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I am a huge fan of Ubisoft’s previous Rayman games, and while I was aware of the positive critical reception from Rayman Origins’ release on major platforms like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, I was unsure how a portable version would hold up. As one of my first purchases for my new PlayStation Vita, I was not left disappointed.
You take on the role of colourful hero Rayman, as he is tasked with rescuing the Glade of Dreams from a horde of evil monsters. Fans of the series will see several welcome faces return, including both the Teensies and Rayman’s sidekick Globox.
As you would expect, the game offers traditional side-scrolling platforming action. If you are a Super Mario aficionado then you’ll know what to expect here. As you enter different worlds your characters learn new abilities and powers which help to keep the gameplay fresh and exciting. The boss fights are easy but enjoyable, and the fun gameplay makes up for what is in essence rather a basic story.
The game is particularly impressive from a visual perspective. It really is amazing how much power can fit into the palm of your hand with consoles like the Vita, and Rayman Origins really pushes the console to its limit. Colourful and vibrant environments interact with your character as you move along the screen, and it is very easy to forget that you are playing a portable version of the game. The underwater levels in particular are stunning.
The soundtrack isn’t anything particularly special, but it does manage to suit the environments well without being too repetitive.
One key difference between this and the console version of the game is the lack of the 2-4 person co-operative multiplayer mode. This is quite disappointing, as the multiplayer mode was highlighted by a number of gaming publications as being one of the best ways to get further enjoyment and fun out of the game. The game does however feature a time trial ‘ghost’ mode, where you can try and beat the times set by your friends on the different levels.
I was also quite disappointed that the Vita’s touchscreen wasn’t utilised to a greater extent; it is purely used to collect items and not to control Rayman himself. The game will receive a launch on Nintendo’s 3DS console later this month, and it will be interesting to see whether that experience will differ much from what is on offer here.
Despite these minor drawbacks, the game has enough charm and character to appeal to a wide demographic. Rayman Origins is a great launch title for the PlayStation Vita, and if you are one of the lucky new owners of the latest handheld console, this is definitely a necessary purchase.
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