a few. There are also a few side scrolling shooter and underwater levels to boot that seem to arrive just when the game needs a little palate cleanser from the platforming madness.

Whether playing the game solo or with a few buddies, there is a lot to love about Rayman Origins. While the game does have a few flaws such as the inconsistent difficulty of the boss fights and having to go back to previous levels to find collectibles missed to move forward in the game, those details end up being a real non-issue because Rayman will have all his abilities when returning to former levels making them feel fresh and boss fights are few and far between.

Overall, my time with Rayman Origins was immensely enjoyable, and I can wholeheartedly recommend the title to anyone who enjoys a good platforming experience. In a year filled with fantastic titles, Rayman Origins should definitely not be missed.
Eugene lives in New Mexico and has been a life long gamer since getting his hands on an NES. Always partial to Nintendo, Eugene has made it a point to keep informed on all things Mario.