Is there such a thing as the perfect game? Not really, but some come closer than others.
If there is one genre that is well represented in this close to perfect category, and that are the platformers. Super Mario Bros is a legendary classic game that showed greatness, but it wasn’t until Super Mario Bros 3 that the formula bloomed into awesomeness. The more contemporary Super Mario Galaxy is perhaps an even better game. Rayman has also travelled a long way from that first Rayman game found on the Playstation. As platformers go that was not that great, but still it combined some cool jumping with an evolving character with new abilities. After a hiatus where Rayman took some time off platforming to be featured in a series of party games he is back where it started. Rayman Origins is to the original Rayman what Super Mario Galaxy is to Super Mario Bros.
The definition of a great game is that it keeps challenging the player, and keeps introducing new elements always at the border of the player’s ability. Rayman Origins truly succeeds at this, and as a player I always feel that I can make that special jump the next time I try. Bosses are hard, and take a while to properly crack. Once beaten I feel invincible, but also humbled.
Rayman Origins uses a map for level selection, and everyone knows that this is the best way to structure a platformer or adventure. None of the iOS numbered levels, and worlds. Instead you get to unlock new levels by succeeding, and collecting enough of the small pink critters to proceed.
The gameplay is predominantly classic platforming bonanza where you jump around, punch foes and search for hidden treasures. For the collector this is a hard game to put away, as there are quite a lot of bonus orbs to find. Each level gets judged afterwards based on the number of orbs collected.
The controls on the VITA are spot on, tight and almost as good as with a full size PS3 controller. The controls are mapped exactly the same way with triggers to run, and a jump and an attack button. The only difference from the console version is the ability to zoom in, and out using the famous pinch motions on the front screen. This actually helps at times to gain an overview, but also makes it easier to focus on hard jumps when zoomed in.
I miss the coop from the console version after playing it with my wife for 30+ hours. Still it was a blast starting the game all over again on my own on the small screen. It is harder playing alone though, as you don’t have any backup when you die. Now Rayman only have one life at a time with one hit point, or at best an extra heart if you find a potion.
Some segments turn the game into a side scrolling 2-d shoot ém up with you navigating a mosquito. This is really well paced, and I even found my wife enjoying these moments.
Rayman Origins is a pretty game with lush environments, well animated characters and a beautiful colour palette. At times I find myself zooming in, and out just enjoying the view. Having loading screens where you can run around is pure genius, and there is actually never a dull moment with this game. The zany sound effects, and even weirder music fully embraces the Rayman universe.
Rayman Origins is the best game released for the PS VITA so far in my opinion, and it is only a shame that a lot of players have already played it on consoles. Had this been a VITA exclusive it would have been a system seller well worth forking out the cash for a new handheld device. Now it is an almost must buy for those who have already enjoyed it on console, and a must for those who have never enjoyed it. Rayman Origins on VITA is as close as a perfect game you can find.