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Platform

3DS

 

Genre

Platformer

 

Publisher

Ubisoft

 

Developer

Ubisoft

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

March 27, 2011

 

 

- Endearing visuals, art style
- Tight controls
- Collectables not mandatory

 

 

- Inconsistent framerate
- Dodgy camera
- Archaic combat mechanic, plus others

 

 

Review: Rayman Ravin' Rabbids (Wii)

Review: Rayman Advance (GBA)

Review: Pilotwings Resort (3DS)

 

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Rayman 3D

Score: 6.5 / 10

 

rayman 3d         rayman 3d

 

It’s a sad but simple fact: when a videogame becomes a breakout success, there are many imitators that follow it in the hopes of achieving the same level of acclaim. This is all too apparent these days with nearly every developer trying to cash in on the Call of Duty craze but it has been going on well before that.

In the late 90’s, it was Super Mario 64, which was followed by hundreds of imitators, ranging from adequate (Banjo Kazooie) to laughable (Bubsy 3D). For one series, the new shift in dimensions meant a second chance to gain a wider audience; Ubisoft’s Rayman began life as a 2D sidescroller on the Playstation, but

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took a few cues from Mario and went for 3D with its sequel on the Nintendo 64.

The result was a critically acclaimed success, with Rayman 2 enjoying numerous ports across virtually every electronic device released thereon, keeping the titular character alive even after years of inactivity (though that’s finally subject to change with

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the upcoming Rayman Origins). With Ubisoft quick to jump on the 3DS bandwagon, but intent on releasing ports of existing titles, it shouldn’t be surprising to see Rayman 2 making yet another appearance, this time as one of the handheld’s launch titles.

The plot of Rayman 2 (repackaged as “Rayman 3D” for its 3DS debut) revolves around a group of robot pirates invading Rayman’s homeworld, the Glade of Dreams. After stripping the titular hero of his powers and throwing him in a cell, he is able to escape thanks to his frog-like companion Globox, beginning a new adventure that has Rayman collecting spirit masks in order to take down the pirates and their leader, Admiral Razorbeard, while aided by his friends including a fairy, a sea-monster, a shaman, and all sorts of bizarre creatures both friend and foe. Hey, if the world can accept an overweight plumber fending off turtles to protect a race of mushroom people, then they can accept this oddball cast of characters, including whatever the hell Rayman is supposed to be.

The game’s visuals, despite given a minor tweak in sharpness and color, still look dated compared to today’s titles, but is helped greatly by its endearing and cartoonish art style. However, an inconsistent framerate as well as an occasionally spotty camera hamper the aesthetics, both frequent problems during the age of 3D platformers.

 

rayman 3d          rayman 3d

 

Mercifully absent is the collect-a-thon gameplay mechanic that also plagued those games; while Rayman does feature collectibles in the form of Lums scattered across each level, they aren’t a requirement to proceed in the game. Instead, collecting Lums opens up additional bonus levels, usually in the form of mini-games and other distractions. The real gameplay of Rayman is an open-ended but ultimately linear path that is broken down by individual stages. Each level features different objectives in addition to running, jumping, and blasting away enemies with Rayman’s….well, rays. There’s operating switches, using wind gusts to soar higher, avoiding colliding while in a high-speed sequence…if it’s been done in a 3D platformer, it’s probably in Rayman 3D as well. There’s also the upgrading of powers, allowing for further mechanics like swinging across floating rings to upgrading your maximum health, and so on.

Even though these mechanics seem trite by today’s standards, they still control exceptionally well, thanks largely in part to the 3DS’ circle pad, though the 3D visuals, much like most of the handheld’s launch line-up, is a mixed bag; at times, your eyes will be treated to neat effects like on-screen text and butterflies flapping around your face, but in other occasions you’ll be forced to endure double-vision, particularly with Rayman himself. Combat with enemies also remains a dull affair, due to a rather archaic locking-on system along with some cheaply animated effects for shooting rays and damaging enemies, though fortunately such drab action moments are few and far between.

Despite showing its age, Rayman still delivers a quality 3D experience from a bygone era where such a feat was deemed virtually impossible (unless you were Nintendo or Rare). A lack of true performance tweaking and additions makes this a rather hard sell on the 3DS, but it’s certainly not the worst version of the game out there.

 

- Jorge Fernandez

(June 11, 2011)

 

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