While our review for Ubisoft’s upcoming adventure-platformer Rayman Origins won’t be up until next week, we wanted to give you a little preemptive taste of why we’re excited about, what we’ve played through so far and why you should be excited about the latest and wackiest effort from Rayman creator Michel Ancel and the team at Ubisoft Montpellier.
1. The Art Style: Seriously, the screenshots don’t do this game justice (and that’s saying something because even in stills it’s immensely pleasing on the eyes). In action, the hand-drawn animation are simply glorious and make everything, from the characters to the environments, feel alive.
2. The Challenge: Don’t let the colorful, quirky presentation fool you. This game will kick your ass if you’re not careful, especially if you’re a completionist. We’ve only played through the first few levels and have already almost broken a few controllers along the way. Thankfully, playing with at least one other player alleviates some of the frustration since they can revive you when you die, but even then you’ll have to be on your platforming toes if you want to succeed.
3. The Characters: The appendageless wonder Rayman is obviously one of the most iconic characters in gaming, so seeing him back in action is a treat. This time around, he’s joined by a fantastic cadre of quirky companions, each with their own style and brilliant sets of animations. And seeing them all jumping around being ridiculous in one stunning setting after another could not be more delightful.
4. The Settings: Each new island adheres to a unique theme, and each one is packed to the brim with so many details, you’ll want to replay levels just to take in the spectacular artistry on display. From the instrument sounds that play as you traverse a musical instrument laden level to the chili pepper spewing fire as he sleeps in a boiling pot of soup, you’ll spot something new with each subsequent playthrough (and smile at every one). You'll also be jumping between traditional platforming levels, underwater levels, levels where ride a bullet-spitting mosquito, and more. In other words: variety lovers, rejoice.
5. The Michel Ancel Support Factor: I know, I know. We are all upset that Beyond Good & Evil 2 has remained in development limbo (and worse) for far too long, and it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing it in any kind of final form for a while. However, if you want to give BGE2 the best chance possible of making its way to your console of choice in near future, then supporting Michel Ancel and his madly talented team’s non-BGE efforts is your best bet. Plus, from what we’ve played so far, it will be far from a begrudging handout on your part.
So there you have it. Just some food for thought as we get closer to the release of Rayman Origins (November 15). And be sure to check back next week for our full review.