Rayman Origins

The Wii box art for Rayman Origins!

Rayman Origins is a platformer game released by Ubisoft for the PS3, 360, Wii, etc. in 2011. The game's plot is a real deivation from the Rayman norm: Rayman, Globox, and a couple of Teensies are napping with the Bubble Dreamer (creator of their world) in the Snoring Tree. However, they disturb an old woman in the underworld-like Land of the Livid Dead with their, well, snoring, and she retaliates by capturing the powerful Nymph sisters, imprisoning the Electoons which bring happiness to the world, and releasing every manner of evil creatures upon the land. This utter chaos causes the Bubble Dreamer to have nightmares, and this turns the Kings of different parts of the entire Glade of Dreams (where they live) into monsters. So, since there is now no one to manage this state of anarchy, it's up to Rayman and his bros to put a stop to it.

After seeing the super-awesome Kwings do a playthrough of this game, I was bent on getting it for myself, partly because I was in the mood for a side-scroller that I could enjoy with my family and friends as well as be nicely challenged by. I gotta say, this game totally hits all of those points perfectly.

One of the things I really like about this game is how they not only allow multiplayer, but almost encourage you to play it because of all the character quirks and interactions. For example, as you get more and more Electoons saved, you can unlock tons of palette swaps (but mostly for the Teensies, which is annoying), which are pretty cool to play as (and you can play as any character of any palette swap, even in the single player mode, which is awesome!). Plus, there is the famous ability to smack around your companions as well as the enemies, which is a great way to cause some craziness, particularly while you wait for the next level to start.

Following from that, I think that the the ability to hit in this game is really innovative. It's not like in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, where you're forced to jump across the heads of all the enemies and potentially be damaged by doing so. Instead, you can just used a nice charged attack to take out a few enemies bunched up in a group, or ones above you, etc., in addition to jumping on them. It was a clever way of putting the game one or two degrees away from NSMBW, which it was clearly inspired by.

One thing that I am really glad they brought back in this game is the bubble mechanics, or as the Lilwiiviewer calls it, the "coward bubble!" Still this one works a little bit differently:

In this game, all characters have unlimited lives, but if all characters die by losing the maximum of two hits (one is added by collecting a heart, which is a really great step to prevent tedious challenge, I might add) they can sustain, they have to start back at the beginning of the immediate area. As such, it's instant if you're in solo mode, but if you have multiple players and one of them dies, he or she can be released back into the action by moving over next to an active player while in bubble form and having that player jump on them or smack them. This is a really useful feature, especially considering the fact that you will simply die a lot, particularly if you have more than one player and you can potentially trip each other up.

The one crowning jewel of this title, however, is the amount of content. It has more than 60 levels in it, and tens of worlds in total to play through. After you manage to get through the entire story, too, you have an enormous, and I mean enormous amount of replayability from going back through the levels and finding all the Electoon cages, getting all the Lum bonuses and medals, and beating all the Time Attack challenges if you wish. You will be constantly challenged by all this game has to offer, and even if you've managed to collect everything already, you can have tons of fun just going through all the zany worlds with your friends.

Rayman Origins is a modern side-scrolling jewel. It's full of happiness, color, and hilarity, it's challenging, fun for everyone, and most importantly will keep you coming back for more and more for a long time. If you like a nice, lighthearted, and testing game to play with others or by yourself, I can honestly make no bigger recommendation than this game. It is a must for all Wii owners, and worth a definite buy.