Rayman Origins Review
Posted by James Newton
Limbless, but not limp
Rayman Origins has had a long trip to reach 3DS; it was supposed to be released in March, and while it's out now in Europe it won't make it to North America until November. Europeans can enjoy it in 3D for the first time, but if you've already played it on one of the myriad other platforms you might want to think twice before double-dipping.
Let's start with the good. In handheld form, Rayman Origins is still a beautifully rhythmic platformer that oozes grace; skipping around stages that vary from jungles to kitchens, controlling Rayman is fluid and instinctive, and as his move set grows the controls remain comfortable and responsive. Level design also remains wholly intact from other versions, and is uniformly excellent.
Although it lacks the multiplayer mode that made the home console version such a riot, a portable Origins is arguably more suited to solo play anyway; its smaller screen and handheld nature make it a more personal affair. There's plenty to keep a solitary adventurer entertained too: each stage must be completed multiple times to unlock everything, with speed runs and collect-a-thons both required to reach the game's full conclusion. There're hours of gameplay in here for the committed player.
Like any version of the game, when Rayman Origins 3DS is good it really sings, with great design and a real sense of joy. However, it's not all sunny days and happy faces in Rayman land.
For one, the 3DS version has a pretty murky presentation that looks especially disappointing compared to the recently vibrant Rayman Origins on PS Vita. It all seems a bit washed out on the 3DS top screen, colours from both ends of the spectrum mushed towards the middle and robbing the game of some of its visual potency. Sprites lack clarity too, appearing muddy at times, and while it's not a game-breaker it does chip away at the game's charm. The whole visual presentation has a compressed look, as if looking through a filter like those polarised 3D glasses we all did away with when 3DS came out. The 3D effect comes into play occasionally, mostly when skipping from foreground to background or vice versa, but you're not missing much by playing it in 2D; that's how the game was created, after all.
Exclusive to 3DS is the ability to show off your in-game progress with another player via StreetPass. There are multiple achievements to unlock, and an overall progression marker shows how close you are to reaching 100%. Hardly groundbreaking stuff — early 3DS efforts from Ubisoft offered similar modes — but as it's StreetPass it's a take-it-or-leave-it kind of deal anyway.
How much you get out of Rayman Origins ultimately comes down to whether you've played it already. 3DS isn't exactly bursting with 2D platformers, so if you haven't sampled the magic of Rayman Origins on another platform this is well worth picking up. However, it doesn't compare favourably to the other versions and makes little use of 3DS's unique abilities. A good, solid 2D platformer, it'll still entertain and amuse in spite of its flaws.