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Rayman: Origins Review

Rayman: Origins Review

It must be brutally hard to make a successful platform game in today's gaming age. Much like how every other first-person shooter title gets compared to Modern Warfare, what sidescrolling game that features jumping, puzzle solving and power-ups isn't compared to Mario? Thankfully developers have been up to the challenge, and Rayman: Origins may just represent some of the best that third party publishing has to offer. And that's not just because Rayman successfully manages to emulate all of the best aspects that platforming has to offer, but rather manages to create a unique experience in a genre largely based around jumping and stepping on things.

Rayman: Origins introduces players to a fairly similar layout that most other platforming games adhere to before the action even starts. Stages are broken down into individual levels, with each level having an overall theme guided by the very loosely related plot. As Rayman travels from zone to zone, you will be treated to a fairly wide variety of locations, each one just as exotic and strange at the last. And they're filled with some creative and interactive level design.

Platforming is all about the fine details and its in those details that Ubisoft has made this game really shine. The first thing that you will notice is how well paced all of the levels are, and how much freedom you have in exploring. Though each stage is fairly linear there are plenty of secrets about that require a bit of extra thinking in order to reach. Hidden walls, lowered platforms, and the usual pits that aren't quite bottomless are all featured, and each hidden room holds a short puzzle that unlocks bonuses for the level. The more hidden areas players find, and the faster a level is completed, the higher a score they'll get, which grants access to new costumes and character skins. It's a straightforward setup that's easy enough to explain, but doesn't really become impressive until you've played the title yourself.

From an adult perspective just about every level is easy enough, but Rayman: Origins is clearly a title meant for kids first and foremost.
There can only be so much puzzle solving before anyone gets tired and looks forward to action, and likewise too much action means it may be underperforming as a genre. The balance between both styles of gameplay are handled beautifully. Players will find themselves smashing enemies, jumping from gap to gap and swinging off vines to avoid baddies while at the same time keeping an eye out for anything unusual.

Enemies in the game are a general weak point, as most can be dispatched with a quick punch or a well timed stomp, which is good because attacks in-game are fairly limited. Punches can be charged up to deal quite a bit more knockback with more range, and what's essentially a ground pound gives players a bit to think about when they cross over visibly rickety bridges or weak looking bricks. It's standard fare for most platform games but these are the obvious things that so many gamers take for granted. Coupled with these usual tools players learn how to glide, shrink themselves, and run up walls amongst other tricks.

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