I have always loved the Rayman series, along with all of their colourful characters. However I have always found them to be SUPER difficult, and because of this I have never been able to complete one… until now. Now, I am not saying that Rayman Origins is an easy game, it is far from easy. Although the difficulty level is soon forgotten due to how quickly you get thrown back into a level after dying, in addition to the adorable characters (and enemies)!

Story

They story within this game is slightly ridiculous; Rayman, his trusty friend Globox, and the teensies are all sitting in their jungle living area, in the Glade of dreams. However on this occasion they are ‘relaxing’ rather loudly and they begin to irritate what appears to be a darktoon old lady, who is living in the dark depths underneath the glade of dreams.
After taking so much noise, the old lady goes crazy! She starts throwing enemies and sections of the dark depths up the pipe and attacks Rayman and his friends, and goes onto infect the Glade of Dreams. This causes chaos for everyone in the Glade of Dreams, and Rayman and his friends must go on a journey and save everyone! Along their journey they must save the fairies who grant him and his friends’ new powers, so he can continue further on his journey, and go to many different places.

Gameplay

Rayman Origins is Platformer/Puzzle game, which is very similar to the likes of Super Mario Brothers, Sonic the Hedgehog, etc. This game is very reminiscent of the very first Rayman game, and even features many similar enemies from the first game. Instead of being one long flowing level, the level is split up by ‘eye-ball’ doors, which Rayman must hit to progress through the door onto the next section of level.

The aim of each Rayman level is to get from the start of the level to the end and survive. Each level gives Rayman the opportunity to collect up to six Electoons, which Rayman needs to collect to unlock new levels throughout the game. Most Electoons within the levels are locked by different enemies and puzzles which Rayman must solve before the Electoon unlocks for him to collect.
Two Electoons are usually hidden within normal levels, where the player must stray from the normal path to find and collect them. There is also a clue given to players through a simple plea of “Help me!” which informs the player that an Electoon is hidden in that section of the level. In addition, the plea gets slightly louder, the closer you are to finding it. The third Electoon is always at the end of each level, which is usually the easiest Electoon to collect in each level.
The other three Electoons are unlocked through different means; two can be unlocked through collecting a certain amount of Lums within any level, and the third Electoon can be obtained through the player beating the level in under a certain time limit. However, this last Electoon which is obtained through a time-trial challenge forces the player to replay the level to obtain this; at the start of a level which the player has already beaten once, there will be a floating clock which the player has to punch to active the time trial Electoon challenge. I love this design, as it gives the game so much replay-ability, and it forces the player to want to play the game again to 100% the game. It certainly worked on me!

Within each level are Lums, which are yellow, glowing smiley faces which Rayman must collect. The reason for collecting the Lums is to earn extra Electoons at the end of each level, in addition to earning a medal on each level. There is a mechanic which I really enjoyed whilst collecting Electoons, and that was the ‘Queen Lums’; when the player interacts with certain objects within a level, a queen Lum appears, and when Rayman collects this queen, all other Lums on the screen turn red and start singing! This is extremely adorable! However when the Lums are red, they count as two Lums collected, as opposed to one. I thought this was great as it made me explore levels, which I wouldn’t normally explore, so I could collect double the amount of Lums, to earn the Electoons and the medal at the end of each level.

At the start of each of the worlds, there is a Fairy guardian linked to that level which Rayman must save (usually in the first level in each world). Once the Fairy has been saved by Rayman, the fairy grants Rayman with powers which help him progress, and solve certain puzzles within the game. Rayman and his friends earn power-ups such as the ability to punch, fly, swim and running up walls. I found that these power-ups are constantly in use, and none of the powers are ever wasted.

If I was the given the choice to redesign any of the levels, I would only choose one level to change, and this is one of the dreaded ‘Tooth’ levels; there are only 10 of these levels within the game, and Rayman is collecting them for a magician within the Glade of Dreams. These tooth levels consist of the player chasing a treasure chest from the start, to the finish, of the level without stopping. If the player slows down, or gets hit by an enemy you can bet that they will have to restart the tooth level. Your timing must be perfect. Now, I really enjoyed these levels, and I found them to be the most challenging thing I found in this game (excluding boss levels). The one Tooth level I would change is the forth tooth, which is set in the port/sea levels; I would change the level by adding more usage of the different powers that Rayman learns. The reason I would add this is because I felt this level seemed extremely flat through mainly swimming. I felt that if the flying mechanic was added into this level, I would have enjoyed it more, and it may have lowered the difficulty of the level for me. I struggled with the swimming mechanic, so this level took me FOREVER! I believe the level would be more balanced if it included a balance of all the available power-ups that Rayman can use.

One game-play mechanic I loved and used throughout the play-through of the game, and this was the instant re-spawn mechanic after dying. Unlike most games, when you die within a level you do not have to start the level from the start, but in fact you just restart the area you that you died in. This is great for some of the excruciatingly hard levels; when you are near the end of the level and you keep dying, you know that you can keep retrying the end section of the level as opposed to restarting the entire level.

Graphics and Audio

As a designer, I personally do not judge a game through its graphics alone, but the graphics are a great way to keep players entertained, and wanting to play it more. The graphics in Rayman can only be described as colourful 2D images, with life. I found everyone in this game to look charming, including the enemies; every enemy was really cute, but still looked tough enough to beat the player over and over again, and for the player to enjoy it. However, I believe that because of the charm that has been given to the characters through the graphics is great!

In addition to the awesome, bright graphics, there is the beautiful audio within the game. The sound effects are comical, but the audio is so catchy. The best music in the game is within the sea levels; it is the same voice as the Electoons saying “Help me!” but singing a really cute song. I was weak at the swimming sections in the game, but I didn’t mind replaying them due to really enjoying the music in these levels.

Replay-ability

The replay-ability within Rayman is great; the collection of Electoons in each level is a good way to get players to replay levels. In addition, to 100% each level, a player must play each level at least twice, and this is because of the time-trial Electoons on each level. These time-trials can only attempt once the level has been completed, with at least one Electoon. Considering how many levels there are within the game, and the varying difficulty between these levels, I believe that this game has at least 30+ hours of game-play to 100% complete the game. It is definitely value for money!

Summary

I absolutely adored this game, and I would definitely replay this game 1000 times over. It is definitely my favourite Rayman game, and it is great for playing with friends. The graphics are very ‘cartoony’, but they suit the game, the characters and its music so perfectly!

I give this game a 9/10, and I highly recommend anyone, of any age would love this game. It is also great value for money.

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