Being originally a Wii U launch title, Rayman Legends saw numerous delays and was eventually released for other platforms, as well as for its originally planned console.This was because Ubisoft’s other launch-title for the Wii U, ZombiU, sold poorly and they had to do something to make up for the loss.This would not affect the quality of this title, thankfully, and Rayman has never had a better game.
One of the best platformers ever
Rayman and the gang have been sleeping for a century and meanwhile, the nightmare has spread throughout the Glades of Dreams, the home of our heroes. Murphy hears this from the bubble-dreamer and wakes up Rayman and the gang with a good slap to their faces. Talking in gibberish and telling them about what has happened to the world, after which they set out to save it once again. This is all the story we get, it is once again short, simple, cute and makes us focus on the important part: the gameplay.
Rayman and the gang take on a 2D-approach with the objective being to get from point A to B. Rayman and the other playable characters still move fast, with wall-jump, wall-run, propeller-jump, running, sliding and punching being unlocked at the beginning. There is still a focus on speedrunners, with tricky-platforming that never makes you do the same thing twice in a row. Highlighting this, is the awesome music-stages that are autoscrolling, where you have to run and platform to the beat of the music.
The stages are also much bigger this time and can be explored for hidden goodies such as the hidden cages that once again must be broken, each containing a Teensie. There are usually 10 teensies in a stage, and 2 in hidden doors that will take you to an obstacle-course. The Teensies are the key to unlocking more stages, and while they are well-hidden, they never feel obscure and some might simply demand good skills to get them free. Lums also return as collectables to unlock costumes with, and again: getting a trophy, with the gold being the best one. You will also be able to get a lucky-ticket if you get enough Lums. Think of them as lottery tickets which will always give you something. The prices you can get are more Lums, a Teensie, animals and stages from Rayman Origin. The animals will give you more Lums daily, so it’s for an extra goody and nothing more. However the best thing to win, are the returning stages from Rayman Origin that have been remade for this game with more Teensies. All are a joy to play, even if it is your second time.
The new stages are inspired by and heavily improve upon Rayman Origin, with levels that are much more varied. You have the main-stages with running and jumping, but it also differs slightly with some having neat stealth-segments that are a blast and don’t slow the pace, and some having you run upwards falling towers. All the variations you come upon are fun and hectic, since they never deviate from the core-mechanic of Rayman Legends. What is new is when Murphy joins in. He can interact with certain objects to help an AI or a second player throughout the game, such as cutting ropes to swing from, stopping enemies from attacking and turning yellow Lums to purple Lums. Having player one to manipulate the environment, while the other must traverse through the stage is a great co-op aspect, with or without a human-player. The AI does a good job of understanding the situation and never did anything against my will. However; it is always fun to play with a second player. In fact, this game can be played with up to 5 players. The players can’t be a hinderance to each other either, except if they outright try to hit one another and if one dies, the others can simply get him/her back by touching him/her.
Having so many abilities and it all being used so well with variation in the stages, while still keeping focus on the core mechanics, is impressive, making the game a joy from start to finish.
Gameplay Score: 10/10
Using the UbiArt framework once again, they have done a marvelous job with it. The hand-drawn art, mixed with puppet-animation is still a treat. It is once again colorful and the lightning is impressive, giving the game almost a pseudo-3D feel even when it is all in 2D. This makes it a great game technically. However the imagination put into the different areas, such as medieval fantasy, sneaking through factories and eating yourself through food-levels, boosts the presentation to a whole different level.
The soundtrack is even more impressive, with the amazing music-stages being a highlight; there you react to the beats and tones by platforming through the stages. There is a varied and diverse soundtrack, with both silly tunes, as well as more atmospheric ones. It goes from Black Betty to calm violins and it is all beautiful. With clear tones and just the right amount of rhythm, every single tune is great and complements the dream-worlds fantastically.
Presentation Score: 10/10
There is a lot to do after the game is over: you have of course the Teensies to save for unlocking other stages, Lums to get more costumes, and Origin-stages to unlock through tickets. There are also daily challenges changing from time to time, where you compete around the world in either how far or how quickly you can do the stages. These stages are originally designed, borrowing only the looks of the main-stages. Beating these as well as doing stuff in the main-campaign, will also reward you with Lums and “Awesomeness”, which is a silly scoring-system. There is also a local multiplayer-game in the form of a soccer-game, which plays just like the normal-stages, except you will have to punch the ball in the opposite player’s goal. These are a blast and always a joy to pick up: silly, yet entertaining. These extras makes it not just a game that is fun to replay, but something that will have you hooked for months to come.
Extra Score: 10/10
Rayman Legends is among my favorite 2D platformers ever and builds upon Origin’s concept and adds to what Rayman does so well. I have no issue with this game, everything is fantastic from the presentation to the level-design, gameplay and the extras. It is really legendary.