Released in 2011, Rayman Origins is a sequel to the long-dormant Rayman series. As the story goes, it takes place in a world called The Glade of Dreams created by a being known as Bubble Dreamer (Polokus from Rayman 2), who was so attached to his world, that his emotions directly impacted it. Rayman was created by Betilla from the magic of Nymphs to be a guardian of this world.Our story begins proper sometime after Rayman 2 The Great Escape, when our heroes (Rayman, Globox and two Teensies) snore loud enough during a nap to literally awaken the dead. Their underground neighbours (residents of the Land of the Livid Dead) retaliate by invading the surface en masse, imprisoning the heroes and capturing the peaceful Electoons, which in turn causes the Bubble Dreamer to go cuckoo and have terrible nightmares which further threaten the stability of the entire Glade. Rayman and his pals set out to free all the Electoons, cure the Bubble Dreamer's nightmares and save the Glade before it vanishes like a bad dream. You can watch the trailer here, and the official blog here.This game started life as a downloadable title for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 but as it grew in size and scope it is now sold as a full retail game on the two aforementioned consoles, Wii, Steam, PC, 3DS and PlayStationVita. It also has 4-Player Co-Op, though it was removed from the portable versions.A multiplatform sequel has been recently released called Rayman Legends, retaining the first game's gameplay, art style and 4-Player co-op, but going in a more fantasy-based direction, with worlds based off fairy tales and Greek Mythology. They're also giving it a major Art Evolution, with the 2D characters lit by 3D lighting, lending it a unique painterly feel.
This game provides examples of:
A Winner Is You: What do you get for beating the hardest level in the game? A nymph saying a bad punnote "That was a nightmare! Thanks! and winking. You can also now take a spring bulb into the background of the credits to beat them up.
All There in the Manual: The website gives some added back story on some of the characters, such as why Rayman has no limbs ( The Nymphs got distracted and lost some of the Lums they needed.) and where the Darktoons came from (The Bubble Dreamer had a nightmare for the first time that created them by the dozens).
The website also reveals that Jano from Rayman 2 The Great Escape was created as a product of the Bubble Dreamer's first bad dream.
Arc Welding: The first and second Rayman games were almost completely different in terms of characters, story, and even the general way the world works. This game seeks to remedy this, by tying together the elements of the first Rayman game (Betilla the fairy, the Electoons, The Magician) with the second one (Globox and the Teensies, the Lums, the general makeup of the land).
Artifact Title: The name indicates a prequel of some sort, but this was removed midway through development for a Rayman 2 The Great Escape sequel. While the game reintroduces characters from the first game, the title otherwise makes no sense in the game's current form. (Unless you think of it as Rayman returning to his origins as a side-scrolling platformer character.)
Canon Discontinuity: The game never attempts to acknowledge that the Rabbids ever set foot in the Glade of Dreams, or even mention them at all. Even Rayman 3(made without Ancel's direct involvement) gets a mention, in the form of The Land of the Livid Deadnote and Globox apparently still having a thing for plum juice, even though the two levels don't share much in common besides the name and general theme.
Possibly justified, as Ubisoft retconned the Rabbids out of the Rayman universe and into a different one, as seen in Rabbids Go Home.
Dummied Out: The E3 2010 trailer displayed many things not in the final game, such as different types of enemies, including an ant-like creature with a spear, different moves like Rayman using his hair to blow away enemies, and the Big Mama boss battle taking place at Mystical Pique instead of the Land of the Livid Dead.
When the demo came out some clever fans found a script for the full game in it's files, the script reveals why The Magician became evil, and his real name, and at least four costumes (Tarayzan, Uglette, a robot Teensie, and The Magician) that didn't make it in.
Eldritch Abomination: Fée de la Mort's monster form complete with multiple eyes, tentacles and huge mouth lined with sharp teeth.
Teensie Ray, who is president of the Rayman fanclub, and Globteen, a Teensy who cos-plays as Globox.
It turns out that the Magician is a big fan of Mr. Dark, as he is seen with several posters of him in his lair.
The Magician: I always wanted to be like Mr. Dark: Mysterious, Dark! ...Um, Dark and mysterious!
Fantastic Light Source: The Grumbling Grottoes has gongs that look like faces. Attacking these lights them up, and protects the player(s) from the deadly gnats.
In a few water levels you have to stay in the light of angler fishes to avoid dying.
Fairy Sexy: Betilla, well as her sisters. The instruction manual doesn't call them the "Bodacious Nymphs of the Glade" for nothing!
Fake Difficulty: When a character hits an obstacle, they are knocked backwards a bit. Unfortunately, many obstacles are positioned as such so that if you get hurt, you'll generally be knocked back directly into another obstacle. This can turn minor pits and areas into instant-death traps.
Freudian Excuse: The Magician was bullied a lot at magician school, and thats why he's evil.
Gotta Catch Them All: You got three Electoon cages in most levels, up to 300 Lums per level needed to get two more Electoon cages, a time trial which you need to beat to get another electoon cage, a multitude of Skull Coins in each level, and Skull Teeth, all of which is contribute to getting the true ending.
