I admit that I had my reservations as to how well a port of the second Rayman game would look on the latest generation of handheld console from Nintendo and while it almost seems a shame to say it, a port of a game that first appeared on the Dreamcast, seems to have the best use of 3D that I have experienced on the 3DS to date. Of course this statement will be nullified as the next round of custom built games appear on the console, but as of now Ubisoft has done a great job using the handheld’s premium feature to its best.
The 3D effect works perfectly in this latest Rayman title, this is especially true when shots fired by the enemy characters fly pass Rayman and hurtle towards you out of the screen, or Rayman swims pass some kelp. But there are problems, the 3D effect does have the odd hard time working around the camera, for example at one point in the game grabbing onto a handrail split the image on screen into two, meaning it pretty much became a nightmare to look at. Although these instances are few and far between they do mar the experience of the game.
Rayman is still a platformer in its truest form in that you use the title character to swim, jump, climb and generally make your way through the levels from one magic door to another. Along the way you need to collect strange flying yellow blobs called Lums which empower you and once you have enough these allow Rayman to access new levels. The game is broken up by boss fights that require use of Rayman’s abilities to defeat; these boss battles are pretty short and normally give you direction on exactly what you need to to do in order to win, leaving you to just follow the on screen prompts. This doesn’t detract from the overall experience too much, but does make you yearn for more.
From a technical stand point the game doesn’t stand up too well against most other games in the genre, but that is due to Rayman being a ten year old game that has been forced from its retirement to face the cruel light of modern gaming. The biggest let down really is that 3D is the only feature of the new platform that Ubisoft have used, there is no use of the touch screen and the update in graphical power is rudely ignored. The touch screen has been relegated to showing basic information and has no touchable powers, but worst still is that the game does look dated, when compared to the recent releases of older games on home consoles that have been given a spit polish to improve their visuals, Rayman has been left with textures that look like paintings instead of dynamic settings. These concessions hammer home just how old the game is and also highlight the lack of work that has gone into the title.
However, strangely the game is still completely playable and feels great on the 3DS. The control system feels far better using the 3DS’ circle pad than the touch controls on the iPhone version. But you still can’t shake the feeling that the game comes from a past glory that is just being rehashed to a console launch in a similar fashion to Rayman’s appearance at the DS’ launch.
Quintessentially, there is very little improvement for gamers who have played the game before to pick up the title at launch, but for those who have yet to experience the joys of Rayman this is an excellent start.
Words by Alec Hilton