Rayman Origins by Ubisoft

6 Aug

Bibliographic Information

Rayman Origins developed and published by Ubisoft for PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo 3DS and Microsoft Windows, 2011.

Plot Summary

Rayman Origins is a side scrolling, platform game that focuses on Rayman, his friend Globox, and two teensies as they try to return the Glade of Dreams back to its tranquil state.  After their snoring awakens a cranky grandmother from the Livid Dead, she unleashes a host of dark creatures called Darktoons across their world.  Their arrival sends the Bubble Dreamer, creator of the Glade of Dreams, into a crazed state, which turns his dreams into nightmares.  Rayman and his friends escape from the Darktoons and must find a way to help the Bubble Dreamer return their world to normal.

Helping them on their quest is a mysterious new creature named the Magician.  He advises them that if they can free enough of the Electoons (the creatures that inhabit the Glade of Dreams), they can restore the Bubble Dreamer and their kingdom.  But the Magician has his own secrets.  When Rayman and his friends discover his real intentions, they face even greater challenges to their quest to chill out under the Snoring Tree.

Critical Evaluation

Rayman Origins feels like a throw back to an earlier era of video games where the focus was on playful, imaginative fantasy world with funny characters.  Fans of Super Mario Bros will love immersing themselves in this beautiful world designed by art director Michel Ancel.  The various places Rayman and his friends travel to are beautifully rendered, full of lush foliage and magical creatures.  The colorful landscape reminded me a bit of the world created by Jeff Smith in the Bone series.  At times the visuals make it harder to play the game because you want to stop and observe them more slowly, rather than rushing through stages to get to the next level.

Rayman and his friends are also fun and goofy like the characters in Bone.  As they embark on their quest they meet some terrific adversaries including pepper-obsessed chefs, giant mosquitoes (good for traveling!) and exotic sea creatures.  Rayman faces all obstacles with a host of inventive fighting techniques that stay with the character in each successive level, even when he has to return to a previous stage to do battle.  All in all, it’s a terrific journey to save an amazing kingdom from ruin.

Reader’s Annotation

Tired of waiting for the next Super Mario Bros. game to come out?  Then try Rayman Origins, the highly original platform game that makes Mario’s world look like a dry and barren wasteland.  You’ll be amazed at the artistry of the landscape as you thrill to Rayman’s epic adventure to save his kingdom from the Darktoons.

Information about the author

From Michel Ancel’s Wikipedia page, we learn that “Michel Ancel (born March 29, 1972) is a French video game designer for Ubisoft. He is best known for creating the Rayman franchise, for which he was the lead designer for the first two games, and the recent Rayman Origins. He is also known for the cult favourite Beyond Good & Evil and for the video game adaptation of Peter Jackson’s King Kong. He is currently working on a sequel to Beyond Good & Evil with a small team of developers, using development tools specially designed to make game development more accessible to a greater audience.

 Genres

Platform, 2D side scrolling game

Curriculum Ties

N/A

Booktalking Ideas

N/A

Reading Level / Interest Age

Rated Everyone 10+

Challenge Issues

N/A

Why did I include this title?

So many video games these days take place in depressing wastelands with grim characters and circumstances.  What I love about Rayman Origins is that it’s world is colorful and beautiful, but his quest no less epic than some of the more dystopian landscapes in other games.  It reminded me of the joy I had reading the Bone series and imagining myself in a totally different world.

 

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