Rayman has certainly had its fair share of games since 1995, with a few of them purely released to milk money from the popular cash cow. I’d be raving mad to mention which games they were though so I won’t. Rayman Origins was released in 2011 and basically confirmed that it was possible to revive a classic 2D game and make it awesome once again. A year and a half on and the sequel to Origins is here in the form of Rayman: Legends.
In this 2D adventure Rayman, Globox and the Teensies have been asleep for one hundred years, and during that time the Bubble Dreamer’s nightmares have grown tenfold, as well as the power of the magician. You (being Rayman) and your friends are awaken to the bad news, as well as the even more devastating news that the princesses have been captured along with all the Teensies (and there’s a lot of them, seven hundred to be exact). It’s your task to save them throughout the various levels and puzzles, and that’s how the game plays out. Despite not really providing an enthralling story line, the level design alone keep you from even being bothered by that. The satisfaction of saving the Teensies is more than enough.
You may think that Rayman Legends hasn’t changed much from Origins, and from afar you’d probably be right. Don’t see that as a negative though, as Rayman Legends takes what origins has, adds a sprinkle of magic and leaves you extremely satisfied.
Continuing on from the good work that was left behind from Origins, Legends has taken the game a step further. They have overhauled the graphics for starters leaving you with a glorious high definition screen of colourful fun. There’s a lot more depth even though it’s just a 2D game and the colours are so vivid, it just oozes from your television screen. This all makes a pretty playground for Rayman and friends to play in. This playground is split into a wealth of separate levels throughout the game that will certainly offer you a challenge from time to time, particularly so with the latter levels.
Sometimes in a game of this nature you will find that it will quickly become repetitive. Not so much here as Ubisoft have thrown in lots of different variations and put lots of thought into the design and intricacy of the levels. While on some levels you’ll require to jump from side to side to complete the level, others will have you shrinking in size to fit through small gaps and even swimming. Furthermore some levels will require assistance from your blue-bottle-like friend Murphy, as well as fighting the ever increasing difficult bosses. My personal favourite levels are where you have to run as fast as you can with extremely fitting music like Black Betty or even classical music playing in the background matching your jumps and punches. You can’t help but enjoy the game.
During each level you have to save the Teensies as well as pick up Lums. Lums are the money equivalent and having lots will help you unlock more characters to play as. The use of different characters is a nice touch and especially helpful when playing with a friend. Local co-operative play is in the drop in, drop out style and can take up to three extra players. One and two players works extremely well but when playing with three or four it can get a bit hectic, but maybe that’s actually part of the fun. No longer shall your friends have to sit and wait while you complete a ‘single’ player game. Instead they can just jump straight in, mid-game, and complete the level with you. This can be a notably helpful tool during the harder levels within the game.
There’s so much to do within this game that should you finish the Legends levels or fancy a change of pace you can take part in the daily and weekly challenges that Ubisoft post online via Xbox LIVE. These challenges usually consist in some sort of race, or ‘see how far you can run without dying’ and you are provided some good competition via online opponent ghosts. You can even play football if you fancy it in a special offline mode, but I don’t really see the appeal.
Sadly the game is limited to local play only and this I think is a great error. This game is great, and offline co-op works very well. So I’m struggling to see why in this day and age Ubisoft wouldn’t be able to include online play?! The way I see it, your mate sees you online, he joins your game regardless of where you are in the level, boom your mate is in the game with you and you can both enjoy it together. It might not be as simple as that but we shall never know.
I was extremely impressed with Rayman Legends specifically the freshness of the graphics and the fluent gameplay which just made it an extremely fun game to play. The design of the levels is wonderful and will keep you entertained for a very long time. It’s disappointing not to have any online co-op but perhaps if Ubisoft are reading, they can put it in a future Rayman game. 2D gaming is not dead.