I now own four different versions of Rayman Origins. One for Vita, one for PlayStation 3, one for Wii, and now another one for 3DS.
I can confidently say that this handheld rendition is absolutely the very worst port of the game, and though it never does enough to completely scupper the quality of the core experience it's very tough to recommend if you have access to another platform to play it.
Between SMB and SMB
A 2D platformer starring the one-time Ubisoft mascot from series creator Michel Ancel, Rayman Origins provides world after world of tightly designed hop, skip, and jumping. Each area presents a different theme, such as South American cuisine, enchanted glades, and a tropical port.
Pressing B jumps, Y attacks, R shoulder toggles sprint, and the Circle Pad lets you move. Control is just as good as on any other system - the mosquito-riding shmup sequences and underwater sections even feel a little better here than on Vita, such is the finesse of the Circle Pad.
Gameplay is often tough but surmountable, representing a satisfying middle ground between New Super Mario Bros. and Super Meat Boy that requires dedication and dexterity, though you can muddle through most areas within a few lives.
Everything still works on a mechanical level. Gliding on air currents, wall-jumping up towers, bouncing across multiple enemies to reach hidden areas, rescuing Electoons, and unlocking one-mistake-and-you're-dead Tricky Treasure challenges are all just as engaging as the action on any other device.
Where the product falters is in its presentation. The small screen size afforded by the 3DS means that you miss little details of the design and animation.
Gorgeous character art is all well and good, but if you can't physically see most of it, it's wasted. Animations between key frames have been left out - for example, when you destroy a Tricky Treasure, it goes from a state of being closed to being open without you actually seeing it do so.
The soundtrack – perhaps one of the best scores of the last decade – sounds lo-fi, either blaring out the machine's speakers or through headphones. There are audio bugs aplenty, too, with the accompanying music getting caught in loops, loading up at incorrect times, or failing to activate entirely.
There's no multiplayer, though there are achievements to unlock, which adds length to an already substantial experience. And you absolutely would want Rayman Origins to go on longer if the presentation wasn't so shockingly weak as to be detrimental to the title.
Rayman Origins on 3DS plays like the real deal, but it looks and sounds like an early tech demo.
As with Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater 3D a few months back, if you have no other systems with a version of the game available – portable or home console – then, yes, pick it up, because you'll get an idea of what everyone's been raving about. If not, don't bother with this utterly lacklustre port.