One of the most critically praised 2D platformers of the generation makes its debut on Sony’s new handheld with the Vita release of Rayman Origins. Ubisoft’s 2D painting-come-to-life leaps off the screen with a ton of available content and super sharp platforming action, all available anytime and anywhere.
First things first, Rayman Origins is among the most beautiful games I’ve ever played. The UbiArt framework, making its development debut with this title, was built specifically to allow artists to concentrate on making the most artistically interesting world they can without worrying about getting hung up on the technical side of game development. This commitment to art direction shows through in every aspect of Rayman Origins. The characters shine with an incredible amount of charm and the level design is second to none in the genre. The colors pop off the Vita’s OLED screen, and every ounce of the game’s considerable visual fidelity holds up just as well here as on the big screen. This is definitely a showcase game for the system, and if you want something to show off your brand new handheld, you won’t find a much better option.
What elevates Rayman from an artistic masterpiece to a true gaming triumph is the top notch platforming action. The controls are super tight, a good thing considering the tough but fair nature of many of the levels, especially deeper into the game. These levels are designed to take advantage of not only the unique visual style of the game, but its character as well. The aesthetics and the structure of each level are different enough to stave off any feelings of monotony, even after extended play sessions. Bouncing through stages collecting Lums (Rayman’s version of the standard coin/ring collection) never ceases to entertain.
As you progress through the numerous stages that make up Origin’s world, you will gain new abilities and collect Electoons, which will unlock everything from additional stages to new character skins for your eager adventurers. Electoons can be freed from cages hidden within the level or earned by collecting a certain amount of Lums during your run through each stage. Because your overall Electoon level plays into the different things you can unlock, it gives you plenty of reason to replay levels over and over again until you’ve collected them all. Occasionally, the platforming sections are broken up by side-scrolling shooter style levels where you fly on the back of a mosquito. All of this, coupled with the large volume of levels available, adds a tremendous amount of replay value to the title, and the setup is perfect for the short play sessions typical in portable gaming. Thankfully, the game also doesn’t go out of its way to shoehorn motion or touch controls in just because they are there, like some other Vita launch titles.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest draws of the console game has been eliminated for the Vita. The oft-praised co-op mode did not make the transition. This is a real shame considering the quality of the rest of the package and the fact that several other Vita games offer multiplayer. This omission is really the only blemish on the overall game and stands out especially because of how addicting the multiplayer was. Hopefully, this feature is something that can be patched in at a later date.
If you haven’t played Rayman Origins on console, you absolutely owe it to yourself to pick it up on the Vita. The game translates perfectly to the handheld realm, and despite the lack of online co-op, still manages to pack a tremendous amount of content into the most incredible looking platformer on the market. Even if you have played Origins on the big boy systems, it’s still worth picking up so you can enjoy all of its charm on the go. Vita has one of its first killer apps here, and it belongs in everyone’s library. I’m so excited to see what experiences the UbiArt platform brings us in the future, but for now, I’m content to traversing the Glade of Dreams with everyone’s favorite limbless hero.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.