A gamer and writer at heart who wants to combine his hobbies into one. I am 25 years old and I'm from the Netherlands. Having played many games over the years, I wanted to express my love for them, however obscure they may be!
Fans of the blog may remember that I covered the original Rayman in a now-archived review. It’s not really up-to-date with my general reviewing quality today, but my overall stance on the game is still the same: I didn’t like it. I absolutely want to love the original Rayman game due to how stylish it is and how much Rayman in general means to me, but the unfair difficulty was not something I could deal with for long. The game was not tested outside of the development team, and therefore had a lot of faulty object placements. At multiple times, taking damage could not even be avoided. Since the original release, the game has seen a… confusing amount of ports that are all different from each other. I won’t go into the differences, though you can check them here. However, there has never truly been a definitive version of the game.
Cue Rayman Redemption by Ryemanni, a fangame designed to be a reimagination of the original game. I knew about this project for quite some time, but never really got to it since my distaste for the original’s difficulty was still lingering. But due to a very annoying person begging me in every single one of my Twitch streams to play this fangame already, I eventually gave in. Joke, love you Toni <3. Regardless, I was excited to play through it anyway because one of the things that I did know about it, is that it was not as punishing as the original. I’m a journalist after all; I only play games on easy mode /sarcasm.
For the people new to my Rom Hacks/Fangames showcases: welcome! In these articles, I don’t cover the original source(s) this project has been based upon, and instead what it does different, better, worse and all that. Therefore, some basic Rayman knowledge is required, though I will try my best to make this article accessible to non-Rayman gamers. If you want to know my opinion on the original Rayman then you can check out my review… but I’m not proud of it, so I’d probably recommend reading or watching someone else’s review. Caddicarus’ video has opinions that are very similar to my own.
Upon starting the game, you are given the option to select a difficulty mode. This fangame is now already confirmed better than the original Rayman and I have only written 35 words before this sentence ends. This difficulty mostly just changes how lives and continues work and while I would like more options on that front like enemy placements, this is satisfactory for now. I came here for an easier experience after all; not Rayman 1 all over again.
What I noticed immediately is that I had all my abilities right from the get-go! In the original game, you couldn’t even do as much as punching and hanging in the beginning, but now Rayman has everything he needs right from the start. It was strange in the original game how Rayman didn’t know stuff a baby could do, but I didn’t mind it too much. Every level was certainly doable; some jumps were just really nasty, and that has become less of an issue now due to the helicopter and running being available from that start. I do prefer how Redemption handles upgrades because it just feels good to run around instead of walking at a snail’s pace even when it’s not required. And having your default abilities does not mean that you won’t unlock new stuff, so everything checks out.
The first level also shows straight away that the level design is mostly the same, but does have some good changes made to them. There are now more collectables to be found and platforming challenges have been given an entire make-over when necessary. An infamous example is a vertical shaft in Picture City where you were hanging on a ring trying to avoid spikes which was almost impossible to do, but the vertical shaft has now become a completely different platforming challenge. Another change is that Rayman’s knockback is not as massive, so challenges like the water segment at Eat at Joe’s aren’t as much of a pain anymore. I’m definitely of the opinion that it feels more fun to go through levels now, so these changes were made for the better.
The collectables in the stages often even result in completely new parts of the level. There are a total of three separate collectables now, which is also nicely reflected on the hub world and in the menu. We are all familiar with the cages, but praise Ryemanni for changing the purpose behind them. In the original game, these ”optional” collectables were a requirement to fight the final boss and served no other purpose. This restriction has fortunately been removed, and their new purpose is to increase the base health of Rayman after every so many. Now I’m far more engaged in hunting for them because they have an effect throughout the entire game instead of cheaply locking the ending behind it.
