Rayman Origins on home console is fantastic, so it's no surprise that it's superb on Vita too. However, there are a couple of minor additions - and one major subtraction - that make its move to portable a mixed blessing.
The game is remarkably beautiful. Rayman and friends look as though they've been animated by hand as they romp across grass, rock, and ice.
These watercolour environments have the mechanical feel of traditional platforming landscapes - with slippery surfaces, bottomless chasms, and flaming hot coals to navigate - but visually they're far more inventive.To kill a Mocking Bird
For example, in the frostier sections mountains of floating glacial ice have orange wedges stuck inside them, giving the appearance of a level set in a refreshing beverage. This comes just before the game transforms, within a few screen lengths, into a hellish kitchen full of flames and demons.
Though faster than the original Rayman, Rayman Origins is still no Sonic The Hedgehog. The limbless-one can sprint when he needs to, but these spurts are often reserved for clearly delineated speed runs.
That isn't to say it's leisurely - it's just methodical. During boss fights and kinetic Treasure Chest Chases the pressure piles on, and single errors in judgement can ruin minutes of progress from a restarted sequence. It's not quite Super Meat Boy tough, but it often approaches it.
Crucially, the PS Vita's left analogue stick offers more than enough precision of movement while running or swimming, and the face buttons hold their own when attacking or jumping.
New to the Vita comes touchscreen pinching to zoom in and out and to pop Bubblized enemies and collect Lums - the game's currency.
Touch control also handles the collection of Relics - another new addition. These are hidden throughout areas, and signalled by a rattling noise that increases in volume as you approach.
They can be really tricky to see with the naked eye, but they provide a welcome change of pace and another diversion to lengthen the already hefty single-player campaign.Rabbids went home
Ghost mode is the other major addition, allowing you to set a time on one of the game's levels, upload your score to Near, and challenge those in your vicinity to beat it. It's a cool idea, but your mileage will vary, and it's certainly no replacement for the most glaring omission from the game.
Which is multiplayer. Local co-op came bundled with other versions of Rayman Origins, but it's absent on Vita. The device is without doubt capable of handling multiplayer online and via ad hoc wireless, and so its absence is baffling.
When several people play at once, Rayman Origins takes on a new dimension - it's more chaotic when you're showing off your 2D cartoon parkour skills to a friend. Without the option to do this, a whole chunk of the experience is missing.
If you already own a copy of Rayman Origins on another system, you don't need this version, as there's not enough new to demand a double dip. But those who haven't yet witnessed Rayman's stunning return to form now have the perfect excuse.