Hands-on with Rayman Origins on PS Vita

Put your hands in the air

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

When Pocket Gamer's deputy editor Will Wilson first previewed Rayman Origins on PS Vita back in November last year, the home console versions were a still few days from release.

A couple of months have passed since then, and the quirky platformer's first seventh-generation outing has become something of a sleeper hit.

However, despite arriving onto the world stage to a rapturous critical reception, Origins took a while to find its way into the top ten.

Bolstered by a groundswell of support from platform purists willing to sing its praises to anyone who'd listen, the game finally crept into the best sellers list a full eight weeks after its launch.

Interestingly, Origins's slow-burning success has implications beyond happy investors. Not only has it reinvigorated one of Ubisoft's core franchises, but it has helped to legitimise 2D platformers for a whole new generation.

What dreams may come

For anyone unfamiliar with the basic premise, you control Rayman, an energetic character with free-floating hands and feet, helicopter hair, and a mean right hook.

Charged with bringing peace back to the Glade of Dreams, you must leap, bounce, wall-jump, hover, and punch your way through 60-plus levels of colourfully comedic platform action.

Any concerns about the faithfulness of the PS Vita translation evaporated the moment I booted up the first level.

The sumptuous cartoon visuals of the console version are rendered exquisitely by the PS Vita's OLED screen, creating a painted glass effect that's truly a sight to behold.

Controls are tight, and guiding Rayman through the environment feels immediately natural. The levels I played kept me on my toes, switching smoothy between slapstick violence, considered platforming, and time-sensitive pursuit sections.

Handful of fun

For the handheld release, Ubisoft has opted for features that take advantage of the PS Vita's touchscreen capabilities. If you fancy a break from the analogue stick, you can control the camera, collect power-ups, and attack with a well-judged swipe or tap.

On the social side, Origins uses networking app Near to let players share gifts and stats with other PS Vita owners. There's also a ghost mode if you're feeling competitive and want to challenge someone to a speed run.

Origins isn't afraid to punish you for your mistakes, but any restarts feel like tough love rather than senseless cruelty. In fact, every aspect of the game seems to have been carefully honed and balanced, making Rayman Origins an extremely enticing addition to the PS Vita’s launch line-up.

Rayman Origins will be released for the PS Vita in North America on February 14th, and Europe on the 22nd February.