Hands-on with Rayman Origins for PS Vita

Far from ‘armless

Hands-on with Rayman Origins for PS Vita
| Rayman Origins

I’ve never really got on with Rayman, from the limbless French character’s very first appearance (which I confusingly played with a keyboard on the PC) right through to the 3D adventures in titles like Rayman 3.

I just couldn’t shake the feeling that it was a second-tier platform game - the kind of title that only sold on consoles and machines that don’t have Sonic or Mario on them.

So why the heck am I so excited about Rayman Origins on the PS Vita?

Gotta hand it to the guy

After all, on paper it’s just another Rayman game.

The usual suspect list of features are there - slightly surreal art design, glowing things that need picking up, and the titular character’s magic fists for smacking baddies - but Origins really is a double-jump above previous entries in the series in terms of both execution and looks.

The graphics were the first thing that struck me about this upcoming Vita and console title - it looks utterly amazing. While you can no doubt appreciate the elegance of the 2D graphics in the screenshots, in motion Origins genuinely moves like the sort of children’s cartoon that wins Oscars for Best Animated Feature.

It’s funny, too, in often unexpected ways. For example, the first enemies you encounter are wart-ridden stereotypical witches, easily overcome by leaping on their heads of performing a swift chop to the pointy nose.

But rather than disappear in a cloud of smoke these witches inflate into comical balloon-like figures and drift up into the sky, allowing you to use their now bulbous forms to reach higher ground.

Punching above his weight

The ultra-smooth animations combined with the accuracy of the Vita’s joystick makes jumping a breeze, with Rayman hanging onto walls for a good second or two to give you a chance to wall-jump off.

As with previous titles, you can always correct mistakes (or make bigger leaps) by holding down the X button, which causes Rayman’s hair (well, sort of hair) to spin wildly around, creating what I like to call ‘the bonce-copter’.

Unfortunately, it’s likely Origins will be old news by the time of the Vita launch, as it's set to be released on home consoles in a few days' time (and therefore a few months before the European launch).

This would be a real shame, though, as the limbless fellow looks like he finally has a game that can stand up to the best platform mascots on other systems.

We’ll find out for sure when the game launches with the Vita next year.