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Rayman Legends - Review
Few games do polish quite like Rayman Legends. Part of that is probably due to the delay that the game had, following its transformation from a Wii-U exclusive to a multi-format release. However, the meticulous attention to detail is part of what makes this sequel to 2011's Rayman Origins such a joy to play.
Much like its predecessor, Legends tasks you with hopping through various brightly coloured worlds whilst saving Teensies along the way. The game's main levels are divided between six themed hubs. Five are accessible from the beginning while the last is intended as a post-game reward after freeing a substantial amount of captured Teensies. Make no mistake, Rayman and his band of sidekicks have their work cut out for them, each hub is comprised of around ten levels, including a boss.
However, even though the bosses are all fun to fight, it's the music levels that really ensure that each hub goes out with a bang. Each level has you mickey mousing through a song being sung by the funny gibberish of the games various critters, all while you run away from whatever cartoon monster happens to be chasing you. They show an impressive level of skill by the developers, not least because they bring together all of the game's elements: the platforming, the visuals and the sound design, and perhaps make for better "boss" levels than the bosses themselves.
Each of the game's hubs also does a great job of reworking elements from Origins, while at the same time avoids retreading the same ground. The underwater levels, a standout in the previous game, and a platforming staple, have taken on a James Bond-style vibe as you infiltrate old submarines and avoid the searchlights of security robots, along with a Mission Impossible theme playing in the background.
There's plenty to find in each level too, and the game rewards you for not just following the beaten path. While most of the Teensies, there's ten in each level, are relatively easy to find they're not always easy to get to, and those in later levels will require some serious skills and smarts to get a hold of. What's more, a king and queen Teensie will be locked away behind each level's secret rooms. These bite-sized areas typically challenge you with a puzzle or short platforming segment, which makes for a nice change in pace from the regular level.
That only touches on the content that Ubisoft have packed into Rayman Legends. In the Wii U version, some levels require you to control Murphy with the touch screen, whilst the other players (or an AI controlled character, if you're playing solo), manoeuvre through the level. As Murphy, you're able to activate switches, cut ropes and move blocks for your teammates, as well as colour in lums with a swipe of your finger to double their value. Whilst the AI can struggle in some of the later areas if you're playing alone, these segments show off the creativity at work over at Ubisoft Montpellier and are a great way of incorporating the Wii U's touch screen. Owners of other versions of the game need not fear however, the levels have been reworked to enable them to be played through with just a standard controller, all while not feeling like they've been cut down or diminished in any way.
If all that wasn't enough, the developers also saw fit to include "invasion stages", which start to appear once basic levels have been cleared. These stages act as time trials and are something of a mash-up of the games challenges thus far. Again, they enable Ubisoft to show off the various contrasting character and level designs by throwing them into the same levels. Some of these stages also involve fleeing from "Dark Rayman", which are a huge blast of nostalgia to anyone who was around to play the original Rayman game back in the mid-1990s, not to mention the fact they also happen to be some of the game's biggest challenges.
Throw in a bunch of revamped Rayman Origins levels and you have a game bursting with content. Few games manage to be as bold, bright and cheerful as this latest Rayman title, and fewer still manage to stuff in this much content. Anyone who wasn't taken in by any of the previous games is unlikely to be converted, but for everyone else, this is a healthy dollop of classic 2D platforming.
Rayman Legends is available on Wii U, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC and Playstation Vita.
This review is based on the Wii U version.
© 2013 LudoLogic