Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Rayman Origins (Wii) Review

Review for Rayman Origins on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

I hate Rayman. His foppish, my-mum-picked-a-style-and-I-never-changed-it haircut perched atop a perennial gormless grin; his perky attitude after he completes an area, spinning to the camera and flicking out a sign of "I did a great job" after the player has surmounted cruel levels built to cheaply reduce a miniscule stock of lives. This Rayman I detest, the Rayman of the PSOne era, the one that wanted to be a legitimate platforming star and tricked everyone into believing he was with smooth animation on large, bold sprites but no gameplay of note to back it up. This Rayman can die in a fire for all I care. In hindsight, maybe Cubed3 shouldn't have given me this review of his latest soiree around the Glade of Dreams as I was, if anything, hoping for this to be the final nail in his Rabbid covered coffin.

Yet Rayman Origins is quite possibly the best 2D platformer on Nintendo's current hardware. The reason for which is simple: it blends old-school jump 'em up sensibilities with modern game design. You play as Rayman or one of his friends, with up to three chums in couch co-op, traversing the Glade in a quest to rescue the Lums - the game's equivalent of Mario's coins - and shocking pink Electoons trapped in cages. On the way you'll leap bottomless pits, dive through the darkest depths, out run a mutated piranha plant and otherwise navigate the “main game”'s ten hours or so of content.

I say "main game", because defeating the final boss is by no means the end; there are more Electoons to free, more characters to unlock and a whole new area to see after the credits roll. Even without these additions, ten hours of immaculately designed platforming is stunning value, not a moment of which feels like padding for the sake of length.

And it is immaculate. Super Meat Boy immaculate. It's possible to flow - not run, that would be gauche - through most of the five or six minute long areas in just under ninety seconds if you connect each bounce, swing and wall jump perfectly. To do so your avatar will graze past impeding objects, land pixel perfect on distant ledges, using each ability to exploit previously unseen shortcuts.

Screenshot for Rayman Origins on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

So confident is this design that you begin to see Michel Ancel and the comparatively small development team behind Origins showing off. Enemies arranged in such a way that punching the right one will begin a chain to take out the rest, and a ten second dance mini-game that players will instantly understand without being prompted, are just two minor elements in which the skill of the developer shines through.

Ancel's greatest single victory, though, is conceptual. By going back to the core values of the original Rayman - its visual quality, attempt at difficulty and the vivid world it created - and then gutting its archaic lives system and unfair deaths, replacing it with a feeling of spry momentum and true challenge, Michel has created an experience that ‘retro’ gamers will adore and younger players won't find abrasive. Our limbless Frenchman handles beautifully without exception; there is never a moment in which you're not in complete control.

Screenshot for Rayman Origins on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Precision is everything and if you screw up a wall jump, it's you who screwed up the wall jump. It's a blessing in the title's chase sequences, undoubtedly the most difficult and rewarding levels, as you run after a treasure box past a constantly evolving landscape, often as it falls apart around you. The title can be played with the Wii Remote held sideways, with a Nunchuk, or a Classic Controller. Each is a legitimate choice for the player; none incorporate any perfunctory waggle elements.

The reverence for the traditional is one of just two blemishes on an otherwise superb product, though. It doesn't try to revolutionise any aspect of the genre and it would be difficult to argue that anything truly new is present here - Rayman Origins goes about perfecting existing mechanics, with the odd twist for luck. There's the lingering thought that the team could have gone that little further and shown us something wholly fresh, such is the fine job on what they did produce. Issue two is a lack of online multiplayer, especially for a title that can be played through in its entirety with friends. Its absence is bewildering.

Screenshot for Rayman Origins on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Having played versions on other systems I was initially worried that Origins on Nintendo's older hardware would lose some of the impact of the high definition editions on offer. It's expectedly less crisp but the design is no less boldly imaginative on Wii, the animation no less smooth, and the world is alive, vibrant and dynamic.

Equally, the sound comes through just as clear with this release and is perhaps more important for the tech to rise to the challenge of. Music has a sweet and energy filled tone, reminiscent of the better LocoRoco tracks. There are numbers with high pitched vocals and listlessly dreamy melodies, as well as world music flavoured, percussion heavy beats. They're each tailored, not just to levels, but to sections within those levels, melting into one another to reflect the changing environments and themes. Each action you perform is melodic too; just choosing an option in the main menu yields possibilities for fun with sound, the game's aural elements encapsulating the overall strive for raw fun over any other aspect.

Screenshot for Rayman Origins on Wii- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Breezy movement in inch perfect landscapes, in sequences that are at once a challenge and a treat, with new opportunities for fun in every repeat of an area with new abilities that are conferred upon you. However while it's not formulaic by any means, it doesn't re-write the rulebook either, which is a bit of a pity.

Graphics

From the dominating bosses to the tiniest flowers bopping to the rhythm of this very much alive world, Rayman Origins is a looker. A steady frame rate that never drops no matter how many enemies are on screen and an irresistible charm in every brush stroke complete the package.

Sound

An absolute treat for the ears. It's difficult to convey just how in sync each beat is with the overarching play, moment to moment. Diverse and dramatic with some of the best use of the kazoo heard in years, it's worth the price of admission alone.

