Xbox 360, PS3 , Wii U
A LEGENDARY RETURN.
Limbless hero, Rayman, wasn't around much when those Raving Rabbids turned up. But he made a surprising comeback with the 2011 game, Origins. Not only did it reintroduce the traditional 2D platforming, it became one of the most creative and charming platformer this generation. It was Rayman's best outing, and topping it would be hard. But it's sequel, Legends, does just that. It constantly boasts new ideas, refines it's mechanics, amazes with it's visuals, and wraps it all up with an excellent soundtrack. The amount of variety and detail poured into Legends is staggering. It's not only Rayman's best adventure, it's arguably the best side-scrolling platformer to date.
Legends continues where Origins ended. The opening sees Rayman, Globox and the Teensies snoozing in the Glade of Dreams. They've been asleep for a centaury, and in that time, the Bubbles Dreamer's nightmares have grown in strength and quantities. But things turn horribly wrong when five dark Teensies kidnap the ten princesses. Murpy awakes Rayman to the living nightmare. Once again, Rayman must be the hero, traveling across strange worlds, defeating the evil and rescuing his friends. Yes, the plot is wafer-thin, but a strong story is never needed in a game like this. It's silliness produces some bazar, but wonderful levels. There's no game quite like it, and wall-jumping as a duck is a great example.
Much like Origins, Legends consists of various worlds, with each one having a series of levels. From a picture gallery - the main hub world, large framed painting stand on display, representing each world. Leaping into a painting opens up a series of levels. You begin by traversing across a lush forest, jumping and punching your way to the end. It's fairly simple platforming at first, but it's not long before new inventive ideas are thrown at you. Before you know it, Rayman is wall-jumping, dodging obstacles, swimming, swinging, and fighting huge bosses. Just when you get used to a level, another once comes along and replaces it with something even fresher.
This is where Legends surprises. It's platforming is so charming and creative throughout it's 11-12 hours journey, you wont want to put down the controller. Every level is a joy, and they're all stunning to look at. Each one has crisp visuals, bursting with vibrant colours. It transitions 2D and 3D effects wonderfully, providing some very eye-catching set pieces. The background score is also top notch, each with it's own distinct sounds to suit the atmosphere. A great example is the underwater stealth sections, which provide a James Bond-like musical score. It sounds great, and helps immerse you in the level.
Each level contains ten Teensies for you to rescue. Most of them are easily spotted, but the Queen and King Teensie are much harder to find. They remain hidden throughout secret passageways, which only a sharp eye can spot. If you listen carefully, though, you can hear their small cry for help, giving you an idea of their whereabouts. You can chose to leave them, but saving them can dramatically change the length of a level, providing more platforming and puzzles. Rescuing them is always a delightful moment, and it offers some great replay-value for those you left behind.
Lums - yellow glowing orbs with wings, completely litter the levels. Pocketing these not only rewards you with a score at the end of each level, but it also unlocks tons of costumes. Snatching them all on a level earns you a Lucky Ticket, which is a slight pun to the Wii U version. These tickets are manually scratched, and doing so can unlock more Lums, new levels, and creatures. These creatures don't do anything in-game, but do provide you with Lums every day you visit them. Scratching these tickets are a delightful little distraction, and it's a charming way to unlock content along the way.
There's a great mix of pacing throughout the game. Some levels are slow-paced, whilst others are a frantic rush to the exit. The Invasion levels are extremely fast, which are speed runs with set times to beat. Then there's the music levels, which have you moving along the screen, matching your jumps and other movements to the rhythm of the music. It's great fun, and much easier than it sounds. If the single-player levels weren't enough, you can also play Back to Origins, which is a recreation of levels from Origins. It's a nice little dose of nostalgia, but also a great taste for those who never played it's predecessor.
If all that wasn't enough, there's also daily and weekly challenges. These have you competing with other players online ghost times. One level could be simple collecting Lums in the fastest time, or racing to the end of a level. If no one beats your score within the day or week, Lums will be awarded to you when you turn on the. game It's a great system, and the real competitive players may find it very addictive.
Rayman Legends is a genius work of art. You will immediately fall in love with it's creative, charming gameplay. It's a visually stunning game, and there's enough content to keep you comes back for weeks. If you adore the limbless hero, or simply enjoy platformers, Rayman Legends shouldn't be missed.