Video Game Reviews

George Treviranus, Lead Designer

RAYMAN ORIGINS

Ubisoft

“Rayman Origins” translates very well onto the new Sony handheld. The dense resolution brings to life a game that really was better suited on a portable console anyway, with wonderful platforming, plenty of extras and an addictive quality only found in a “Rayman” title. If you’re looking for one of the best side scrolling platform experiences this generation has seen, this is the game for you.

Rayman, along with his best friend Globox, and various others, are just hanging out in the Snoring Tree one day when the Glade of Dreams is disturbed by an old granny from the Land of the Livid Dead. She sends an army of creatures known as “Darktoons” across the world, capturing the ‘good’ Electoons and imprisoning the four Nymph sisters, resulting in total Chaos. Despite saving the Nymphs, Rayman is forced by the Magician to rescue enough Electoons in order to restore the Glade of Dreams, and eventually lead them to the final showdown with the granny, the Bubble Dreamer.

Like its predecessors, you start off with no powers besides the ability to jump. You go from stage to stage rescuing nymphs, which then give you a specific ability. Attaining simple skills at first such as punching and flying, you also get the ability to run on walls and dive into the deep sea. Stages are very diverse and offer a whole slew of challenges for players. There are a surprising number of goals for such a simple game. Each stage offers high scores to meet, time attacks to beat and artifacts to collect. A wonderful little feature in this title is the unlockable playable characters, all predictably playing just like Rayman, of course.

With such a limited number of titles for the Vita so far, you won’t steer wrong to pick this one up. It’s cheaper than most titles due to being a port and is at least a 30-hour game with all extras tied in.

JOURNEY

ThatGameCompany

Journey is a very peculiar title. Fans have been waiting to get their hands on this PlayStation Network download-exclusive for about two years now, with its first showing back in 2010 during Electronic Entertainment Expo. It is short, but packed with a journey you will never forget.

The game starts you off in a desert. As you climb the first sandy dune of many, you see your goal: the top of a mysterious mountain structure in the distance. The player traverses through a slew of environments, including the aforementioned desert, underground caves, sanctums and tombs, and eventually the wintery slopes of the mountain you aim to conquer.

Despite being a very short game, the scenery is sweet, to the point and simply put, beautiful.

As you continue your travels you collect small charms that, if collected in bulk, allow you to grow a scarf, which acts as a “jump meter.” The longer your scarf, the higher and longer you can jump. Players are given a special treat for collecting all of them, which gives a great sense of satisfaction to those who put in the effort.

Players are given the option to play in a type of multiplayer mode if they are connected to the Internet, which adds loads to the experience of the game. From the time you start your first level until the very last scene, you are able to travel with an anonymous user over the Internet. This type of multiplayer sounds weird, but it really improves the finesse of the titles playability, as the player will grow an attachment to traveling alongside another individual; Journey otherwise feels lonely at times.

Journey is short. A little too short even, which might leave players aching for more. It does well, however, in delivering a very memorable experience.