Rayman Origins Review


It’s time to look at one of the recent Rayman games. You could make a strong case that this is the one which finally put Rayman back on the map. His games had ceased for quite a bit, but this one made him mainstream again. Although, since the character has vanished once more we will need more games like this one. It’s a fun enough title. While lacking some of the charm of other side scrollers it is nonetheless a solid title for all fans of the genre.

The game starts off with Rayman and his friends lounging around on someone’s tree. The poor old lady can’t even think straight with how much noise they are making so she grabs her buddies and goes to confront Rayman. Rayman quickly turns this into a battle, but the senior citizens defeat him and his friends. Rayman must now save his friends and stop whatever heroic/evil plan the old lady has in store. The question you must ask yourself is if you should root for Rayman…or the old lady?

Naturally the gameplay is pretty fun. It’s your classic 2D platformer with a few unique items thrown in to match Rayman’s style. You can throw punches as well as hold for a charged hit. You can glide with your head that functions as a helicopter and in general have a lot of good movement options. You must get to the end of the level and free whatever fairies are trapped. However, just beating the levels will not be enough as you’ll quickly figure out.

There are a lot of roadblocks in the story that serve as a way to artificially extend the game. You need to collect a great number of spirit orbs in order to beat the game. This means that you must either replay most levels at least once or grab a bunch of them during the level. The latter is easier, however you may enjoy each level a little less with how much longer it takes to complete them. I never like when a game forces you to explore like this. You’re effectively penalized for being too good at clearing the levels. I will say that this does enact a heavy toll on the game and is one of the reasons why it falls short of the other platformers.

The other reason is that the story is just pretty bad. I’m talking Crash levels of bad. Rayman is actually not as likable as Crash which I’m shocked about. He’s quick to violence and the guy doesn’t seem to care about anyone other than himself. It really doesn’t help you think that he is even remotely heroic. I have my doubts after this game. You never get invested into the plot because it is virtually nonexistent and Rayman is too annoying to root for. The game also gets a little iffy with the character designs, adding some fanservice to the fairies that Rayman is saving. I can certainly say that this was not quite how I pictured Rayman to play out.

Still, as I mentioned the core gameplay is fun which is good. The levels are actually pretty solid. If you don’t care about reaching the ending and just play each level straight through you’ll enjoy them a lot more. They only drag on when you have to explore them. As a result, you’ll really look forward to the boss fights which show up during the final levels and the aerial stages. Those are always very short and are fun to get through. It’s the optimal experience if you ask me. Adding in a secondary gameplay style almost always works out for the best so Rayman did a good job there.

Another good thing Rayman did was add the unlimited lives feature. I feel as though this is immensely helpful for the levels given how long they are. You’ll probably die quite a few times so you’ll be glad that you don’t have to backtrack too far. That would get very old very quickly.

I thought the graphics were pretty good. The character designs are on point and the levels are good looking. It’s not as colorful as other games, but that’s likely intentional to get that slightly grittier. I gotta give the soundtrack a thumbs down though. I’m not sure what the game was going for with the various lyrical themes that showed up but they really didn’t mesh well with the game. It got worse whenever you would die since you’d have to hear the theme yet again.

As far as replay value goes, Rayman has quite a bit at its disposal. As you collect orbs new levels open up and you get more unlockables. You get new costumes, characters, etc. Naturally you can also go after all of the PS3 trophies to really try and put yourself at the top. As the story itself is already longer than many platformers this makes for a game with a great amount of content that will last for quite a while.

Overall, Rayman Origins is a mixed bag. As a game it fulfills it’s job of having quality gameplay but aside from that it ends up faltering in the home stretch. It’s not the most complete game so you just have to decide why you are playing it. If you are here for the gameplay then you are all set. If it’s for the overall experience then you may want to look elsewhere. Either way I’ll look forward to the next Rayman title as I feel like it should improve upon the flaws of this one.

Overall 6/10

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Rayman 10th Anniversary Review


It’s time to take a quick look at the Rayman collection I recently beat for the GBA. This one made the interesting decision of merging the first and third games in the series. I don’t really understand why they would skip the 2nd game. Maybe it just wasn’t formatted in a way that would be easy to port to the GBA the way that the others were. Either way, it’s no big loss since I’m guessing it should be rather similar to the others. This is my first real venture into the Rayman series so that was neat. I’d say that it holds up pretty well though the third game definitely more so than the first. If you are a sidescroller fan then you need to check Rayman out.

