Save 35% on a Eurogamer yearly subscription this Black Friday!

Rayman 3D

Back to the future. 

Ubisoft has been so busy porting Rayman 2, it's a wonder the publisher has any time left to spend on new Rayman games. Since 1999, this game has appeared everywhere – the N64 and Dreamcast, the PlayStation and PlayStation 2, the iPhone and iPad, PSN... And, most relevantly, the original DS.

Rayman 3D is the same game again, but in 3D. It seems a bit rich that this is not pointed out anywhere on the box or in the game itself. It does look a lot better than the 2005 DS iteration. It is purportedly sourced from Dreamcast version as opposed to the N64 game, and the circle pad makes controlling our hero a less torturous experience.

Other than that it's the same game again, relying on the endurance of 12 year-old mechanics and environment layouts.

The language of 3D game design has evolved much in the intervening time. In good modern platformers, clever camera framing guides the eye towards important object and areas. Use of colour or effects lead us subtly towards where we need to go.

(In bad ones, of course, we're led by the nose through boring levels along signposted routes that could hardly be more obvious, and must spend five minutes learning how to push forward on the stick.)

With its strange or absent signposting, unhelpful camera angles and odd, surreal palette, Rayman 3D speaks a dialect that's difficult to understand if you didn't learn it back in the day. It shows its age in ways that are actually quite interesting, and give you an insight into the direction design trends have taken over the past decade or so.

Things I Never Noticed About Rayman 2 First Time Around, No.1: He shouts 'Rayman!' in a French accent.

It's the surreal nature of the game which makes people remember Rayman 2 fondly. Captured by menacing robotic pirates, Rayman escapes a slave ship and must hunt through 19 levels for winged balls of light called Lums.

Mostly they're scattered around in plain sight, but some are fiendishly hidden. Others are imprisoned within cages, and their plaintive creaking and cries of 'Help!' will follow you around long after you switch the game off. Rayman 2 is as much about this obsessive quest for secreted Lums as about overcoming the platforming challenges of its large, strange levels.

Rayman is a satisfying character to control, falling somewhere between the acrobatic elegance of Mario and the versatility of Banjo and Kazooie. His world is unique. It features weird, slightly nightmarish characters and a bold, distorted colour scheme which relies heavily on purple and green. There are plenty of odd setpieces like riding around on a two-legged bomb, Dr Strangelove-style, or water-skiing on a swamp whilst hanging on for dear life to a runaway snake's scarf.

The jumping and climbing is broken up with puzzles where Rayman has to carry explosive barrels or orbs around tricky labyrinths to unlock doors. There are simple but satisfying fights against one-eyed robot pirates who shoot energy orbs from chunky guns.

Will you support Eurogamer?

We want to make Eurogamer better, and that means better for our readers - not for algorithms. You can help! Become a supporter of Eurogamer and you can view the site completely ad-free, as well as gaining exclusive access to articles, podcasts and conversations that will bring you closer to the team, the stories, and the games we all love. Subscriptions start at £3.99 / $4.99 per month.

Read the reviews policy

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our policy.

Jump to comments (78)

About the author

Keza MacDonald

Keza MacDonald


Keza is the Guardian's video games editor. Previously she has been the UK editor for Kotaku and IGN, and a Eurogamer contributor.


You may also enjoy...

Supporters only

Comments (78)

Comments for this article are now closed. Thanks for taking part!

Hide low-scoring comments

Buy things with globes on them

And other lovely Eurogamer merch in our official store!

Eurogamer Merch
Explore our store