Rayman Legends Review

September 9, 2013

After a long nap Rayman returns for more hair twirling, limbless platforming action in Rayman Legends, a direct sequel from Rayman Origins back in 2011. Originally a Wii U exclusive you can now enjoy Rayman on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita. Will Rayman and friends be able to take the leap and save the Glade of Dreams from the ever growing nightmares? Read on to find out.

Game: Rayman Legends
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Publisher: Ubisoft
Reviewed on:

Rayman_Legends_BoxArt

STORY

One century of yawning and snoring has passed. Whilst peacefully sleeping, watched by the Bubble Dreamer the Glade of Dreams comes under threat from the ever multiplying nightmares, generating new demons even more terrifying than before. The 10 princesses and teensies have been captured by the five dark teensies and trapped in the nightmares. Woken from their slumber with a hit from Murfy, Rayman and friends must set out to rescue them from the demons clutches, returning peace once more. Yes, it’s not exactly Shakespeare, but the story compliments the wacky style of the gameplay well, keeping you hilariously invested until the credits roll.

GRAPHICS

Rayman Legends truly is a beauty to look at. The passion and imagination is really put across in every inch you pass. Equipped with the UbiArt Framework we are visually pleasured with stunning painted visuals. Each stage is as if you are walking through a unique painting in an art gallery, and effort has been put into every little detail. On calmer levels it’s nice to stop and take in your surroundings, to take in all the things that are happening around you that you may otherwise miss on levels where you must race to the end, which is a shame.

Rayman Legends screen 1

Whilst remaining a 2D platformer 3D elements are made to appear thanks to the design. Boss battles can entail colossus enemies who will creep up from the distance and reach out towards you. Whilst roaming through the worlds the painted style adds to the great sense of depth and immerses you in it. The view stretches off into the distance, with creatures appearing smaller to represent the distance. Glowing eyes and shadows lurk about through the lush scenery. Light seeps through the gaps and different tones have a much better effect thanks to the painted look. Platforms in front also show many things, with the odd scurrying mouse through the cheese, demons diligently working, nothing keeps still.  Even small realistic touches play their part. There is something pleasing about Raymans hair flopping about or watching his tongue fly out as you run. For those who adore game art and beautiful landscapes then this will please your eyes with every scrolling inch

SOUND

Legends offers a real musical treat with its soundtrack which is sure to delight everyone’s musical tastes. Waking up to a small beat box beat you fall down to begin your journey. Some levels play to a medieval melody, which is very relaxing and matches the mood of some of the lighter, calmer levels. As you explore you will discover hidden rooms and areas, to which you are greeted with a big ‘Oooh’ from a mysterious audience. This is a very rewarding sound for your curiosity and you will find yourself going ‘Oooh’ with them. The gallery hosts a pleasant whistle tune. Whilst some may find this an annoyance it will soon penetrate your subconscious mind and you will find yourself whistling or humming at some point to the tune. Each world has its own musical quirk. Fiesta de los Muertos has a Mexican influence that can stretch beyond into other levels and 20,000 Lums Under the Sea sounds like James Bond met Despicable Me.

Rayman Legends screen 2

Without a doubt the best musical experience in the game comes through the musical stages in each world. Once unlocked you will run through to Rayman renditions of popular songs such as Black Betty by Ram Jam, Eye of the Tiger by Survivor or even a classical piece. Your actions are choreographed to the beat as you pound past enemies or slide down chains. Black Betty had me laughing in stitches as I realised what I was in for which was pure entertaining fun and I had to go along with the epic air guitar celebration at the end. 8 bit versions can also be unlocked later in the game.

