Rayman and his friends are resting in the Snoring Tree and just so happen to be snoring. Their snoring annoys a granny who retaliates by spreading darktoons across the world to imprison Electoons and the Nymph sisters. Rayman must now free them to restore peace to the Glade of Dreams once again.
As you rescue the Nymph sisters, they will grant Rayman new abilities including floating, diving, shape shifting, and running up walls. Like many 2D platformers, you have to avoid various obstacles by running, jumping, and smashing your way across many levels. The controls are relatively simple by moving Rayman with the left Analog stick, pressing the X button to jump, and pushing the square button to attack. The trigger buttons are used to make him sprint or climb walls.
The enemies have just as much variety as the level terrains. Most of your foes can be dispatched by jumping on them or punching them several times. These tactics don't work with spiked baddies or jelly fish though. While avoiding enemies is convenient, you gain Lums (think coins in Mario games) for each enemy you defeat. Each level has 300 Lums possible and I have yet to get all of them in a level. Obsessive Compulsive people will love this game by the way. Besides collecting Lums, there are optional Electoons that can be rescued besides the mandatory one at the end of each level. Again, you'll want to rescue all the Electoons you can since they are key in unlocking new areas.
Each area has several levels and a boss at the end. I enjoyed the variety in scenery since there are jungle, polar, underwater, air, and digestive system themed levels. Every area also has an airplane level where Rayman rides a mosquito, and you can shoot or suck up enemies while you avoid touching them. The bosses at the end are themed for the biome they're in. For example, the underwater levels have a sea dragon, the sky levels have a big angry bird, and so on. They are typically defeated by striking their random vulnerable spot three times in a row. They have a set pattern that you will have to learn to avoid contact. Unless Rayman has a heart, one touch causes him to blow up like a balloon and pop. You cannot do quick saves, but there are a sufficient number of checkpoints.
Once you beat a level, a ghost mode is unlocked where you can replay it against yourself to beat your previous time. You can also go back and rescue Electoons you forgot about or try to collect more Lums than before. While ghost mode does add replay value, I would have preferred a mutliplayer component instead.
Even without the multiplayer, this is one of the best platformers I've played in a long time. Bear in mind that I don't have the patience for many of the 3D Mario games out on the market these days. Rayman Origins is challenging, but the learning curve is so good that it makes me want to complete a level no matter how many times I die instead of rage quitting. Now I still needed to take some breaks from the game, but that's because of comfort issues from me grinding my thumb into the analog stick to make Rayman move.
Whenever I put my Vita down, my kids were eager to pick it up and start playing Rayman. The colorful graphics, wild animations, and silly sound effects drew them in. The violence wasn't too bad since everyone inflates and pops like a balloon when they die. The nymph sisters are wearing bikini like outfits and are sexualized a bit. Lastly, Rayman thrusts his hips as a victory dance for completing each level.
Other than those nitpicks, I really don't have anything bad to say about Rayman Origins. I'll admit that I'm a bit of a fangirl and that this is my favorite Vita game so far. This was my first time playing a Rayman title so I didn't know the characters by name (other than Rayman); even still, I had a blast playing it.