Rayman Legends Review

9.5 Overall Score
Gameplay: 9/10
Graphics/Music: 9/10
Replayability: 8/10

Pure-fun gameplay | Gorgeous visuals | Wonderful music

Some levels very difficult | A few Achievements/Trophies require extensive grinding to earn

ray2Rayman Legends, with its bold, eye-popping color palette and stylized cartoon characters, seems like a kid’s game at first glace. Ah, but that’s just a clever ruse. Much like its predecessor, Rayman Origins, Legends is a challenging title that offers plenty of enticing thrills for gamers who still enjoy a good platforming game.

Like most other popular platformers (think Mario), Rayman Legends doesn’t have or need an engaging story. The Glade of Dreams is in danger, and Rayman and his pals must rescue it from the wicked Dark Teensies. There are no cutscenes, no spoken dialogue, and that’s fine. Rayman relies on the strength of its beautifully engaging levels and bonus content, and there it succeeds well.

In Legends, you’ll make your way through five themed worlds, each containing eight levels of pure fun. The levels are wildly creative and a blast to play through. In one world, for example, you’re sent to a bizarre Mexican fiesta and turned into a duck. In another, your goal is to infiltrate a Dark Teensie factory as a spy. In addition to this, Legends also comes with 45 remastered levels from Rayman Origins (click to read reviews on Amazon). If you’ve not picked up Origins yet, this is your chance to experience it in all its glory. Legends gives you two games in one, and what a bargain it is.  The Origins levels hold up well against the new ones made for Legends, and it’s interesting to be able to compare the two games. On the other hand, if you’ve already completed Origins, you may not want to trudge through those levels again–although they’re a blast to replay.

At the end of each level, you’re rewarded with a musical stage, and each one is pure entertainment gold. Each level is set to a themed song, such as mariachi music for the Mexican level or classical melodies for the fairy-tale world. The music is perfectly timed to Rayman’s running, jumping, sliding and even punching enemies. These levels, I feel, will be fun to replay over and over again.

Some levels allow you to use Murphy, a frog-like fairy creature, to accomplish certain tasks. You’ll need to rely on Murphy to cut ropes, take out enemies, block searchlights, and even make paths for Rayman by chewing tunnels through gigantic cakes. If you don’t activate Murphy in time, though, you may plummet into a pit or get blasted by a laser. Serious multitasking skills are required to make this mechanic work. If you can grasp it, though, it’s a fun and satisfying way to test your skills.

As far as the challenge level goes, the game starts off fairly easy, as all platformers do. Then, the difficulty ramps up, until you’re making perfectly timed leaps or just barely gliding over that pit of fiery death. Each level requires your full attention, and you can rarely stop moving for long. If you’re considering buying the game for a child, keep in mind that many of the levels will be quite difficult for kids. The game does offer a more generous checkpoint system than Origins, thankfully, so you won’t need to re-do a segment over and over again if you die. Legends is also much easier than Origins, as I discovered after playing some of the levels back to back.

ray3If you start worrying that Legends might be too easy, don’t fret. As you play, levels that you’ve beaten may become invaded by evil creatures. In these, your goal is to race to the end of the level before three Teensies are rocketed into space. The time limit is harsh–you must take no more than 40 seconds to reach the goal in order to rescue all the Teensies. Every movement you make must be perfect. There are no checkpoints here, so one wrong move means death. It’s safe to say you’ll be practicing these a lot. The feeling of achievement you get upon rescuing all of a level’s Teensies is hard to beat, though. In other Invasion levels, you’ll be followed by Dark Rayman, a seriously annoying clone that kills you if you so much as touch it. Dark Rayman mirrors your every move, so it’s hard to avoid him. Your goal in these levels is usually to kill all the enemies within a time limit. Admittedly, while I’ve beaten all the other challenges Legends has to offer, these levels are among the few I can’t handle. They truly make Call of Duty’s Veteran difficulty mode look like a joke. If you don’t enjoy these levels, thankfully, you need not pass them to beat the game.

In the game, you can play as one of dozens of different characters, including Rayman himself. Characters are unlocked as you earn Lums, which are essentially the game’s currency. Character options include skins of Globox, a fish-like creature with legs, Teensies, tiny creatures with huge noses, and the newcomer Barbara, a warrior girl with an axe. Each character controls the same, so you can simply pick the one you like best.

As you complete levels, collect Lums and rescue Teensies, you’ll earn bronze, silver, and gold trophies for your efforts. Each of these unlocks more bonuses, and you’ll need to get them all if you’re hunting Achievements or Trophies. You can also win a Lucky Ticket by gathering enough Lums in the levels. When you scratch the ticket, you get one of several prizes, including more Lums, a Rayman Origins level, or a creature. The creatures don’t do much except for spit out Lums daily, which might be useful if you’re trying to collect 1 million of them to unlock the game’s final secret hero. These tickets may sound great, but you have to scratch each one of them manually. That takes a lot of time and, if you have tons of tickets saved up, it can get pretty tedious. At least every ticket is a winner, so it is worth it.

Rayman Legends offers a few multiplayer features. In one, called Kung Foot, you and people on your friends list can compete in a soccer-like game. There isn’t an option to play with bots, so if you don’t have friends who play Legends, you won’tray4 be able to try the game out. If you have Xbox Live Gold, you can take part in one of four daily challenges. In the challenges, players from around the world compete to get the best score or time. One challenge might ask you to collect Lums as fast as possible or go as far as you can in a deadly obstacle course. Depending on your score, you’ll get a rank, from bronze to diamond. Only the very best players in the world will ever come close to the diamond rank, and even nabbing gold is a near-impossible challenge. Still, it’s fun to compete. Any rank will earn you some Lums and points toward your Awesomeness level, which doesn’t seem to have much use other than an Achievement for reaching the top tier.

Legends might be a 2D side-scrolling game, but by all means, don’t let that turn you off. The graphics, from the adorable characters to the stunning backgrounds, have a hand-drawn and very appealing look to them. Colors are used marvelously, and it’s tough to think of another game that is so effective with such a range of hues. The music is amazing and fits each world wonderfully. The only disappointment, for me at least, is the music one hears when swimming. The cute and catchy water tunes from Origins didn’t make it into any Legends levels, which is understandable, but they’re still missed. Fortunately, those water levels are included in the Origins segment of the game, so you can go back and enjoy that brilliant music when you like.

Buy, rent, or pass?

With two game’s worth of content plus new daily challenges every day, it will be a while before you run out of things to do in Rayman Legends. Buy the game if you love a good platformer and you want to see more of them on next-gen consoles. Legends is great for all ages. It’s the rare game that appeals to both kids and adults looking for a hard-core challenge. Pick this one up now, and you will not regret it.

Click here to read reviews and buy Rayman Legends on Amazon.com.

Game Info

GAME NAME: Rayman Legends

DEVELOPER(S): Ubisoft Montpellier

PUBLISHER(S): Ubisoft

PLATFORM(S): Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, PlayStation Vita

GENRE(S): 2D platformer

RELEASE DATE(S): September 3, 2013

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