Genre: Platformer
Year: 2011
Developed by: Ubisoft
Published by: Ubisoft
Platforms: Wii, XBOX 360, PS3, Vita, 3DS
#236
Feeling Like: Ray of Sunshine

Because the list is so long, there’s not going to be a tangible line of quality that divides 237 from 236, say. I was hoping that bunching them all in groups of 25 would magically collaborate them that way, but that doesn’t work. That being said, with a game like Rayman Origins, I can’t help but feel that I’ve entered into a slightly higher echelon; looking ahead at the list, there’s far fewer examples of super niche games that only a handful have seen or played and less justification I need to explain their placement.

It’s exciting.

This little project of mine has taken far longer than I initially wanted, but at the same time it seems to be flying by. I’ve resisted re-ordering the list, but seven years is a long time and I’ve made a deal with myself that once I’m done “We’re Halfway There“, I’d do a mass re-order because glancing at the list, yeah. It’s necessary.

It’s funny how memory works, how appreciation of things is shaped over time. Looking at the Almighty Excel Spreadsheet, there are some entries that have me shaking my head. Game X is not only too high, it’s way too high. I know for a fact that some are going to get cut entirely – do I really need to have both Rock Band AND Rock Band 2 on there? I don’t abide by the “one entry per franchise” nonsense that some other sites frustratingly employ to get…I don’t know, better SEO? But fat has to be trimmed.

That’s a long-ass precursor for me to say Rayman Origins is underappreciated, both by the general public and by myself. It should be higher as it is a superb 2d platformer that is so creative and colorful that it can easily go toe-to-toe with some of the best Mario games.

Neon White is the single best example I can think of that portrays movement in an exciting way. Mirror’s Edge certainly gave me that sensation, but Neon White completely obliterates it. If Mirror’s Edge made me feel like Trinity running away from the Agents, Neon White makes me feel like Neo when he breaks the Matrix. Absolutely unbelievable.

Rayman Origins is a close third behind them. The game is obvious about what it wants you to do – GO. Don’t stop, keep going. Jumps, secrets and enemies can generally be defeated only using your momentum to your advantage. Abilities are learned throughout, and most involve somehow altering the angle, or keeping your speed going. The design of the levels is nigh perfect, there’s not a single jump wasted or a shortcut not considered by Ubisoft. Each world adds something new and even if you’ve seen a fire world before, or an ice level it’s still shown in a compelling way that’ll make you want to replay levels just for the sake of it.

I’m still not entirely convinced a 2D platformer lends itself naturally to multiplayer, but the option is here. Generously, players can hop in and out at anytime, so you’re not obligated to stick with the same group. That falls in line with Rayman Origin‘s strengths: nothing overstays its welcome, the challenges are inviting, the soundtrack is charming and the character designs fit perfectly.

As I look ahead on the list, I feel sheepish. This one could be 50 spots higher. The only thing holding back is a special memory; looking at my previous notes, apparently I’d beaten half the game with Fuzz and the rest solo. I’d also prefer if the later levels were more varied than “go fast, if you screw up once you’re done” so I guess the momentum thing can be a double edged sword.

Rayman Legends was somehow even better and you’ll find out why eventually.

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