DamnLag: Have you played the Rayman Origins demo? Blimey, it’s good. I’ve played through the demo about five or six times now, and I can’t get over just how much fun it is. It takes the framework of New Super Mario Bros. Wii and applies it brilliantly to the formula laid out by the original Rayman back in 1995. It’s beautiful to look at, too: lush, living 2D worlds that are stunningly animated. Lava bubbles, winds blow, and creatures live. As a gamer and an animation fan, it’s easy to feel a little giddy about it.
I’d read next to nothing about the game before playing the demo. I knew it was in development, and I’d seen Ubisoft promoting it at this year’s E3, but beyond that I hadn’t really been able to muster up the enthusiasm to really look into how development of the game was progressing. The excitement and anticipation I feel for this game has been generated almost entirely by the game’s demo, and that’s a rare experience.
Most developers these days consider demos to be something of an after-thought, if they even bother to think of them at all. One of the major drawbacks of the demo is that the play is generally limited to the first few levels. As these beginning levels tend to feature mostly tedious, tutorial gameplay or plot-driving narrative, the player finds themselves spending ten minutes learning to play a game they’ll only be playing for, at best, another five before they’re presented with a video reel of how brilliant the final product is, and a listing all of the reasons why they should buy it.