Advantages good gameplay, one of the best Wii games, multiplayer
Disadvantages 2D can get boring, quite hard and frustrating at times
|Value for Money|
|Difficulty & Complexity|
Rayman Origins (Wii) is the latest edition of the Rayman series of games that are developed and published by Ubisoft. First released in 1995 as a 2D platformer, the 2011 version has gone back to its roots.
I have never been particularly impressed by the Wii and have always sooner played on my Xbox or PC. However, when sitting with my young nephew on Christmas day, I saw Rayman Origins and had some flashbacks to the first release during my youth, thinking how funny it is that some of these ideas are still going. Judging by other Wii games, which generally have very average graphics and playability, didn’t expect much from Rayman but was very pleasantly surprised.
For those that have missed Rayman for the last 15 years or so, he is a character with no arms, no legs or neck but with hands and feet that can move independently from his body. Because of this, Rayman can launch long punches to defeat his enemies. Rayman’s best feature is that he is able to use his hair to glide and float by spinning it at a rapid speed.
As well as Rayman, there are a number of other regular characters throughout the series, including Globox (his sidekick), Murfy (a guide) and Ly (a fairy). All of the games in the main series (Rayman Origins being the fifth) have pretty distinct settings and surroundings, a bit like what you would expect from a Sonic the Hedgehog or Mario Bros game.
Rayman Origins – the story
The fifth release in the Rayman series features the title character, Globox and two teensies as they fight various evil creatures that have infected the Glade of Dreams, a world created by Rayman himself.
The plot of the game probably sounds quite ridiculous if you have never seen the game before but the game starts when Rayman and his friends are relaxing under the Snoring Tree. Their snoring seems to somewhat annoy a granny from the Land of the Livid Dead and she sends out an evil army of creatures across the world, capturing the Electoons that currently inhabit it. Rayman starts to go crazy and in doing so, his nemesis, Mr Dark, is able to escape the Land of the Livid Dead.
Rayman and his friends manage to escape and are tasked with freeing the Electoons, to cure Rayman and restore the Glade of Dreams. They must travel through various lands to find the Electoons and save the world!
Rayman Origins – gameplay
Ok, so the story does sound mad but for those who played the original 2D platform game, there are a number of similarities. Good news is that the return to the 2D format works for me, as it has done with other similar games. There are some games that are simply made for 2D which showed when the makers attempted to put Sonic the Hedgehog into 3D mode, failing hugely for me. The same applies to Rayman, where the 3D version really did not work.
Rayman can be played simultaneously by four players which we found was great fun as a family activity. You can choose to control Rayman, Globox or the two Teensies, most likely with everybody fighting to be the title character. With this being the Wii, it is very easy for players to jump in and out of the game as and when they please, unlike the early platform versions where it was pretty much all or nothing. The Wii version also allows you to go a bit crazy with the controllers and movements with some controller based consoles can’t provide.
Players must travel through the crazy levels, fighting enemies and rescuing the imprisoned Electoons. As you progress through the game, you can pick up new useful abilities like running up walls. This sort of progress keeps you interested and you know there are other things to aim for as opposed to just aimlessly doing the same thing in each level. If a player gets hit by an enemy, they can be saved by a big slap (maybe not the best motivation for kids!), a little like I’ve seen in Mario.
A bit like other platform games, much of Rayman is also about collecting things. Whereas in Sonic it was rings and coins in Mario, Rayman uses Lums (its own currency) and these are totalled at the end of every stage.
Overall, the controls are very simple to use and the game is accessible to everyone. With the multiplayer function there are lots of laughs to be had, fighting for collectibles and defeating the enemies together.
Graphics and Sound
The graphics of Rayman Origins and surprisingly good for a Wii game. I quite enjoyed the backdrops within the first few levels which include the greenery of a jungle and quite a mad desert world where there are piano keys and trumpets. I think this keeps up with the craziness of the character quite well. For those that played the original game all those years ago, you will be quite pleasantly surprised.
Sometimes, the backgrounds get a little bit mad and it is hard to work out what’s going on but at a closer look they are actually quite artistic and over time the mish mash seems to work. The bright colours simply make the game very appealing.
With the sound, I did find some of the babble quite irritating but this is designed to fit in with the strange and crazy in which the game is based.
Overall, as a novice gamer, Rayman was perhaps too difficult for me if anything. It may have just been me but it seemed like the Electoons were always stuck in places where I could do nothing except die. After the first level it seemed ok but that must have just been to ease you in. The rest of the family had a similar problem so the game is either tough or we were all rubbish.
A plus for me but most likely a con for others is that you don’t get too badly hindered by dying. Unlike some games, there seem to be checkpoints all over the place so you will never lose too much ground. This may annoy some people but it made the game better for me. I guess it shortens the longevity which isn’t good for avid gamers.
As far as value goes, you can buy Rayman Origins for £17 online at Amazon as of writing this review. I’ve also seen it in some second hand shops for under £10 already. I think some people will get fed up quickly with the 2D premise if you are used to the modern style of gaming. Also, the whole collecting coins system doesn’t get done much anymore and may be slightly boring for some players.
If you like the 2D platform or just want to reminisce back to the good old days of gaming this is definitely a game for you. I enjoyed the multiplayer function and believe there is some longevity with Rayman Origins. In terms of the Wii, it’s the best platform game I’ve witnessed although not really comparable to the Xbox and Playstation playability.
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When the Glade of Dreams is overrun by "nefurrious"Darktoons, the Fairy Council hastily invokes Rayman to save the day; but the hero of light isn't...
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