The first game is pretty intense with how difficult it is. You get 10 continues and you have to be sure to not lse a life too easily. If you died too much on a level consider restarting your system right away so you can win without that hapening. I just barely made it as I finished the game with no continues left. Of course, if I was going for the secret ending by finding all cages then that would have been another matter entirely. The controls are good, but I can’t say as much for the level designs. There are a lot of blind jumps and cheesy sections where the game just stacks the deck against you. That’s fine, but then we should get unlimited continues like in most games. I never like when the game has a limit and then you just have to start over. That doesn’t seem very fair and will just become tedious after a while.

The plot of the game is a little weak though and that’s one thing that seems true for both titles so far. It’s just that Rayman himself isn’t nearly as interesting as most of the other colorful protagonists in these kind of games. I’m assuming he will get more personality soon but right now the cast doesn’t really jump off the page so to speak. They’re all just going through the motions so to speak. Since you don’t even get to see the ending without getting the 100+ cages then it’s not even much of a satisfying end. This game is fortunately supported by the next one.

Rayman 3 is a noticeable improvement in just about every way. For starters the gameplay is a lot faster and smoother. You really feel like you are in control this time around. None of the enemies scare you and if they ever start to get a little rowdy you can quickly take them out. Your lives are quite abundant and there is no limit on retries so no worries there. There is also more of an actual story this time as we get text boxes and the villains have more of a goal. The story still isn’t at the point where it could actually be considered as a selling point, but it’s getting closer which is the important thing. Just a few more steps and it will be ready for the big leagues. Regardless, this is a title that I could recommend a lot sooner than the other one. It’s just a solid side scroller and one that holds up well as it isn’t clunky.

The graphics for both games look pretty good. Naturally the 3rd game is a little brighter and more detailed, but it’s not a huge difference. Both games are quite clear and you can tell that effort was put behind them. Likewise the soundtracks for both games are pretty similar. There are some memorable tunes in there, but nothing super intense. Either way you’ll probably be too absorbed into the levels to notice much. The levels require a lot of concentration or you will be doomed to lose quite a lot.

As far as replay value goes I’d say there is quite a bit here. In the third game I was able to get most of the collectibles naturally so the bulk of your play time will be in the first game. The third one is also shorter in general, but every bit helps. It should last you a few hours. Then the first game will definitely last a few hours and obtaining everything will extend the time even more. Just keep a look out for those lives and continues since they are very previous. Once lost they will not be returned. That’s why the stakes are so high in the first Rayman.

Overall, The Rayman 10th Anniversary game is pretty solid. Since it brings 2 games for the price of one it is already a pretty good bargain. If you haven’t played the series before then it’s the perfect way to start I’d say. It may be tough goings for a little while but you’ll certainly get a lot of experience in how to handle a platformer by the end of this. It’s why I would be a little hesitant to recommend this to a kid but given enough time I’m sure anyone would be able to clear these levels. It’s just all about repetition and trying to learn some strategies. Now I can finally go and play some of the newer Rayman games. I’ll definitely snag them at some point and we’ll see if they can possibly match these two or if they are doomed from the start. No guarantees on just how soon “at some point” means though.

Overall 7/10

Rabbids Go Home Review


It’s time to delve back into the world of Rayman. The first game for the GBA didn’t work out so well but I’m still trying to fix it. In the meantime, this spinoff seems like it will do just fine as a little filler. It actually has some pretty tight gameplay but it is limited by the rather lackluster story and certain elements of the game that just weren’t really thought out. Ironically enough, the bad/cartoony graphics actually help the game from sinking any lower. Sword Art Online level graphics for this game would have made it quite disastrous indeed. As it is, the game actively mocks you throughout.

The general plot is that the Rabbids want to get to the Moon. Apparently that may even be their home. They hope to collect enough trash to let them reach it. By their estimation, you’ll need 23000 feet of trash to get that high. This means they’ll have to do things like say “Nothing personal kid” and teleport behind the person to steal their stuff if necessary. More likely, they’ll end up mugging the person. The Rabbids have no inclination to work with local authorities and have decides that they’ll take down anyone who gets in their way. So begins the mission.

Each level is about grabbing a lot of junk and snatching a big object by the end. You may steal a plane, a dying person, a wheel, a boat, etc. It all becomes trash once the Rabbids grab it. You then make it to a dirty toilet and flush your way back to base. The game spares no expense with the crude humor as the toilet is quite dirty each time you use it. Their base is under the toilet which isn’t very sanitary and then you go back to the hub world (It’s like New York City) and find another one to use. It’s pretty formulaic with most of the levels being pretty similar.