The magician appearing in stages would formerly give you a challenge in the stage itself for a 1-up, but they are now changed to tokens that can be exchanged at the magician’s tent where a lot of unique optional challenges have been created that can be done at any time. The old ones are no longer available (even though I don’t really mind), but these new ones are more fun to play–especially one of the later ones that I unfortunately can’t spoil, but you’ll know which one I mean when you see it.
Present boxes lead to a medallion piece which eventually leads to skins! God, I love these skins. They aren’t just simple recolours, but references to later Rayman games or even completely different IPs, some even having their own unique animations. The Lockjaw skin for example is a reference to the same power-up from Rayman 3 where you could electrify enemies and reach normally out-of-reach hooks with his new fists that look like bear traps. These fists have been incorporated in the skin as well, showing the lockjaws flying at enemies instead of the usual flying fist. Yet again, I don’t want to spoil what skins are in but there are some really good ones. And there are also skins for checkpoints and the mosquito! What mosquito? I’ll get there soon.
Collectables in the original game weren’t always the easiest to find, because some of them were hidden until you did a particular action. This remains unchanged and I’m perfectly fine with that–especially since you can buy two optional locators that will give you hints on where the collectables are hidden. They are just arrows that point you in a direction and that’s more than enough. The tings now serve as a currency as well, which can be spent at multiple shops. Some having upgrades such as the locators, others having skins or miscellaneous items such as 1-ups.
Before I move on to the best part of this showcase, I want to address the bosses. These were good, but had some very nasty patterns that could result in almost unavoidable damage. Space Momma is an infamous example due to two attacks: her laser beams that gave you very little to no space to avoid, and her spin attack where you had to be extremely precise with your movements. None of these are an issue anymore, and the best part is: bosses have completely new attacks now! Yup, you heard me right, there are entirely new patterns to these bosses. While I still think that some bosses give you too little time to react to their attacks, they definitely were fun to learn.
I feel like we’ve covered most of the differences between the original version and this fangame… but we’re not done yet! Instead, we’ve reached my favourite part of this showcase: new additions! This game is not a simple remaster after all; it’s a reimagining. And not just a reimagining of Rayman 1 either. What do I mean you ask?
The main game is absolutely, without a doubt Rayman 1 from the PlayStation 1. Almost all of the new additions come from different games within the same franchise however. There’s music and a minigame from the Atari Jaguar version of Rayman, sound effects from Rayman 2, an entirely new world inspired by Rayman Raving Rabbids on the Gameboy Advance which also has a level referencing the Rayman Brain Games and so, so much more. Yet again, I don’t want to give away too much because discovering them is half the fun, but I do want to give a special mention to how the final half of the game feels like a fusion between Rayman and… Rayman, but the Gameboy Colour version. Find out yourself what I mean by that.
I could go on for much longer, like the Mosquito shmup levels that references Rayman Origins or completely new mechanics like the Rainbow Fist but honestly… I encourage you to give it a try yourself instead. Before I move on to the conclusion, I want to quickly mention some technical aspects. The game is in fullscreen which is especially beautiful and also makes you able to look further ahead, and you can even change the way you want the helicopter to work, sound effects and more. And of course, it can be played with a controller!
This is not a product experienced developers could have made. This is a product only a true fan of the Rayman series could have made, and Ryemanni has absolutely nailed it. Rayman Redemption has easily become the most accessible version of the original game, with an actual fair difficulty and a ton of added content. Honestly… I don’t think I can ever return to the original Rayman now that this fangame exists. Many people have dubbed this as the ”Sonic Mania of the Rayman series” and I completely agree. This deserves to go out there as an example of what amazing things fans can come up with.
I won’t share the exact link to the fangame here because you can never be too safe even if Ubisoft is not taking legal action, but it can be played completely free by looking the game up on google or going to Gamejolt. Most of all, I encourage checking out Ryemanni himself by going to his own Gamejolt page or following his Twitter. There is even a Rayman Redesigner that is built on the engine for Rayman Redemption, and I will definitely give that a look as well someday!