GAMEPLAY

Ubisoft have created a real mixed bag of goodies for you to explore and discover. The delayed release has only enhanced the experience you get with an unbelievable amount of content that is a right treat. There are a total of 6 worlds to explore, each with their own theme and trials to face. The great thing about Rayman Legends is that you are not restricted to a set path. With the exception of Land of the Living Dead you are free to tackle any world and level in the order you wish. Of course you can go through in order should you choose, but should you come to a halt, unable to pass a particular level then you can simply move on to another until you polish your technique. Levels range in difficulty which is represented by skulls at the bottom of the painting. These are propped up on easels which is quite fitting based on the beautifully painted visuals of the game. Whilst the first set is relatively easy you will soon find yourself met with a challenge and you will endure much of that frustration that follows any great platformer, along with sweaty palms and you will find you fail, a lot. Despair however soon turns to gratification as you get past those obstacles.

Rayman Legends screen 3

As you traverse there are a total of 700 teensies to rescue. In the main worlds there are 10 to be found in each level, with 8 scattered around and a special king and queen teensie hidden in secret rooms that you will need to do some detective work to find. These rooms present you with a puzzling challenge you must beat in order to free them. Each world brings you a new experience and will never leave you bored. You will have to use different tactics in order to pass hurdles, each requiring you to think in a different way. You will fly, run up walls, smash past enemies and bounce on brains to reach new heights. The team have done a fantastic job in providing creative, if not bizarre ways of challenging you. Being turned into a duck makes life a little bit harder to climb those walls and eating your way through cake to clear a path isn’t such a bad thing is it? 20,000 Lums Under the Sea tests your skills as a spy, sneaking past illuminating droids and doing acrobatic leaps over lasers will test your agility. Some levels you will be able to tackle at your own pace but others will require speed and quick thinking in order to pass.

There is help along the way to aid in your task. Murfy returns with a more prominent role and will help you remove obstacles in your way. He will pop up when you need a hand and will automatically fly over to where he is needed. In the Wii U version another player can take direct control of this little guy. Murfy will pull ledges, poke things in the eye and even tickle enemies to create an opening, which is a rather interesting way to defeat your foes. Whilst he may be a welcome sight there are instances when you will dread it, especially on fast paced forward scrolling stages where pressing buttons to control 2 characters at once becomes quite a juggling act.

Rayman Legends screen 4

Up to 3 other friends can also join in and help you on your adventure in co-op play. This can present relief or add to the grief as you will need to be in sync and work together in order to get past, otherwise you may end up just trying to run around hitting each other on screen. Each world has a boss at the end, and though they still present a challenge to beat they are more like a rewarding experience for beating the obstacles to get to where you are. After beating each one you get the great pleasure to send one of the 5 dark teensies hurdling into a rock, to be prodded by demons to a tune that will play more completely the more you beat.

Rayman Legends offers an abundance of things to do during and even after the main story is completed. As you progress you will find that paintings previously saved will be invaded by the enemy. These are timed tasks that offer 3 new teensies to save who are strapped to rockets. New characters can be unlocked. There are 2 princesses in each world to save, and you can also play as globox and teensies, as well as a variety of differently styled versions to suit your style. Collecting lums throughout the levels will raise your score and collecting enough will reward you with a scratchcard in each level that you can have fun scratching away at. Here you will be rewarded with lums, teensies creatures and best of all original Rayman Origins levels, which over 40 have been remastered for your enjoyment. There are also weekly challenges to face, where you can test your skills against others all over the world and show off your awesomeness rating. So much has been packed into this game that it may burst. Even the loading screens are little mini games for your chance to capture a life heart

Rayman Legends screen 5

LONGEVITY

This game is certainly not something easily beaten and even once you have there is so much more that’s on offer. It is impossible to save all the teensies in one attempt and you will have to replay levels again and again to do so. Not only will you want to save all 700 of them but you will also want to beat your personal best, and not let it defeat you. Unlocking Origins levels gives you much more to come back for and it will keep on delighting you the more you play. It is an incredibly bountiful package and worth taking the time to discover it all

VERDICT

Rayman Legends is a classic platformer, outshining its predecessor in glorious style. With gorgeous visuals, fresh surprises and an adventure packed full of fun in every crevice there is so much to enjoy. It’s amazing how much there is on offer and it is worth every penny. It will have you laughing or venting with frustration but nothing can beat the sense of accomplishment once you beat the things that stop you in your tracks. This is a glowing example of the platforming genre and the best this year.

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