Wii

North America

Rayman Origins

by Andrew Brown - December 8, 2011, 7:53 pm PST
Total comments: 21

9

Slapping people has never been funnier.

The Wii has had some incredible drawing-style 2D platformers in the past, including Wario Land: The Shake Dimension, Muramasa: The Demon Blade, and A Boy and his Blob, to name a few. Rayman Origins, the latest in this line, is no exception.

Origins was first intended as a prequel to the entire franchise, which would explain the beginnings of the story and the birth of Rayman himself. This idea was scrapped in development, though, and the game became a sequel to Rayman 3. The Origins title likely remains intact due to the series’ proper return to form—another side-scrolling platformer game, without any of those obnoxious Rabbids that were starting to outstay their welcome.

The story takes place after Rayman 3, and reintroduces many of the characters from the series thus far. As Rayman, Globox and friends relax in the branches of the Snoring Tree, their surprisingly loud slumber is heard all the way down in the Land of the Livid Dead, where the underworld citizens are enraged and launch a large-scale attack on the world above. Rayman must seek out and free the captured Electoons so they can help him repair broken paths in each world, allowing access to the next. Along the way, he can collect the countless Lums that appear, which in turn reward him with more Electoons.

As with older games in the series, you run and jump across the lands, with various new abilities gradually added to your control, such as the ability to use Rayman's hair like helicopter blades to float and scurrying up curved walls. There are three control options to choose from—the Wii Remote on its own, the Wii Remote and Nunchuck combo, or the Classic controller, which generally fits the style of the game best.

You'll find the standard fare of platforming traditions throughout the game—forests with vines to swing on and lush greenery, cliffs that crumble and collapse as you traverse over them, underwater caverns teeming with aquatic enemies, and even auto-scrolling flying levels featuring Rayman's old buddy Bzzit the mosquito. It's the layout and design of the levels though that makes them unique, with plenty of bizarre quirks and situations to keep things difficult and fresh.

At any point throughout the game, a second, third or fourth player can jump into the action, and this is where things really start to get crazy. When multiplayer kicks in, you can work together with your friends to explore and find hidden areas, collect more Lums through your combined efforts, and help each other out—or simply slap the snot out of each other in a comical free-for-all. It's hilarious and insane and counter-productive, but it's FUN.

Like in New Super Mario Bros., additional players who die will become bubbles that can then float around through obstacles. Players can revive their fallen friends with a quick slap. This often makes a large difference between life and death during difficult situations, though if all players are turned into bubbles simultaneously it's an instant loss. Fortunately, regardless of how many players there are, there are no lives and no punishments for getting killed—you simply restart at the beginning of the last room you entered and can try over and over until you get it right.

There is quite a lot to accomplish in the game as well. Without giving away too many spoilers, after the first five worlds are completed, an additional four worlds are unlocked, with a boss to defeat at the end of each, which in turn unlocks the final areas of the game. There is also an optional final boss that can only be faced after collecting ten ruby skull teeth from a challenging chase level in each world.

You can choose to play as any of four different characters, each with their own eccentric animation style, though they all control identically and have the exact same move set. There's also a large collection of costumes for each character that unlocks as you play.

The artwork is gorgeous, with gigantic sprawling worlds presented in a glorious, colorful painting style. The characters and enemies are drawn with a crayon-like outline, and have been redesigned from previous games in the series while still retaining their familiarity. The animation is quirky and fast-paced, looking a little like a flash cartoon—it has a feel very reminiscent of World of Goo, yet more on the hyperactive side.

The game can be nightmarishly difficult and some of the later levels can become very frustrating very quickly, with diabolical enemy placement or unforgiving bottlenecked structures that must be navigated with surgical precision. The abundance of checkpoints does help, but replaying the same room over and over because of one cheap segment can take its toll.

The style may also be adorable to some and annoying to others, as there's no shortage of singing chipmunk voices or distracting Pig Latin narration to accompany text boxes.

