Move over Mario - the Vita has one of the best platform games we've played in years
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The original Rayman was something of a sleeper hit on the original PlayStation – a strictly 2D affair that stood firm against the onslaught of three dimensional platform games. It wasn’t exactly cutting edge, but the sublime gameplay and colourful characters made it a hit. Dalliances into the third dimension didn’t have quite the same impact, but thankfully developer Ubisoft has returned to its roots for Rayman’s first Vita outing.
The title is a little deceptive – instead of a prequel, Origins is a celebration of everything that made the first game so much fun. It has a brand new story, with Rayman and friends tasked with forcing back the legions of Darktoons out of the Glade of Dreams. Each level is filled with Lums, little yellow orbs that can be collected for an end-of-level bonus, and Electoons that must be freed from their cages. This all sounds deceptively simple and child-friendly, but if you think it will be a walk in the park you’ll be in for a surprise.
Unless you find a heart container quickly, a single hit from an enemy, mistimed jump or collision with an obstacle means being sent back to the last checkpoint. This can get devilishly frustrating at times, when the next level feels just out of reach, but it’s one that’s easily eclipsed by the feeling of accomplishment when you finally get past the part that was giving you trouble.
The return to two dimensions makes perfect sense once you start playing, as gameplay is simply sublime. Excluding the adventures of a certain Italian plumber, we can’t think of a better platform game we’ve played in the last few years. Each series of levels is based on a theme, from murky forests to musical instruments, so there’s plenty of variety, with increasingly difficult enemies and obstacles standing in the way of your progress.