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Nintendo 3DS Review: Rayman 3D

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Rayman 3D is a port of Rayman 2: the Great Escape, a PlayStation, N64, and Dreamcast game. Rayman 2 is considered a minor classic in the 3D platforming genre but I confess that I missed it the first time around. This game has been re-released multiple times already and the only real addition this time around is the stereoscopic 3D. So, is this a solid launch title or a shameless cash-in? Actually, it turns out to be a bit of both.

The story of the game is rather simple. The hero you play as is Rayman, an interesting vaguely animal looking character whose arms and feet are not attached to his body. The evil Admiral Razorbeard and his gang of pirates are trying to take over the world and have kidnapped some of Rayman’s friends. At the start of the game Rayman himself escapes the pirates and then starts his journey to rescue his friends. He also needs to find four magical masks to awaken Polokus, the creator of the world who will help drive the pirates out.  

The platforming is split into 18 separate levels, and the levels themselves have a variety of areas. The gameplay is more linear than most 3D platformers; exploring and collecting is not a crucial part of the game.  In most areas you need to find a few switches to flip or to defeat certain enemies to advance to the next area. What needs to be done is always spelled out very clearly. There are a few “rides” in the game where you travel on a barrel or a friendly animal down a path and only control movement and jumping. These can be more frustrating than the rest of the game as they are the only time where one touch kills Rayman.

There are lums (fairies) and cages to find in each level. Collecting all of them in a level opens up a bonus stage.

The graphics use a bright and varied palette. Purple and yellow appear more than in most games which gives the game a cheery look. Rayman himself though is the only interesting character model. The villain’s and hero’s friends look rote. All of the designs feel a bit outdated now; the game was clearly made in the ’90s.

On the 3DS screen the colors pop nicely and the details are sharp. Outside in the daytime or on car rides the screen washes out, but that may be more of a 3DS limitation than that of the game.

The 3D effect adds nothing to the game. It creates more separation between the foreground and background objects to give the environments more depth. It also pops the text right up in front of your face. But neither of those things make playing the game more enjoyable. In the 3D environment, the camera view is constantly shifting which gets disorienting with the stereoscopic 3D turned on. The effect is headache inducing faster than other 3DS games and the 3D effect also softens the graphical details. In the end, I tend to play the game with the 3D effect off.

The sound is a definite highlight. The characters do not talk much except for some occasional gibberish which is translated by onscreen captions. The sound effects do not stand out, but their cartoony nature fits the visuals perfectly. The soundtrack is what makes the game’s sound great. Each level has multiple songs, and the songs change as you progress and as the action or mood changes.

There is little replay value here. After beating a level the only reason to revisit it is to find all the collectibles and unlock the bonus level. Unfortunately, the bonus levels themselves are not that appealing.

Rayman 2 stands up as an enjoyable platformer. The way the levels are split up makes it the ideal 3D platformer for a handheld.  Sadly, the port to the 3DS feels like a cash-in. The 3D is not integrated into the game at all.

If you want a 3D platformer for your 3DS this may be the best out there, but there is also no competition. It is not a showpiece title for the 3DS in any way.

Rayman 3D is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for Mild Violence.

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About Mark Kalriess