Still, this is a solid title that must be experienced. If you don't mind a few disembodied handfuls of rage-inducing difficulty or the constant, sanity-warping slapstick, you'll have a blast, especially if you invite some friends to slap around.

Summary

Pros
  • A cast of crazies, as hilarious as they are random
  • A long, challenging experience with much to do
  • Beautiful art style, looks stunning with a component cable
  • Multiplayer is incredibly fun
  • The Rabbids are finally gone
Cons
  • Can be relentless and cheap
  • Hyperactivity gets grating sometimes, Pig Latin is always annoying
  • Some extreme difficulty towards the end

Talkback

readyletsgoDecember 09, 2011

Will there be a 3DS version released?

Killer_Man_JaroTom Malina, Associate Editor (Europe)December 09, 2011

Listen to this man. Rayman Origins is easily the biggest surprise of the year for me.

Rayman Origins follows up the Ubisoft tradition of getting my super hyped for a game* (Red Steel, Academy of Champions, Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars etc.) and then having it disappoint me.

The game is gorgeous, and I love me some platformers, but the levels are very long and the charm wears off. It's not a bad game at all, it's just got more whimsy than substance in my eyes.

* - Oddly enough, I think Red Steel 2 is one of the only games that bucked that trend.

TJ SpykeDecember 09, 2011

Quote from: readyletsgo

Will there be a 3DS version released?

Yes, though Ubisoft has not bee any more specific than "2012".

NinSageDecember 09, 2011

Sorry, I am headed out the door (to catch a movie) so I don't have time to read the article but can anyone summarize the differences between the Wii version and the PS3/60 versions?

Quote from: NinSage

Sorry, I am headed out the door (to catch a movie) so I don't have time to read the article but can anyone summarize the differences between the Wii version and the PS3/60 versions?

As far as I know, HD graphics, which, in direct comparison, blow the pants off the Wii version (though the Wii version doesn't look bad at all, the HD-ness just makes it better).

NinSageDecember 10, 2011

@Neal

Thanks.  Yea, I imagine that in a game so focused on its visuals HD would really be nice.  But then again, if it's at least as good as Warioland Shake It then it's already flappin' awesome.

Thanks again.

To be honest I started to feel that way in the early stages of the game - after the first world things started to wear thin, but then the unlocked extra worlds have some unique challenges and the boss battles, while often infuriating, were very creative and felt rewarding to complete.

Compared to the first Rayman that I played way back on PC, which I detested, this is like a whole new series.

NinSageDecember 10, 2011

Read the review.... yea, I think I'm definitely gonna have to get this sooner or later.

One question for the room... why would they copy the only two notable mistakes of NSMBW? That being, clones for characters 3 and 4 and no online co-op.  Seems like a missed opportunity.  And yes, I'll feel the same way if NSMBMii doesn't offer online co-op.

Online co-op would be really tricky to pull off in a platformer, especially one like NSMBWii where characters can interact with each other. They require too much precision; any lag whatsoever would completely break the game.

pololmejorDecember 10, 2011

I don't really think the difficulty is something bad...

SilverQuilavaDecember 10, 2011

I hope to get the ps3 version of this. I hope this really is worthy of the good rayman games of the past.

SilverQuilavaDecember 10, 2011

And thank god the rabbids were exterminated. They were like giant zits on the face of Rayman games. ..Even though I did get a laugh or two from the live action cutscenes X)..

NinSageDecember 11, 2011

I really think the Rabbids were done-in just like the music genre.  They just started with annual or near-annual releases and ran it in to the ground.  They were still good ideas and clever in reasonable doses but they just made it too much.

Really, even releasing some "traditional" Rayman games in between might have been enough to cleanse the pallet.  But no, they just forgot about Rayman for so long.

Hopefully Origins will kick start a new era of peaceful coexistence between the pillars of the franchise =)

SilverQuilavaDecember 12, 2011

Quote from: NinSage

I really think the Rabbids were done-in just like the music genre.  They just started with annual or near-annual releases and ran it in to the ground.  They were still good ideas and clever in reasonable doses but they just made it too much.

