The PlayStation 3 demo of Rayman Origins is up on the PlayStation Store, so I downloaded it, of course, with bated breath. 2D platforming goodness is what I was expecting, and the demo delivered it in spades. Here are my impressions.
There are three levels to play in the demo. The first is a traditional platforming level set in a swamp-like area with many swings to leap off of and catch big air. The second has Rayman or whatever other of the four characters available that the player chooses catching a ride on a mosquito in a rail shooter scenario. The final level is almost entirely underwater, but the demo ends not even halfway through the submerged cavern with the appearance of an underwater dragon. The words "To be continued" pop up as the boss enters into the frame from a cavern from above.
I chose to play as the limbless wonder, Rayman. The controls are basic and simple to learn. Rayman can jump once and then players can press the X button again to have his propeller twirl, giving him extra hang time. He can attack with either the square or triangle buttons. Wall jumps are accomplished by leaping off walls with the X button. This is easy to do, and it feels fast and fluid.
Each of the three levels has multiple lums, the collectibles of the game, to gather. Earning a set number of them awards the player some type of pink goody at the conclusion of a given level. Levels just beg to be explored with lums being located in the most secret of areas. There are also creatures trapped in well-hidden rooms in cages that Rayman or whoever must break with their fists.
The first level is an introductory area. There aren't too many hazards that can get you, but stay in the water too long and a hand will grab you. Rayman can only take one hit before he must start at the beginning of the level or at a checkpoint. Collecting a heart will give the player two hits to work with. Nonetheless, there were many points to swing from to reach higher areas, waterfalls to slide down, and baddies to bounce off of to reach new heights.
The second level took place in a red hot molten area of some sort. With the mosquito, players can either suck up enemies or shoot at them. Either way, clearing a squadron of foes awarded the player with a bubble full of lums. Further on in the level there were enemies shooting out streams of fire, lasers that when crossed shot out a sharp utensil meant to slice the player, and hot-to-the-touch iron that attempted to crush Rayman and friends. The final obstacle took place along the cool ocean waves, an eel boss. The object of this boss was to shoot the translucent weak points and then its susceptible backside that flashed purple. Each time the player destroyed a segment of the eel, the boss would grow more and more desperate.
The third and final level introduced underwater acrobatics to the game. This underwater cavern was infested with dangerous jellyfish. After making their way through the terrifying passageways and channels, suddenly the player was chased by a menacing monstrosity. The creature feverishly pursued the player as players swam through enemy-filled waters, got shot out of the sea onto land, and leaped atop rocky platforms. Soon the player made their way through a narrow sliver of water, too small for the creature to fit through. A sigh of relief could be uttered. What followed is a room where an underwater dragon emerged, and that aforementioned "To be continued" appeared.
Graphically, everything in Rayman Origins is hand-drawn and looks sensational. I do not possess an HD-capable television, but even in SD the game was spectacular-looking. The colors are bright and vibrant, the characters animate tremendously, and the backgrounds are full of unique doodads. The gibberish that comes from the numerous characters in the game is exceptionally charming, too.
Be sure to stick with SuperPhillip Central for when Rayman Origins leaps its way onto the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Nintendo Wii. A full review will be forthcoming, so please look forward to that. Rayman Origins releases November 15th.