Rayman Origins (PC)

Easily one of the best 2D platformers ever. Artwork is absolutely gorgeous. Music is also pretty great (for a cartoon) and catchy, although some tracks are completely ruined because somebody thought there was anything redeemable about Yoshi’s Story.

I hate to sound like I’m making excuses, but the real challenge [*fine oak pipe*] is in collecting the little lightning bugs on each level to reach the 350 target. Rather than being about tediously scouring every square inch of a level to collect them all, they’re usually set up in a way that reveals some incredibly tight level design and platforming gameplay. If you just try to finish the levels you’ll probably blow through the game in a few hours. The final levels (and the treasure chase levels) at first feel like they’ve gone into bullshit Super Meat Boy level design territory where you need impossibly precise timing to get through them, but the game controls much much better than Super Meat Boy and all of the hazards really just wind up being perfectly placed timing markers telling you to jump. For example, (spoilers) this level (5:15 to 6:15) seems like impossible bullshit at first, but then it turns out to be pretty easy and you feel like a million bucks when everything clicks. Also unlike Super Meat Boy, you can still make minor mistakes and live. I did the last half of that segment slightly differently and still survived pretty easily.

In addition to platforming levels, there’s also old arcade-style side-scrolling shooter levels which are all very solid and fun. Breakout, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man and Centipede also make some gameplay cameo appearances.

Worst part of the game are that there’s some puzzle bosses that all but require you to die as you figure out the patterns / stages of the fight. The game resets you pretty quick so it’s not too bad.

(Oh and I think just over 400,000 people worked on this game. Credits are 18 minutes long.)

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