The limbless wonder is back, kicking all kinds of ass.
Rayman Legends is the game that was the bane of Nintendo fans lives back when it was delayed so people with inferior systems could play a worse version of the game (still slightly angry). But once you play the game, you will not only forgive, but thank Ubisoft for one of the best platformers ever released and the best Rayman game you will ever play.
Let’s not beat around the bush, Rayman legends is an eye-meltingly beautiful game. Those folks at Ubisoft took and updated the engine that powered Rayman Origins – the UbiArt engine – and have crafted one of the nicest looking games ever released. Everything looks like it has been hand-painted, but all character models react to changes in the lighting, it is a stunning effect that even the most die-hard brown game enthusiasts will fall in love with the amount of polish and beautiful landscapes in the game. Ubisoft has even added 3D models in this time, with a few of the bosses having fully rendered 3D models that blend in fantastically with the flat playing world.
But is there enough meat on those glorious looking bones I hear you ask? Yes. A thousand times yes. There is so much creativity crammed into each level that the games eye for design is knocking on Mario’s door, and so help me; it rivals the Galaxy games in innovation and creativity. Each world takes on a different theme ranging from the standard forest-style levels and lava injected death-traps to a world taking its cues from spy movies. At the end of each world comes a musical level, each one of these is an absolute riot: they are all based around timing jumps and punches in time to the music and the music, the music is brilliant and each level plays to a Rayman cover version of well-known songs with personal favourites of mine being Castle Rock and the Mariachi Eye of the Tiger. Each level is stuffed with so much personality that it’s a shame it does not last for longer.
There are five worlds of brand new levels to play through in Rayman Legends, each consisting of a number of levels, and it never gets particularly difficult. Meaning if all you want to do is play through the main game (which tasks you with getting rid of evil Teensies up to no good), you will not be playing for long. However, due to the delay of the game, there is a whole gamut of other things to do in the game including every main stage from Rayman Origins re-skinned in Legends’ superior aesthetic.
Along with the Back to Origins levels are a huge amount of character skins to unlock through various means, a multiplayer football mode (actually great fun) and the icing on the delicious cake – Challenge Mode. Challenge Mode is a series of challenges updated both daily and weekly and act as a mad dash for perfection to gain the ever-coveted diamond cup (something I could never manage). This mode is ridiculously addictive and can provide hours of fun, especially when you see that your best time is 0.1 second off that of one of your friends, oh how you’ll hate that. It really is a genius addition to an already fantastic game, and really elevates the game above its predecessor.
Playing through the Origins levels however does make you a little sad that there no new shooting levels to be found in Legends. But this yearning and pining does not last long as there are plenty of other things to do and plenty of those shooting levels in the Back to Origins levels.
The Wii U is the way to go:
Rayman Legends is first and foremost a Wii U game and as such, the gamepad is used in highly creative ways. There are a bunch of levels throughout the game in which you control Murfy via the Wii U’s touchscreen, guiding Rayman (or perhaps another character) through the level. These levels actually work very well and really make the Wii U version of the game stand head and shoulders above the rest. Occasionally there can be some dodgy A.I. on display, but this ultimately comes down to timing, if you get the timing right, you should be able to do anything you need to do.
The Wii U gamepad is used in a few other ways as well, occasionally you will have to twist the gamepad around in order to finish a puzzle which proves very intuitive, the entire game can be played on the gamepad through off-screen play, when playing through a level bubbles appear on the touchscreen – occasionally containing hearts that you can pop – and when in the hub-world you can flick through any menus and are granted quick access to the different paintings (where levels and everything are contained) through use of the touchscreen. Everything is silky smooth and loading times are so short you won’t even notice.
Rayman Legends is brilliantly mad-cap, beautiful and a joy to play (co-op or not) from start to finish. It is a tad easy and it’s sadly missing the shooting levels found in Origins, but it makes up for it with its unprecedented level barmy-ness and the sheer amount of creativity and new ways to play thanks to the Wii U.
In short, buy this game. Buy it now.