Rayman Legends Review: From Leg Ends to Legends
The appropriately titled Rayman Legends continues the limbless lad’s saga, right after going back to its side-scrolling roots, which reflects how far back Rayman’s history stretches. In addition to refining platforming games as a genre, Rayman Legends introduces new mechanics that make it unique from its predecessor. As it is wont to happen when trying to create original game mechanics, some end up being more polished than others, for better or worse.
The game presents itself like a carnival fair, with many things to choose from initially, as well as proper motifs, including the hub world taking place in a tent. Rescuing blue and yellow creatures called Teensies and Lums gives prizes in the form of costumes for different characters, and tickets which unlock other collectables and eventually levels. The Teensies are hidden and require inventive thinking of the level’s respective theme to find them. However, since there are many Teensies, the elusiveness of each is inconsistent, as some are in plain sight.
Similarly, collecting Lums offers a lot of leeway, as there are many scattered in every imaginable nook and cranny across the stages. Gathering Lums as they turn purple nets a double score, and in addition to cages full of them and the skull medallions, Teensies dispense with them when freed. Overall, collecting Lums indicates how to move through levels as fluidly as possible, such as making a jump or getting through a group of enemies. Regardless, missing a few can still allow the player to achieve the highest score possible, especially when taking advantage of the aforementioned abundant sources of them.
Still, there are times when the player might feel they have missed an uncomfortable number of Lums or think they need to go back for a Teensy. Then, it is possible to “restart the sequence,” which resets the player back to the latest checkpoint. While it may seem lenient, there aren’t many checkpoints that reside between screen-changes. It allows the player to craft their progress right there and then, but they also have to develop an awareness for where the level might place a checkpoint if they want to vigilantly ensure their complete success on the first run, as there are certain points of no return. While there are the challenging obstacles the player has to contend with in the level itself, being a perfectionist offers its own dimension of difficulty that doesn’t merely involve collecting as many objects as possible.
Since the game brings back the majority of levels from Rayman Origins, it’s worth comparing the two. Because its predecessor granted the different abilities the player can utilize as they progressed, it only makes sense that most of the selection doesn’t feel as truly realized as the level designs offered by the main stages. Regardless, most of the Origins levels have severely less variety throughout each one, and don’t feel nearly as smooth when moving through them. The same backgrounds are repeated ad nauseam at some points, which is spoiled by the beautiful landscapes presented by Legends's main game. While it is nice to revisit previously treaded grounds, it reveals the seams that might have gone unnoticed before, for better or for worse.
On the contrary, it illustrates how much Rayman Legends introduces, with analogs of improvements. With Murfy playable using the Wii U or PS Vita touchscreen, it adds another dimension to the multiplayer, or simply changes things up for single player. Instead of Tricky Treasure levels where jumps must be made precisely, there are a variety of different challenges, from running up a collapsing tower to carefully dropping down a chasm. Finally, there’s the reward for beating a world where the player can play through an autoscrolling level to the rhythm of a remixed licensed song. It cuts the fat, avoiding levels dragging on like in Rayman Origins and gives only unique experiences at every moment.
+ Excellent level design
+ Spectacular visuals
+ Diverse soundtrack
+ Multitude of costumes
+ Variety of collectibles
+ Smooth controls and physics
+ Innovative control schemes (Wii U and PS Vita versions only)
- Questionable character AI during the Murfy-controlled segments
(Wii U and PS Vita versions only)
The fact that Rayman Legends already offers fine-tuned platforming with smooth physics makes it a cut above the rest. While there may be some flaws with the Murfy controlled levels when playing alone, being something new makes it forgivable. The Wii U and PS Vita versions offer the most change, as controlling Murfy is only done at the touch of a button on the other consoles, making the former two the definitive versions.