Sunday, April 22, 2012

rayman origins

ESRB: E10+

I didn’t expect to like this game. I bought two launch games for the PS VITA and this was my second choice. Rayman Origins (Feb 2012), originally out on consoles but I’ve picked up the PS Vita version. This game stands apart from other Ubisoft titles like Assassin's Creed and Far Cry — by being nothing like them. This is a platformer, in-fact a great platformer.

Platformer game-play staples like side-scrolling, jumping and punching are all you will need to learn. This game follows the footsteps of classic gaming franchises like Super Mario Bros. Rayman, however, is a franchise with a history all its own, established back in 1995 on the Sega Saturn and PS1. Rayman has had loads of sequels, learning-games and even a kart racer. Most recently, he appeared in a spinoff game for the Nintendo Wii, Raving Rabbids. This is my first encounter with Rayman, as I was originally put off by the graphics. I’m very impressed by the quality of the game play.

You too, may easily pass this gem-of-a-game by because the graphics are loud, colorful and straight out of a Ren and Stimpy cartoon. Quite the opposite of the dark, gritty landscape of most AAA games. The flat 2D graphics are misleadingly kiddish and I’m glad I took a closer look. The animation quality is supreme and really brings not only the 2D characters, but also the levels, to life. The characters are kooky, including Rayman, most are missing arms and legs but have hands and feet. The disconnected appendages of our protagonist allow for some really expressive movements.

The PS Vita version brings some added functionality and collectables. Runes are tear-shaped collectables hidden out of site in each level. The touch screen is used to find hidden runes with the help of a sound prompt, when you hear the jingling of bones touch around the screen until you find the hidden rune. You can also “pinch” the touch screen to zoom in on the action.

I haven’t completed the game yet but that’s not for lack of time spent. There are over 60 levels to master. I’ve replayed all the levels I’ve completed, over and over, looking to unlock collectables and beat timed races. Much like other platformer games, you collect points throughout a map, in this case firefly-looking creatures called Lums rather than coins. Each level has a handful of requirements that will require replaying to get them all.

Pick it up if you’re looking for the perfect game for your PS Vita. The console versions allows for 4-player drop in and out game play, if co-op is your thing, surprisingly this handheld version does not. Charming characters and silly level romping will certainly allow you to share this with kids. I’m having a great time and will continue to play Rayman Origins for a while to come.

Seems I'm always looking for forest nymphs

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