Plus the optional Trophies and Lum Medals, which are rewarded for going above and beyond in time trials and Lum collecting respectively.
Gratuitous Disco Sequence: When Rayman and co. reach the Big Bad, instead of fighting or running away, he starts a rather catchy disco dance. Then Rayman inexplicably joins the groove. Can't get much more gratuitous than that!
Hailfire Peaks: Almost every level in the game is some combination of level design factors. For instance:
Heel-Face Turn: For some reasons, Dark Rayman is a playable character and fights by Rayman's side.
Helpful Mook: The air-blowing birds in the Desert of Didgeridoos. Although they are often placed in such a way to screw you up, their gusts can also be used to reach high places if you manuever yourself correctly. One Skull Coin requires you to let them hurt you.
Idiot Heroes: Explained by Michel Ancel thus: "They're the kind of characters who look... stupid, really, but they're not stupid, just... simple. And all they really want to do is just focus on doing their job, no matter what.".
Impossible Hourglass Figure: The Nymphs, to varying degrees. As if it weren't obvious already, they give their hips a little shake before granting you new powers.
I Surrender, Suckers: The Magician appears to become friendly again for a dance scene...only to flee for a last stand.
Kudzu Plot: Don't even attempt to make sense of how the game's beginning ties in with the reveal at the end.
The scrapped script had The Magician setting up a microphone disguised as a flower to amplify Rayman and friend's snoring, causing the Livid Dead to get angry and invade. This allowed The Magician to distract Rayman and the gang from his true plans.
Lowered Monster Difficulty: The Stonemen from the original game gets this hard. They were invincible, takes five hits to stun them and resuscitate after a few seconds like Skelerexes but here they just vanishe in one hit like most ennemies in this game.
Mickey Mousing: Many, many levels use this. The game's intro make a long, funny scene using it.
Mood Whiplash: "Swimming with the Stars" starts out rather light, but as you progress deeper in the ocean, the music changes into a dark, threatening tone, with cramped spaces and those underwater clawed hands from previous levels with water.
Nonindicative Name: Some of the worlds' names don't make sense, given their setting. Ticklish Temples doesn't have a temple to be found, Grumbling Grottos is in an open desert, and Luscious Lakes is more like an ocean, and has some fiery kitchen areas.
Sequence Breaking: After you die eight times in a row, the games allows you to go to the next level. Of course some levels are unskipable like the one where you get new abilities and the Boss areas but speedrunners heavily use this trick as you only have to get 130 electoon points in order to go to the Moudy Cloud.
One of the secret cages in Mystic Pique is a reference to the Donkey Kong.
One of the Secret areas in the Jibberish Jungles is based off of Angry Birds.
The bird enemies and platforms of the Desert of Didgeridoos also resemble their counterparts in Angry Birds.
In the E3 demo, there was a level very blatantly inspired by Tetris, complete with Korobeiniki. It could also double as a shout out to I Wanna Be the Guy, which had a very similar (and just as hard) Tetris-inspired jumping section.
Soprano and Gravel: The music used in the "Kitchen" segments of Gourmand Land. It combines the squeaky voices of the Lums with a completely gravel-voiced (and totally deadpan) singer. Like this.
The Bus Came Back: Betilla, the Magician, Dark Rayman, the moskitoes, the electoons and some ennemies (the hunters, the darktoons, the lividstones and the stonemen) all come back for the first time since the original Rayman game.
Gourmand Land is a combination of Level Ate and Hailfire Peaks. The ice half being filled with gelatin and frozen fruits, and the fire half containing Mexican dishes and boiling soup in the place of lava.
What Could Have Been: There was going to be a world based on different art styles, but it was scrapped very early on.
The game was originally going to be a prequel to the first Rayman, meant to tie it and Rayman 2 together, now it's a sequel that takes place sometime after Rayman 2. It still reveals the actual origins of some of the chracters, though.
While the game doesn't explain the origins of Rayman himself, the PlayStation Vita version of the game features two mosaics, one about Rayman's past with his ex-wife/girlfriend and the reason for his helicopter hair, and the other about how Globox, a former Red Wizard, turned blue.
This was also meant to be a downloadable episodic title, but the game's scale grew so much that it had to be made into a full retail game.
Judging from how Big Mama was shown in early trailers, it seems like she was going to be a boss in the main story, as opposed to being a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere. Her true form was also going to be a middle-aged female Glute (Globox's species) instead of a young nymph.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Following the scrapped plot, the magician's main goal was to fight Bubble Dreamer, whose nightmares had repeatedly overcome the Glade of Dreams and were a constant threat to its inhabitants.
Womb Level: One boss fight takes place inside a giant dragon's innards that has a huge stream of fire chasing you, and even has the shadow of a realistic beating heart in the background at one point. Easily one of the most Squick examples of a Womb Level, especially seeing the dragon's reactions to the player(s) damaging it's stomach wall.