The gameplay is like Super Mario Galaxy meets Mario Kart. It’d a 3D adventure and you control a Rabbid who is pulling a Shopping Cart. You put all of the junk in it by making contact with objects. You can swing your Wii remote to attack and you can also use the boost to get through larger jumps. Enemies will attack you so shake the Wii Remote to take them down. The actual gameplay is incredibly simple so you’ll know what to do almost immediately. From there, it’s just a matter of getting through the levels.

Each level has 1000 pieces of junk in it and on average you can expect to get somewhere in the 800s. Do your best to get a lot since you can theoretically hit the 23K mark a lot sooner than way. I got to skip quite a few levels myself using this method. There is some replay value as you can naturally keep collecting junk until you reach the secret ending, but lets be honest…who wants to do that. Since the story is one of the weak parts of the game, that’s the last thing I’d be tempted to do. This is a game where you turn it off as soon as it is completed. The main campaign is reasonably long and should last you a few hours regardless. It’s a pretty easy game and you’ll likely only lose a small handful of lives. By and large there isn’t much of a challenge.

All right, here’s where the game gets iffy. The Rabbids strip anyone who is in their way. You literally snatch their clothes off and leave them in underwater. You do this to absolutely everyone that you pass and it gets pretty tricky. Everyone panics and gets cold after doing this, but the Rabbids don’t seem to care. When you hit an animal, the same thing happens only you take the animal and 2 pieces of meat. It’s rather disturbing. The whole game is pretty disturbing at times if you really think about it. These guys are not heroes either as you see them defying authority and picking fights for no reason at times.

As I mentioned earlier, the game also mocks you with its cutscenes. You get the same recycled animations quite a few times after they initially debut. I suppose the developers couldn’t be bothered to come up with 31 different animations. Several of the levels start to get copied off of each other as well. Maybe the budget was just a little more limited than I thought. There certainly wasn’t much of a soundtrack as the themes started to repeat as well. I will give it some props for actually having lyrical songs though. That was unexpected even if I can’t really remember much about them even though I just beat the game. It’s not a very memorable array of songs.

As I also mentioned, the graphics aren’t good and that’s a good thing. You can probably guess now why having good graphics would have been a problem. The game tries to make everything seem as ugly as possible. While that’s a pretty sad goal, the game is good at achieving it so I suppose I have to give them that much credit. Then the Rabbids start laughing and yelling at you again and you wonder what the game was thinking. You can’t even skip most of the cutscenes so get ready to see them quite a few times.

It’s really a shame since the gameplay actually isn’t that bad. Finally, a 3D Wii game where the controls were actually tested quite a bit. I’m not saying that it’s a AAA game, but the gameplay never glitches or anything. It feels fair throughout and you can turn on a dime. The controls are the highlight of the game and as I always say, the gameplay is the most important facet of the game. The levels went by pretty fast because the gameplay was pretty solid. Even the Hub World is pretty well thought out. The place is laid out pretty well so you can get anywhere with ease. It’s simple, but effective.

Overall, Rabbids Go Home had potential but it’s not like I ever had high expectations for a Rabbids game. They are some of the worst main characters in all of video games. At 2 bucks the game was too cheap to pass up, but it showed its true colors right away. The gameplay could have given this game a 7, but I have to deduct 2 points for the really terrible story. The crude humor and stripping mechanic were both just pretty bad ideas. This is one of those games that would have been better without having any cutscenes or a plot. The game also comes across as a rather mean spirited title at times. The Rabbids end up kidnapping people who are seriously injured after all and hijacking a plane which led dozens to perish. The body count in this game is rather high and while it is cartoony so the game certainly isn’t violent or dark, it just doesn’t work well. There’s nothing likable about the Rabbids and you just end up rooting for the humans even if you know that they are doomed.

Overall 5/10

Rayman Arena Review


It’s finally happened. I’ve finally gotten around to playing one of the Rayman games! Honestly speaking, I can’t say that he’s probably going to become one of the more likable main characters. I just can’t get behind this guy in the same way as the hardcore platformer leads like Sonic, Pac-Man, Mega Man, Mario, and Roy(?). That being said, I do like fighting games and I really like 4 player ones. That was a huge advantage that the Gamecube always had over the other consoles. It’s the one thing that the Playstation consoles have lacked. If they ever got this feature for most of their games, it would be Game Over for the competition. This game is great when playing with friends and just good if you’re by yourself. You need to have others around to make the most of this adventure.

