Every once in a while, a 2D platforming game comes along that is worth your entire wallet. Usually such games are made by Nintendo. In a market slightly oversaturated with Mario style platformers, Ubisoft’s Rayman Legends is a breath of fresh air.
The story takes place after Rayman Origins, which you may have played on Xbox 360 or PS3, but can now play or replay 40 remastered levels from as a bonus to Rayman legends. Rayman and his friends have been on what is described as a 100 year nap. During the time of his mysterious sleep, his beautiful and peaceful world, the glade of dreams has become infested with nightmares.
It’s up to Rayman and his many playable character friends to save their universe from the nightmare, and bring their world back to normal.
Murphy, your loveable little green helper throughout the game is tasked by ‘Bubbles the Dreamer’ with his 10 foot beard, and uh, shall we say ‘interesting bubble device’, to awaken Rayman and serve as support during the long, perilous, and exciting journey to save the ‘Teensies’.
There are over 120 levels of whimsical platforming brilliance in Rayman Legends that in my opinion, easily rival or even surpass in some cases, anything else currently available. I don’t give that praise lightly either, as platforming games are a huge part of my foundation as a gamer. There is also some of the greatest use so far of the Wii U gamepad implemented through this game. Solid, no gimmick touch screen controls, and as usual, the off TV play option of the Wii U, taken advantage of by Ubisoft in Rayman Legends is a HUGE asset to this game as it is with just about any.
There are ‘sprint through obstacles to the finish’ levels. ‘Avoid the bottom since there’s no ground’ levels. Under water levels. Classic platforming levels. ‘Fire a slingshot/catapult at enemies’ levels, and much more. While further still, every level doubles as a collection game. Finding, saving, and collecting Teensies is a part of every level. The collection of Lums is not only a part of that process, but depending on how many you get on a given level, you unlock trophy plateaus which you can always try to beat, and lottery tickets that can win you prizes.
Up to 5 players can play on Wii U. Up to 4 players, can platform, fight enemies, collect the aforementioned ‘Lums’ (the game’s currency), and work together to conquer each level. With the touch pad controls of the Wii U gamepad, Murphy is the 5th player. This style of gameplay being exclusive to Wii U on home consoles. Murphy can bring items toward you, cut ropes, distract enemies by tickling them, smash bugs in the background, power slingshots, flip switches, raise, lower or slide back and forth certain platforms, and much more. There is also the ‘Kung Foot’ multiplayer option for gamers, that Ubisoft apparently had originally made for themselves as a fun little side game during development. Think football/soccer on a tiny field with platforming controls. Yeah, it’s absolutely zany, and you’ll have a ‘ball’ with it.
As for the core game, goofy, yet menacing enemies hound you constantly. Pitfalls are common, and the environments and level designs themselves are filled with constantly fresh, interesting, and animated ways to abruptly end your efforts – sending you smiling and chuckling back to the beginning or checkpoint of a level, even as you grit your teeth. You definitely get the feel that Nintendo goes for with their platforming games, in that ‘dying’ is just a natural part of the game, and you can often laugh through it.
For the most part, the characters of Rayman Legends play the same, with a jump, a glide, and an attack that can be manipulated in a variety of ways. It’s fun to switch them up, simply to enjoy the personality leaking out at you from their expressions. Sometimes, on Boss battles, after being used to the freedom of expansive levels, being confined to a small area kind of breaks the flow a bit, and it draws you out a bit, but the controls are nothing but tight and reliable in this game, regardless.
With such a wide variety of levels, for my only complaints to be that things change up a bit too much sometimes on boss battles for the flow to be consistent, and on water levels it’s a little bit tedious sometimes to find your way, you can imagine how enjoyable it is. But the water maze especially felt as though the purpose was to intentionally slow down the pace of the game, which is fine, but a little bit frustrating since it all seemed forced, and floaty in a way less controllable than usual.
The graphics of Rayman Legends are smooth and beautiful. You can play in up to 1080p, with cool, detailed backgrounds, and a high frame rate that makes the game feel as though you are playing a splendid looking cartoon.
The colors in Rayman Legends are a sight for sore eyes. Not really bright per se, but the game is very vibrant, due to the combination of character, level design, and the colors. The developers weren’t afraid to try all manner of wacky level designs, and gamers will benefit much from that.
The sounds in Rayman Legends are extremely fitting and fun. Lots of little croaks, grunts, pops, and pips keep things feeling alive. While things such as mushrooms that ‘fart’ when you smash them, and ‘derpy’ sounding enemies make things all the more lighthearted and fun.
The Music in Rayman Legends is quite possibly the best thing about it. You won’t hear a musical piece in this game that you dislike. There are all types of mood appropriate pieces. Be they for standard levels, intense levels, boss battles, or the sweet, Ukelele/Whistling combo pieces in the hub areas. You’ll find the music of Rayman Legends stuck in your head at times, and smile happily because of it.
All in all, with Rayman Legends on Wii U, you will have an exceedingly fun and worthwhile experience, whether you play by yourself or multiplayer you won’t regret your purchase.
Zany. Wacky. Full of charm and intensity.
Absolutely beautiful music.
Epic boss battles that can pressure you and your skills in very satisfying ways.
All wrapped in a smooth, stylistic, 1080p, 60 frames per second graphics presentation.
HDWarriors.com rates Rayman Legends at 9.5 out of 10. If you own a Wii U, this is a game that you MUST play.