Rayman Origins is easily one of the best, but most overlooked games of last year, despite its eye-catching good looks. But now, for the PlayStation Vita launch, Rayman Origins has yet another chance to shine – this time, on the Vita’s bold 5-inch OLED display.
Rayman Origins is, for the most part, the PS3 version ported over to the Vita. But unfortunately, the highly successful drop in multiplayer has been lost in translation (although, you still can use the other characters within the Snoring Tree). But, the Vita version attempts to make up for it with new Near and multi-touch functionality.
The multi-touch will go mostly unused, as it doesn’t add anything to the gameplay. Traditional button and D-pad or analog sticks serve better as a means to control the limb-less, platforming hero. Tapping on lums or enemies isn’t as satisfying as pulling off jumps, running full-speed through the stunning levels, or manually bashing baddies. Using the touch screen, you can also zoom-in, giving you an up-close view of Rayman’s gorgeous 2D visuals.
The Near functionality is an interesting addition – there are Relics to be discovered throughout your travels as Rayman, and you can send or receive these relics as gifts to friends you’ve met via Near. The point here is to work together to collect them all to form a puzzle at the Snoring Tree that unlocks details on The Glade of Dreams and Rayman’s backstory. Additionally, there’s a new Ghost mode that gives players the chance to share their best times with friends, providing a little competition.
As beautiful as Rayman Origins is on a massive HDTV, it looks even better better on the Vita’s vibrant OLED screen. It’s like the game was made originally with the Vita in mind, but because it wasn’t releasing in 2012, it went to consoles first. The bright colors are thoroughly expressed, and all animations are crisp. It at all looks so good, that you have to stop at times and zoom-in with the touch functionality just to take it in. The soundtrack is cheery, but that damn annoying song when you awaken the Lum King is still here. Luckily, the Vita’s volume controls are only a finger’s length away and I can turn it down after a few times of bearing through it.
Outside of the new PlayStation Vita-exclusive modes, it’s the same great 2D experience you get on consoles. The story doesn’t take itself seriously, and the nearly perfect platforming elements crank up the fun-factor full steam. The game is rather long, providing hours of racing through stages while collecting as many lums as possible, avoiding and smashing enemies, and discovering hidden areas. Some well-done changes of pace are here, too, in the form of towering boss battles, underwater areas, and some side-scrolling flight-shooting while aboard the back of a mosquito.
It’s that type of nonsensical fun throughout that makes Rayman Origins one hell of a good time. But it’s the visuals and crisp gameplay controls over Rayman’s platforming that make the game really stand out among other platformer titles. Rayman certainly gives Mario a run for his coins. All combined make Rayman Origins one of the best Vita launch titles. And despite the launch line-up being so jam-packed with goodness, Rayman Origins could finally get the appreciation it so deserves. The only problem is that if you’ve played it on consoles already, the new Vita features aren’t enough to warrant a repurchase.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
+ Platforming gameplay that can rival anything that Mario has put out recently.
– Vita-exclusive features don’t justify another purchase for those who own the console version.