Rayman Origins

Overview

This will be a brief review. There's little doubt that, with consideration for what cups of tea players prefer, Rayman Origins can easily be named the de facto best game of the Vita's launch. However, does that make the Vita the best system for this goofy and charming platformer? Not quite, but it comes ever so close.

RO-1
RO-1

Gameplay

Simply put, Rayman plays beautifully on the Vita. Any concerns about the throw of the analog sticks or the dexterity of the D-pad are allayed within the first minute. The control is every bit as sharp as it is on consoles, and Rayman's emphasis on momentum and timing is well-served by what the Vita has to offer. Ubisoft has even sweetened the pot with a "Ghost Mode" that sets players against specters representing a level's optimum completion time.

Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of Rayman's blissful cooperative feature. It's understandable why co-op was left out, because the original game focused squarely on couch-bound silliness that was just as much about shared platforming as it was being able to go upside your partner's head when circumstances called for it (or not, it didn't matter, as my youngest sister will tell you). Nevertheless, co-op's omission from the package is a notable disappointment.

RO2
RO2

Graphics

Ubisoft made the right move in getting Rayman into the Vita's launch-lineup; it makes for a grand showcase of the generous OLED screen. What was already a stellar looking title on consoles looks even better here, for a number of reasons. Firstly, the Vita is locked in HD, so players are guaranteed to have a detailed look at Rayman's incredibly spry and varied artwork. Secondly, it moves at 60 frames per second and maintains full technical parity with its big brothers, which is just more impressive when the action is closer to the eyes. And third, the Vita comes with the ability to pinch-zoom the screen at any time. It's not always practical when working through a level, but expanding the art to fill the screen looks gorgeous, scales quite nicely, and gives players a great excuse to experiment with the Vita's ability to take its own screenshots. Pair all this with the game's amusing soundtrack for a title that is just as inviting to look at as it is to play.

Fun Factor

Rayman is an unequivocal blast. There isn't much more that can be said about how fun it is, except to repeat that its level-design is sublime, and it remains one of the funniest games in recent memory. The Vita definitely makes a strong case for itself to be the premiere destination for Rayman newbies, but interested parties should temper their decision with their interest in co-op. If that's an incentive, then stick with the console versions.

Overall

RO3
RO3

Players who already have Rayman Origins will see little reason to pick this up a second time, especially when accounting for the loss of 4-player shenanigans. Despite that, however, this is easily one of- if not the -Vita's best launch games. Its transfer to the handheld space is near-perfect, and the dishy setting crafted by Michel Ancel and company plays very well for old and new players alike.