In a month full of big game releases involving dragon-slaying and liberating war-torn countries, Rayman Origins provides a colorful break from the heavy, grim and/or epic adventures of saving the world and/or kingdom. But it might break your fingers a little bit.
Rayman Origins opens up with our hero, Rayman, taking an afternoon nap with his friends and making a pretty nifty hip-hop style musical number with their collective snoring. Unfortunately, their funky beats aren't appreciated by a rather crotchety-looking undead grandma living underground, who sends an army of not-so friendly looking creatures up to the Glade of Dreams to shut them up. Rayman learns the armies of "Darktoons" have swept through the land, imprisoning the ever-optimistic Electoons that inhabit the world and the scantily-clad magical Nymphs who created him. With evil and chaos and reigning in the Glade, Rayman and company venture out to put things back together.
One of the first things you'll notice about Rayman Origins is that, unlike its predecessors, the entire game is a 2D side-scrolling platformer rather than 3D, but it looks fantastic. The cartoon-style visuals in each level are incredibly detailed, and there's a wide variety of worlds to run and bound your way through. You'll be hopping around vine filled jungles, sliding through fruit-covered ice caverns, swimming through spiky underwater ruins and working through steampunk factories complete with robots and electrical wires. It was really enjoyable to play through each section and see what sort of weirdness Origins would throw at me next.
The goal of each level is to rescue a bunch of caged-up Electoons, which you'll need to unlock some of the extra character models and a few optional levels later on and of course move the plot forward. Along with our hero Rayman, you'll be able to select from other characters from the Rayman series such as his best friend Globox and the Teensies. Regardless of who you play the game as, you'll have tons of obstacles in your way, as Origins throws all sorts of craziness at you such as sentient, argumentative forks and fire-breathing jalapeno peppers. All it takes is one hit to kill your character, but thankfully there are plenty of checkpoints so even if you take die or fall off-screen, it's only a small setback. You'll also pick up a few useful abilities in each world when you rescue one of the captured Nymphs, such as the ability to run up walls or fly short distances.