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Blogging is HARD/ Rayman Origins

April 1, 2014

I haven’t posted on this site in almost two months. It’s very easy to get out of the habit of posting and it’s incredibly frustrating when you’ve had such a good run leading up to this break. This is something I do in my spare time as a way to relax, yet it’s not completely without ego. Of course I want people to enjoy what I write and love it even more when people get in contact with me about the game or topic in question. However given that I don’t have a huge audience it’s very easy for the negative or even silent voices and opinions drown out the positive. Once you allow the negative voices to take over, your passion for writing will drain away and your posts will dry up.
I’ve also chosen a difficult blogging style as conversational, thought pieces don’t always flow as easily as say, a news blog. Unless I have some strong feelings or I recently completed a game, I don’t have anything to write about.
This is me, forcing me to write about anything as a way back in. Thank you for sticking with me through the desert. Hopefully this isn’t a mirage. I think I might be dehydrated.
Rayman Origins was released on PS+ for the vita last March and it’s taken me until this month to actually come back to it and beat the game. Like my blog I started out playing this for hours on end. Marvelling at how much I was enjoying myself at this beautifully put together platformer before putting it down and having no idea why.
The vita has become my platform for platform games over the last year. The short levels and bright graphics are a perfect match for mobile gaming as are the controls forgiving enough for the occasionally fiddly Vita controls.

Quickly release her so she can put on a jacket.

Quickly release her so she can put on a jacket.

The plot, such as it is, gives you (Rayman and friends) the task of rescuing all of the Nymphs (Fairy women who give you powers), Electoons (Pink things which give you access to inaccessible parts of the map) and Lumines (Gold things that add up to Electoons if you collect enough.). These inhabitants have all been taken and need to be rescued to allow Rayman and friends to get back to stamp collecting or whatever they do with their time.
During the game you’ll unlock different characters although they appear to just be different skins for the original four. After flipping the characters around during the early part of the game I found there seemed to be no benefit to changing, so while it’s a nice addition I completely ignored this part as the colour of my character makes no difference to me. Hopefully I didn’t miss the “Awesome ability” skin which makes the later part of the game easier.
As you progress and rescue Nymphs you’re given new abilities like mêlée attacks, dive attacks, hover ummmmmm attacks and swimming. This gives the game some replayability as you won’t be able to reach certain parts of the earlier levels without the abilities that you gain later on.
The level design is excellent throughout. The art is beautiful and show off the Vita’s stunning screen. The animation is superb. Every part of the screen dances and the levels really sing when you find yourself in the zone. Collecting lumines in the correct order and hitting sections of the world as intended bring a new level of interactivity to the game.
I found the difficulty level to be just about perfect. Each power is eased in over a couple of levels before the real tests are handed out. Towards the end of the game you will face some incredibly hard levels. It’s not on Super Meat Boy levels but it will make you grip hold of your vita extra hard in order to stop yourself from spiking it into your wall. The chase sequences are my most loved/hated part of the game due to this difficulty spike. It really forces you to trust your abilities in order to keep up with your goal. No second guessing when it comes to your jumps or using the hover to save you. You will spend a lot of lives trying to catch that little chest but the sense of accomplishment is massive when you finally reach your goal.

The rare "good underwater" level

The rare “good underwater” level

While looking back on this game after completing it I couldn’t think of a reason to say anything negative about it yet I couldn’t build up loads of enthusiasm for it either. It is well designed, but not as well designed as Super meat Boy. It is charming but the world created doesn’t match Guacamelee in terms of character. This is probably the reason that I couldn’t be bothered to change the look of the character I was playing with. I’m a massive sucker for costume packs in games and have spent real money to make my digital avatars look “cooler”. Rayman is a great character but he doesn’t allow the player to imprint themselves onto him as well as others. Rayman does everything well and you should play it. Just don’t beat yourself up if you don’t feel the urge to complete it in one go cause it took me a year and two holidays to do the same.

Xbox, PSN and Twitter @Urbundave


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