I don’t think that Rayman is one of the more popular mascot-esque characters in video games, so it wouldn’t surprise me if most people thought that he appeared in 2011 with the Rayman Origins game. What would be even more amusing to me is if the majority of people thought that Rayman was created as a minor character for the Rabbids games, but that’s just not the case. Rayman is actually a bit old school. My first experience with the series was when I played through Rayman Junior as a kid, so that should put the age of the series into perspective. Does the original still hold up? Or should you just stick with the reboot?
Ubisoft Entertainment has brought their limbless leaper back to his roots in the form of Rayman Classic, an Android action game starring one of gaming’s most unique characters. For those unaware of Rayman, he is an anthropomorphic creature with bodacious hair and a penchant for jumping and punching. What likely made Rayman stand out from the other collect-a-thon platformers of the time was how quirky and fantastical he and his games looked. You had plant platforms (plantforms?), blue orbs to collect, sphere-like fairies to rescue, odd-looking enemies to punch, and a protagonist with an armless right hook.
Throughout the series, the punching has always been more fun than the actual platforming, and this is evident in Rayman Classic. The most defining characteristic of Rayman is that he is limbless. As a result, what you are capable of doing with his punches can be creative and even tactical. Rayman can charge his punches, and his fist comes back to him like a boomerang. So, if an enemy hasn’t spotted you yet, you’re free to snipe them with your knuckles. If there’s an enemy who’s giving you a hard time by ducking, shoot your fist right over him, move around so that he tries to attack you, and watch as you backstab him without a knife. Rayman’s lack of limbs really opens up a lot of satisfying possibilities in terms of combat.
So far, I’ve heaped a lot of praise onto Rayman Classic, and deservedly so. However, I should point out that the praise is more for Rayman than for Rayman Classic. Rayman is a great game, but Rayman Classic is simply okay. The reason is because a touchscreen is the mortal enemy of a platforming game. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve let poor Rayman die because the virtual joystick moved him a bit too much to the right. When you have to make precise jumps or dodge a boss’ attacks, touchscreen controls make the ordeal a complete nightmare to anyone who knows what an actual controller feels like.
However, the virtual joystick in Rayman Classic is not enough to demolish the quality of a classic. As with most issues, if you deal with them for long enough, you can learn to get used to them. The game will always be flawed as long as there is no tactile feedback, but Rayman is still fun at its core. On the bright side, there’s an easy mode that allows for infinite lives, just in case you get fed up with the imprecise controls. Missing a jump is annoying, but knocking the lights out of a weird punk from fifteen feet away feels great. Rayman Classic is definitely still a solid buy for fans of Rayman or platformers.
But is it Hardcore?
Imprecise controls can’t deter you from enjoying Rayman Classic’s fun platforming and combat.