In my run of Rayman Origins I discovered you don’t necessarily need a relationship with Ubisoft’s platform franchise in order to enjoy the newest entry. Although the plot involves Rayman and his friends stopping an army of creatures sent to take over their land, I almost forgot the story partway through and still had a great time. By the way, why are they stopping these creatures? Because Rayman and his friends SNORE IN THEIR SLEEP and it annoyed the granny of the Land of the Livid Dead.
Rayman Origins embodies the spirit of the platform games of yesteryear, like Adventure Island or Donkey Kong Country (and even R-Type). Its bright, colorful, and sharp high-resolution 2D visuals lure you in, welcoming you to what initially seems like a happy romp through some levels, until the difficulty kicks in. Rayman Origins then becomes sixty something levels of pushing your ‘old school’ limits.
You will jump, punch, kick, swim, climb your way to victory, and along the way you can collect a number of Lums (glowing golden bee-like… things), which help to free the Electoons (magenta-like… Wonka candy creatures…) that help open up new paths to new worlds and treasure. Each new path has a wondrous design with its own elemental theme: sky, earth, water, ice, fire, along with some fun, almost random choices thrown into the mix: there is one level comprised of cooked foods, another with pieces of fruit as the backdrop. A lot of the game’s challenge comes from its requirement of timing and planning. In the beginning, the timing and planning is typically for catching a hidden group of Lums or grabbing a gold medal. The later stages practically require practice, possible memorization, which in turn requires trial and error. Luckily the game gives you an infinite amount of chances to get it right, and even takes pity on you if you have failed repeatedly.
On top of the challenge, Rayman Origins offers a lot to keep coming back: cooperative modes, secret treasures to collect, characters to unlock, and even a time attack mode. It is an amazing package of classic platforming, gorgeous graphics, and also boasting a soundtrack comprised of bluegrass medleys and Afrobeat pieces that set the friendly atmosphere, which would be almost relaxing if not for the whole ‘trying to not die’ thing.