This blog initially appeared at my own blog, BattleOfTheTechs.
The brief respite between the end of the shower of big name releases determined to score that coveted 'Christmas Number One' spot, and the appearance of the early year average-but-it's-all-we've-got-so-it'll-score-eight-out-of-ten titles, gives us the perfect opportunity to enjoy the previous years second tier releases. Second tier meaning those that perhaps didn't get the exposure of the major series'.
While Rayman Origins may have been the recipient of some glorious review scores (currently 87 over at Metacritic for the PS3 and 360 versions) it's obviously failed to provide the kind of sales figures required to make it a chart hit.
Being released towards the end of November in the release window that included the likes of Skyrim, Saints Row: The Third, Modern Warfare 3, and Assassin's Creed: Revelations, it barely had a chance and can already be picked up for a tiny £15 online.
But what a game you'll be getting for that modest amount of cash. Rayman Origins harks back to the very best that the classic two dimensional platformer has ever had to offer.
Everything from the gloriously defined cartoon style aesthetics, via the sublimely well judged difficulty curve, through to the perfectly developed physics, help culminate in something that gamers of almost all ages and tastes will adore.
Though the initial five worlds may not seem conducive to a particularly long lasting experience, each is crammed with at least half a dozen levels, with up to a dizzying 6 separate objectives within each.
Simply finishing up the level in the traditional sense will only deem you worthy of receiving a single token with which to unlock future worlds, levels, and innovative unlockables. There are hidden objectives that truly require some creative thought and use of the various skills Rayman has to offer.
Managing to get through each level and attaining each tier of collectables required to attain yet more of those elusive Electoons will keep you hooked on each devilish task for hours on end. That's not even factoring in the tight time scales that need to be hot to attain yet another Electoon for each level.
The more you grab, the more numerous the options ahead of you are. While the standard platforming has obviously been honed to as close to perfection as has been witnessed since the genre's heyday in the early 90's, it even has an incredible stab at bringing the shmup to a brand new audience.
While not as tricky as the bullet-ridden messes that usually amount to the overall 'challenge' of the modern shooter, they're again so well designed, and with a perfectly judged difficulty curve that you'll be delighted when the next level focusses on Rayman flying through the air atop a creepy crawly.
Then there are the tricky chase levels. You'll get the chance to attain gems that used to adorn a grim reaper looking figure in your home hub by rushing after a rapid treasure chest on legs. It might not pack the number of legs as the Luggage in the Discworld novels, but it's one treasure chest that doesn't desire to share its cargo.
You'll need perfectly honed reactions to eventually smash open those chests and grab the goodie inside, but they never feel like a challenge that's been made too tricky. You simply feel that you need to perform better.
Possibly one of the well judged slices of design in Rayman Origins is the omission of traditional 'lives' and an incredibly generous checkpoint system. With so many options, collectibles, and routes to choose, both of these were needed to avoid any potential problems with the frustration level hitting too lofty a height.
Rayman Origins simply feels like a work of true love that has been adorned with the kind of amounts of skill and polish that rarely any game achieves. At the tiny price point it's available for – and even at it's full RRP - it truly deserves to find it's way into your life.