It has been a long wait, but everyone’s favorite, limbless…..thing is back: Rayman! Rayman and his friends Globox (whose butt-slide face is HILARIOUS), Barbara, Murfy, and countless other characters and costume variations (at least eleventy jillion by my count) join forces in the superb platformer, Rayman Legends. Originally designed for the Wii U, Rayman Legends was somewhat controversially delayed to come out on a variety of platforms alongside the Wii U version (PS3, PC, 360, and Vita) on September 3rd, and it has certainly been worth the wait. I got a chance to play through the title for the 360, and I had a fantastic and memorable time.
The first thing you will notice about Rayman Legends is that it is absolutely gorgeous to look at. Everything from the characters to the environments to the bosses really pop out and are as colorful as 10,000 rainbows. Players start in one big HUB called The Main Gallery, where they can jump into multiple paintings just like Mario and find a variety of activities to participate in. The paintings are divided as follows:
Challenges – this painting serves as the game’s online mode, where up to 4 players can compete against gamers from PLANET EARTH to win cups in Weekly and Daily Challenges (of the Regular and Extreme variety). These challenges task you with completing stages as fast as you can or gathering a certain number of Lums (kind of like breathing, moving, collectible light bulbs with faces) as quickly as possible.
Kung Foot – a soccer game where you kick a ball into each other’s goals. Boring with two people, amazing fun with many.
Heroes – your collection of characters you can play as. There are a lot of princesses you can control after you rescue them in the main game, as well as countless Teensies (the big-nosed, blue things you are out rescuing) and variations of Rayman and Globox.
Creatures – an assemblage of adorable animals that you can collect by scratching Lucky Tickets that give out precious Lums every day.
Back to Origins – literally every level from Rayman’s previous outing, Rayman Origins, can be found here, remastered to fit Legend‘s new style and method of collecting Teensies.
Legend Worlds – the main meat of the game, 5 main worlds and 1 bonus world to conquer alone or with friends.
Playing through the main worlds of Legends, I found myself really enjoying the collection aspect of the game, because it enabled my OCD and made me want to finish every stage in a cold sweat with 100% completion in order to be fully satisfied. There are usually 10 Teensies in each level, 2 of them hidden in doors that are often behind bushes and scenery. The levels in which you rescue princesses have 3 to save, as do the Boss and Music levels. Collecting the Teensies unlocks more stages, and each stage has 3 cups you can earn by collecting a certain amount of Lums (I always went for the Gold Cup, replaying levels until everything was perfect, PLEASE HELP). Collecting every Teensy in each world nets you a DIAMOND CUP, which is what I am still going after.
This is as terrifying as it looks
The variety in the levels of Rayman Legends brought out a childish glee in me that made me smile. Sometimes players are just running to the right to get from Point A to Point B, searching high and low for all the Teensies, other times you are running frantically up a tower to avoid getting drowned in sand or away from disturbing, hairy monsters whose only mission in life is to devour you (all the characters in Legends die in one hit unless you collect a heart, and explode in a “I ate too much cake” hilarious fashion). Boss levels are a ton of fun, as well as the Invaded versions of stages you have already completed (these require you to race against the clock before 3 Teensies are set off on rockets into the sky, and are quite challenging). By far the greatest levels are the music-themed ones, because you have to run like a maniac collecting Lums, Teensies, and killing enemies along to covered material like a mariachi “Eye of the Tiger” and an enemy grunt filled version of “Black Betty.”
There are a few things that drag Rayman Legends down, especially on the 360. In certain parts of the game, it is VERY obvious this title was designed for the Wii U. Beating stages with a lot of Lums always gives you a Lucky Ticket to scratch, which will either reward you with a Creature, a Teensy, Lums, or Origin stages. You control the scratching of said tickets with the analog sticks, but it is clear that the Wii U GamePad touchscreen is what the developers built this section around. Also, in certain stages players use a character named Murfy to hold enemies back, cut ropes, move levers, and eat guacamole (seriously). Players use the B button on the 360 to use Murfy’s abilities (he moves on his own), but again it is quite clear the little guy is meant to be moved around the screen with a stylus. Granted, fast-paced stages where you have to use Murfy to cut and move things while racing away from danger are easier to manage with single button presses, but it still feels a little jarring. The bonus world is also mostly a bunch of recycled stages, so I was a little let down by its inclusion.
Racing towards victory!
Everything considered, Rayman Legends is a blast to play alone or with buddies. The visuals and music (Fiesta de Los Muertos being my favorite world’s soundtrack in the game) are truly glorious, and although it is hard to coordinate timing and one can smash their partner in the face repeatedly, playing with a buddy is very fulfilling. The inclusion of the Origin stages are a game in and of itself, and adds even more playtime to an already impressive game. If you want a title where every level is unique and is a total whimsical experience, then run out and get Rayman Legends right now.
My Score : 9 out of 10
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