In 2011 “Rayman Origins” made me fall in love with a series that I never really liked before. With its beautiful hand-drawn visuals and great controls it became one of the best platforming games I have every played, which is why I’m so excited to play its sequel “Rayman Legends.”
Rayman, Globox and the gang are back on another adventure, and developers Ubisoft have outdone themselves in just about every way with “Rayman Legends.” The game has all of the same controls, power-ups, and character movements that the last game had, but it manages to feel fresh because of the new twists in level design and environments, including new stealth-based and exploration levels.
Apart from the new game-play elements, the most notable change to “Rayman Legends” is newly upgraded graphics thanks to the new lighting engine; the cartoon-like character designs and backgrounds look even more beautiful than ever. “Legends” also includes several re-mastered levels from “Origins,” and they are even better than I remembered.
Another new addition to the game-play are the auto-scrolling, music-based levels; they’re interesting because you have to run fast and jump in time with the great music soundtrack the game has to offer.
There are also a few new playable characters, like a new female character named Barbara and her sisters, who are available once they are rescued in certain stages. These new characters are great when playing four player co-op so everyone has a fun avatar to play as.
The single player experience is a lot of fun, but the way to really get the most out of the game is to play with some friends. The gameplay is frantic, and fun, but can be a little hard to follow when four players are jumping around. One thing that is disappointing is that there is no online multiplayer; if you want to play co-op it has to be locally.
If you are playing on the Wii U or Vita version of the game you can control a returning character named Murfy via the touch controls. Murfy can perform various actions such as cutting through ropes, activating switches, grabbing hold of enemies and gathering hard-to-reach Lums. You can still use Murfy on the other versions but you cannot control him, as it’s just the game AI and isn’t nearly as useful or fun.
Just like the last “Rayman” game, I played the game on the Vita, and that particular style of game play really lends itself to a handheld mobile system, because you can pick it up for a few minutes and play and it’s just as good as if you dedicated hours. The console versions are more powerful, but the Vita is just as good. The Wii U version has downloadable skins of Mario and Luigi, which are a lot of fun.
Just like in “Rayman Origins,” each level of “Legends” has you running, jumping, and punching your way through levels, collecting Lums by touching them, defeating enemies, or freeing captured Teensies. There are several different challenges in each level: you can choose to collect as many Lums as possible, find all the hidden collectables, or beat the level in the fastest time. Completionists will want to spend time playing each level multiple times to finish each objective. Along with these things there is also a fun soccer mini game, as well as a variety of ranked online challenges that will be updated periodically. All of these different tasks add to the re-playablity of the game and keep you coming back for more.
Overall, I loved this game. “Rayman Legends” is one of the best platforming games on the market with the best graphics and amazingly smart level designs. It has so many unlockables, re-mastered levels and mini games, that you will want to play for a long while. If you liked “Rayman Origins” you will love this game, but even if you’re just looking for a fun action platformer, this game can’t be missed.
-Robbie Vanderveken is the digital operations specialist at The Times Leader. E-mail him at [email protected]