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Rayman Origins 

Available on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii (Ubisoft)

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Rayman Origins is an unexpected but welcome delight in a franchise that seemed to be going nowhere fast. A 2D platformer with up to four-player co-op, where the more’s the merrier/crazier. The controls are tight and the levels challenging; harder than New Super Mario Bros. but easier than Donkey Kong Country Returns. This game completely nails it with the gorgeously hand-drawn visuals, so vibrant and lush it just pops off the screen (ironic seeing as it’s 2D). The audio is fun and quirky with lots of whistles, harmonicas and didgeridoos. Some will enjoy it, but those not immersed in the experience may find it gnawing.    Families will love the cartoonish style, the easy to handle controls and the fact it isn’t an overly violent game. A real joy to play alone or with friends, Rayman Origins redefines a genre which has already had a pretty great year.

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