Value

Loads to do, loads to re-do - you're looking at twenty hours to see absolutely everything. Twenty. Hours. There could have been even more with online multiplayer, but get some mates in and you can probably add another point to that Value score.

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

About this score
Rated 9 out of 10

A certain Italian plumber should watch his back - Rayman Origins is as good as New Super Mario Bros. Wii and not far off from approaching the quality of some of his finest 2D adventures. This is a tightly designed yet grandiose platformer that is stuffed full of wide smile-inducing joy. While limited in terms of multiplayer options and potentially too difficult for some of its intended audience, Rayman Origins is nonetheless one of this year's best games on Wii, and a blueprint for 2D jumpathons in the 21st century.

Read and post comments

 Buy Rayman Origins (Wii) Buy Rayman Origins (Wii)

Share this Review Share this Review

01.12.2011

14

7247

Games you may also like...

Developer

Ubisoft

Publisher

Ubisoft

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date TBA   Australian release date Out now   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

I want this game. Why are they selling it for €45 here in NL? It's $35 in the USA, right? Overpricing isn't going to rank in sales.

( Edited 19.12.2012 22:54 by Guest )

Oh and I absolutely loved the original Rayman, it might actually be one of the most influential games in my life. Such gorgeous environments and music.

( Edited 19.12.2012 01:21 by Guest )

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Peter, why did you have to do this? Smilie I had no real interest in yet another bog-standard Rayman outing, but now you've got me truly salivating.

Damn you *shakes fist*

Smilie

( Edited 24.11.2012 23:18 by Guest )

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

The PS3 demo of it is awesome so I'm definitely getting this eventually. It's cheapest on the Wii but I can see this dropping even further after Christmas on all formats. Really loved the original on PS1 but haven't really played much of the rest of the series. Origins is definitely one way to successfully reboot a franchise, that's for sure.

( Edited 19.12.2012 01:21 by Guest )

Cubed3 Staff :: Senior Editor
Follow me on: Twitter | YouTube | Backloggery
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

It's started terribly here in the UK, across all formats. I put that down simply to the high price - which is what always happened with the Wii Rabbids games. However, as soon as the price crept down slightly, sales rocketed. I foresee a similar trend here.

( Edited 24.11.2012 23:18 by Guest )

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

-sigh-
Another great game I need!

I absolutely loved "A Boy and His Blob" on the Wii, this seems like another great platformer.

Please give our little random review show a try;
http://randomreviewshow.com/index.html
We have special effects and umm...stuff...
Robert (guest) 04.12.2011 08:56#7

"this Rayman I detest, the Rayman of the PSOne era,"

Its the opposite for me, I loved that Rayman of the PSOne era. And after Rayman 1 I detested Rayman 2 and everything else that came after.
Rayman Origins is the very first Rayman game since the original that I really want to buy, even if I'm not digging the "Nickelodeon" look to everything I still want the game.

Looks fantastic. I'll be getting the 360 version soon.

Add me on anything. I'm always looking for new friends/opponents/town visitors/chances to appear more popular than I actually am.
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Loved the GBA? one and still have fond memories of the Nintendo 64 Rayman though nostalgia didn't help so much with the 3DS remake. Good to hear this has turned out well - was blown away by the manic art style when Ubi first revealed it, sounds like it's come together!

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

I'm about to finally buy this. The price has dropped to €30 here in the Netherlands and I'm hoping to grab it even a bit cheaper.

It worth 30 Euros even. The game is simply platforming perfection and if it was a Mario game, it'd get far more recognition.

This is coming from someone who wasn't even a Rayman fan.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

It's dropped to 30€ just about everywhere in Europe I think (that's the same price in Belgium and France)

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer
9--9 (guest) 13.03.2012 17:40#13

Canyarion said:
I want this game. Why are they selling it for €45 here in NL? It's $35 in the USA, right? Overpricing isn't going to rank in sales.

Maybe they understand a lot of americans pay through through the nose already for things like health and education, whereas europeans can afford to spend a little bit more on luxury like entertainment products?

? (guest) 25.05.2012 11:36#14

You hate Rayman!? Why on earth did you review this game then?!?! :-x

Comment on this review

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.

Follow this topic Follow this topic

Keep up with new comments with the RSS feed for this topic, or subscribe via email above.
Turqoise Radio - Cubed3's Glass to the Wall
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Latest news and updatesSite Feed
Vote on our latest community pollNintendo Poll
Vote: Which eShop Games will you Download this Week?
Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse
Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion
Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl Demo
F-Zero: Maximum Velocity
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams
Golden Sun
I am in the Movie
Mario Golf: World Tour Demo
My Exotic Farm
My Farm
Nintendo Pocket Football Club
Putty Squad
Tiny Games - Knights & Dragons
Member of the weekMember of the Week
This week's top member is jres80, awarded the most stars for great posts.
Online Play and ChatOnline Nintendo Play & Chat
General Chatroom: Click here to chat Wii U Nintendo Network Codes - Find other Nintendo Wii U users 3DS Nintendo Network Codes - Find other Nintendo 3DS users
Listen to our Nintendo Jukebox - Classic Mario, Zelda, Metroid songs and more Nintendo news and reviews on the move