Rayman Origins is distressingly pretty.
Rayman Origins is distressingly pretty. One look at its quaint hand-drawn worlds is enough to warm the hearts of even the most jaded, cynical and cold-hearted of gamers. Martin thinks it "looks great". Its organic worlds are created from a palette of vibrant hues, with hand-drawn environments, detailed character sprites and slick animations. Concept art that would usually find itself relegated to a collector's edition art-book is literally whacked straight into the game here. To use a somewhat horrible analogy: it's like a painting - or perhaps more appropriately, a children's story book - come to life.
This, in part, is why the game earned itself a place on our best of gamescom list.
As the title suggests, Rayman Origins is a return to the limbless wonder's two-dimensional roots; a platformer rooted in old-school sensibilities. It's very much like his very first outing back on the PSone, except with those lovely HD visuals I was banging on about earlier and four-player co-op. This, in fact, is how I experienced the game behind closed doors at gamescom - with three other players trotting along beside me. Whilst one player assumes the role of the titular hero, the other three take control of his rotund amphibian chum Globox, and two Teensies.
The game will boast 60 levels in total, equating to roughly 20 hours of gameplay. Of those 60, I've now played three, in addition to a tantalising glimpse at one of the game's ten bosses - a vicious scorpion-type thing. Each level has been designed with multiplayer in mind, with certain items and rewards that can only be collected with two or more players working together. That said, the game is still very much playable on your tod, just don't expect it to be quite as easy.
Co-op wise, it's a similar affair to New Super Mario Bros. Wii. While you're working together towards a common goal, Ubisoft gives players the opportunity to punch and kick their on-screen buddies, which - especially done at the most inappropriate of times - can be pretty damn funny. Rayman Origins is a game that encourages mucking about.