Really, even releasing some "traditional" Rayman games in between might have been enough to cleanse the pallet.  But no, they just forgot about Rayman for so long.

Hopefully Origins will kick start a new era of peaceful coexistence between the pillars of the franchise =)

Hell yeah to that man! =D

Mop it upDecember 13, 2011

Quote from: NinSage

I really think the Rabbids were done-in just like the music genre.  They just started with annual or near-annual releases and ran it in to the ground.  They were still good ideas and clever in reasonable doses but they just made it too much.

Really, even releasing some "traditional" Rayman games in between might have been enough to cleanse the pallet.  But no, they just forgot about Rayman for so long.

This is likely the issue right here. The Rayman brand has been soured not just by the Rabbids, but also by Ubisoft as a whole. And I'm not saying the Rabbids games are bad, but there were way too many of them. I played the first one and I liked it, but I have no real desire to play the other three they released. Then they made a platformer involving the Rabbids, which was actually pretty good, but I'm sure that it was passed off as yet another party game and nobody bought it.

At this point in time, they're pretty well known for releasing lots of shovelware and licenced games, so I can't blame people for not taking a chance on Rayman Origins. Really, if this game sells poorly, Ubisoft are responsible for ruining their own brand and image.

NinSageDecember 13, 2011

Quote from: Mop

At this point in time, they're pretty well known for releasing lots of shovelware and licenced games, so I can't blame people for not taking a chance on Rayman Origins. Really, if this game sells poorly, Ubisoft are responsible for ruining their own brand and image.

preeeecisely!

broodwarsDecember 13, 2011

Quote from: Mop

At this point in time, they're pretty well known for releasing lots of shovelware and licenced games, so I can't blame people for not taking a chance on Rayman Origins. Really, if this game sells poorly, Ubisoft are responsible for ruining their own brand and image.

That might explain why it has bombed on Wii, but that doesn't explain how poorly the game has sold on the HD consoles, where Ubisoft's name is in much higher regard with franchises like Splinter Cell and Assassin's Creed.  I do think Ubisoft is responsible for this game selling poorly, but for a different reason: they took what was originally going to be a nice $15 download title, and they threw it out to die at full-priced retail in the midst of much better-known and better-selling games this Fall.  Had they kept it as a download-only title at $15 or delayed the retail version until January or February, it probably would have sold much better.

ejamerDecember 13, 2011

Kind of a shame that Ubisoft has such a bad reputation on Wii. While I understand how it happened, I don't think it's entirely deserved - they were responsible for publishing some fine games, after all.


Shaun White Snowboarding World Tour, No More Heroes 1&2, Dawn of Discovery, Broken Sword, Rabbids Go Home, Rayman Origins, Prince of Persia and Red Steel 2 were all worth playing. Other games like Tenchu and TMNT Smash-Up were good diversions, despite being more "miss" than "hit" for some gamers. Add in the Rabbids party series, Just Dance, and some good efforts in the fitness genre and I think that Wii would've been significantly worse off without their support.


Does that make up for the crap? Or the fact that some games with real potential weren't as great as they should've been? No... but gamers who blindly write off the company are missing out on good games.  It's not hard to think of other publishers *cough*ACTIVISION*cough* that didn't offer nearly as many good Wii games over the life of the console.

IGamesDecember 25, 2011

Wow, this was a really good game for sure. When I first played this with my cousin last weekend, we couldn't put the controllers down for at least a couple of hours. I'm glad I got the ps3 version of this, feels like it would be a little harder on the Wii. Good soundtrack too! :D

SPP25May 07, 2012

I love Retro games!!! Also Ubisoft makes many great games for the wii.  Just Dance 2 and 3 rock!

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Rayman Origins Box Art

Genre Adventure
Developer Ubisoft
Players1 - 4

Worldwide Releases

na: Rayman Origins
Release Nov 15, 2011
PublisherUbisoft
RatingEveryone
eu: Rayman Origins
Release Nov 24, 2011
PublisherUbisoft
Rating3+

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