At long last, Rayman Origins has made its way to the Nintendo 3DS. It took its sweet time getting here and there were moments along the way where we feared it may never actually happen. But, with cartridge firmly inserted in console, we can breathe easy knowing that one of 2011's best platformers - scratch that - best games has arrived in glorious 3D.
For those who missed its home console incarnation, a quick run down of the intricacies of Rayman Origins' narrative. Rayman and his best buddy Globox were having a snooze in the warm summer breeze by the Snoring Tree. (Okay, typical intro) Sadly, as that very tree's branches reached into the land of the dead, one geriatric resident of said land was offended by our heroes' strepitous slumber. (Erm, alright. Fair enough.) In a fit of rage, she unleashed a hideous horde of undead creatures upon the world. (Wait, what?) As a result, the Electoons and Nymphs are (Oh forget it...) The story is just nonsense, as you can plainly see. But that's just fine. Rayman Origins 3D is not about story, and that's just how I like my platformers. If you waste your time concerning yourself with the plot, you are entirely missing the point.
I can't seem to find screenshots for the 3DS version specifically as of yet, so for now I'm using ones from the Wii version.
Instead, what we have is a platformer that's silly, tricky, beautiful and looks like it was made with the Nintendo 3DS' incredible visuals very much in mind. This is not a watered down version of last year's criminally underselling Wii version. Rayman Origins 3D is a full-blooded version of the game, with all of the charm, fun and re-playability you would expect most certainly still in place. The most remarkable thing about the game is its perfect balance of difficulty and accessibility. It's tough, make no mistake, and will have even the most experienced gamers playing levels multiple times. At no point, however, do you feel like you're being cheated. The gorgeous visuals combined with the effortlessly likeable cast of critters will leave you happy to repeat levels as many times as it takes. And repeat them you shall! Even after blitzing your way through each level, don't be surprised if you find yourself returning to collect as many Lums as you can find.
What are Lums, you ask? Well, these oddly named critters are Rayman Origins 3D's answer to Mario's coins or Sonic's rings. The only difference is that these little yellow fellows are cuter, friendlier and will sing cheerily whenever you collect a King Lum. Doing so drops all other Lums into an ecstatic red state, which doubles their value. Scrambling to grab as many as you can before they revert to their original shade is gameplay at its most simple, yet is inexplicably thrilling. Lums can also be collected by offing enemies and roughing up various plant life, like a man. At the end of each level, your Lums are crammed into a giant test tube, which converts them into Electoons, of course. Collecting Electoons is your ultimate goal, as they are used to unlock new levels and playable characters. Each character has their own wonderfully personal animations that makes you wonder why Nintendo didn't go that extra length in their New Super Mario Bros series. It's worth giving each character a try to find the one that warms your soul.
As fun as it is playing as Rayman, Globox (the blue guy) is easily the most likeable character in this game.
You'll also need Electoons to unlock the Tricky Treasure rounds. These find you racing across the landscape, trying to keep up with a runaway treasure chest and act as an effective palette cleanser in the unlikely event that the platforming feels a little stale. Complete these and you'll receive a red tooth, which must be returned to its original owner, and endearingly timid grim-reaper sort of chap, who blocks the entrance to the Land of the Livid Dead. Return all of his gnashers and he'll let you pass, at which point you'll discover - much to your delight - that Rayman Origins 3D is far larger than you first thought.
The wonderfully tricky levels, beautiful art design and charming characters are accompanied by a musical score that is easily equal to every other element within the game. It is simply outstanding. The variety as you move through the game ensures it never becomes grating, and each piece perfectly captures and enhances the tone - be it whacky or more surreal - of its parent level.
The robot on rollerskates proved a trickier opponent than anticipated.
There are criticisms that could be dealt at the game - the touchscreen doesn't play much of a role and StreetPass is reduced to merely showing off your achievements - but this is just nitpicking. The other versions didn't have a touchscreen or StreetPass functionality, and few would call those games 'lacking'. It feels like Rayman Origins is coming home to the Nintendo 3DS, like this was format for which it was always intended. The console's 3D effects perfectly compliment Origins' graphics, with their defined foreground, mid-ground, and background layering designs, leaving the game looking like some kind of wonderfully psychedelic diorama. If you enjoyed the other versions, Rayman Origins 3D is seriously worth considering a repurchase. If you are yet to play this game on any other console or format, Rayman Origins 3D is simply a must.