There are two main forms of gameplay here, Racing and Fighting. Each of these two options have two more options so lets get right to it. The normal way of fighting is a time limit is set to around 2 minutes and you have to blast each other. The player who scores the most points takes the win. You can use your normal blaster to take away life points from the other player or you can use the power ups which are scattered across the stage. I highly recommend going for these super weapons since they are incredibly overpowered. Grabbing the Green Multi Rifle basically guarantees a full 5 life wipeout for the opponent. There is no way to escape once you have been hit which is why the next 4 shots are confirmed. You can also grab bombs, (Which are terrible) self guided missiles, (Also terrible. They should have grabbed a page from Star Fox Assault’s playbook) and Barriers. (Which are awesome) There are a few more weapons, but those are the main ones. A nice defensive option is a magnet, which lets you steal the opponent’s weapon. Use these tactics to win the fight! You can jump and hide to cheese out the opponent if necessary. It may not always feel fun, but if it works then it’s time to use it.

The other form of combat has both opponents try to grab as many objects as possible. Both players get a freeze gun to start the match and shiny objects are placed around the field. They switch positions each time someone grabs one. The matches are all right I suppose, but these are definitely very luck based and once you have a large lead, you can just stand in place and wait out the clock. I definitely prefer the standard combat. The main racing game has you try to dash to the goal. There are many obstacles around the stages and you have a purple energy blast which you can use to activate traps and grab aerial rings to give yourself a boost. Activating traps may not sound like it’s in your best interests, but you can really trip up an opponent that way. This was definitely the toughest mode as the A.I. is quite good. Just remember to pace yourself and look for the shortcuts. They will certainly come in handy.

The alternate racing style is a one on one fight. You have to get ahead of your opponent by 6 seconds in order to win. This results in a lot of incredibly short 1 lap fights in one player mode, but I don’t see how it’ll work in multiplayer mode when you’re facing someone of similar skill. Maybe you just lose if you’re behind when a certain amount of laps end or something like that. Both players get freeze guns once again so you can try to freeze your opponent at a tricky spot so they lose a lot of time I suppose.

Graphically, the game holds up pretty well. The character designs have that solid Gamecube feel about them. They have depth and everything looks pretty sharp. The color scheme is a bit dark if you ask me, but it’s solid otherwise. The soundtrack is very forgettable though and it doesn’t help that the game doesn’t really have any cutscenes. World of Final Fantasy puts this game to shame in that aspect among others. It doesn’t hold the game back, but having some more up beat tunes would certainly make the game a lot more fun.

There isn’t a whole lot of replay value to be found here. There are 4 tournaments for each event and you can play each event in two difficulties. That makes 32 tournaments or 96 actual matches since each tournament has 3 rounds. You can beat each tournament in around 10 minutes and possible less depending on the event. It’s not a terribly long game, but there’s not much point to beating the hard mode versions aside from a few extra shirts for the characters. It wasn’t enough of an incentive for me honestly and that’s the only post game content available.

Of course, there is one form of replay value that does save the game. I’m talking about multiplayer mode of course. The fact that it is compatible with 4 players opens up a lot of doors that had been slammed. The game would still get a solid 7 if it was just single player, but it would be lacking quite a bit in content. Fighting games get around this through the multiplayer and that’s exactly what Rayman does. This kind of gameplay would work really well with 4 players. It has less depth than others, but the core gameplay is solid. The racing works really well and I can only imagine how chaotic it gets with 4 people around. Likewise for the shooting events. That ultimately helps bump it up an extra star as it’s a game I can definitely see myself picking around Christmas time for everyone to have fun with.

Overall, Rayman Arena is definitely a solid game. Adding in both racing and fighting was definitely a good idea as it adds some variety and also adds more content to the title. A little more of a story would have been appreciated though. It would possibly help me like Rayman more as a character and it would make Story Mode more interesting. Just look at Pokken, they were able to squeeze in a nice story during the normal campaign. Trust me when I say that it makes quite the difference. Of course, Pokken was just a complete masterpiece in every sense of the word so that’s another story. Rayman’s great, but Pokken is amazing. It’s scary how large the jumps are between scores. Look at Super Smash Bros, Pokken isn’t even in the same league because Smash is the ultimate game. It’s like the saying goes, there’s always something better. I digress. I definitely recommend picking Rayman Arena up if you want a new fighting game to play or just something fun and chaotic for a session with friends and family. This game won’t let you down and it’s very easy to simply plug and play. The controls are intuitive.

Overall 8/10

Rayman vs Sonic


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Rayman is a pretty skilled warrior, but he won’t be a match for Sonic the Hedgehog! Sonic has super speed and one good punch would be enough to knock just about anyone through a building. Rayman just doesn’t have the speed to dodge such an attack and he definitely does not have enough defense to endure many shots like that. This is one round that Sonic definitely wins! Sonic wins.