Awesome. Yes, indeed. You’re going to feel a sense of awe early in Rayman Legends.
Awe about the beautiful artwork. Awe about the generally well-balanced game play. Awe about the sweeping, stirring music. And it’s going to stay with you throughout the game.
(Ubisoft for PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360, Vita, PC; Rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older)
Replay Value: 9.0
Overall Score: 9.0Pros: Brilliant game design; beautiful animation; nice co-op play.
Cons: Audio can be weirdly mixed; levels can be too hard.
That’s not to say Rayman Legends is an easy game. Far from it, especially if you want to get gold trophies on every level. You’ll probably want to collect everything because of the nicely animated game with a rich story.
It’s weird to say that the Legends story is “rich.” There’s little dialogue during levels. But the story is there, told though elaborate animation.
If you don’t know, Rayman is a creature who has no arms, legs or neck. But he has powers that make up for it. His hands can punch at long ranges, for instance. And he can use his hair to fly briefly.
This is a side-scrolling platformer game, one of the oldest forms of videogame play. Yet the makers of Rayman Legends have made each level feel original and exciting. You’ll punch your way through enemies and grab onto golden rings to help you move to a higher area. You’ll grab ropes and swing on them to jump over chasms.
But what’s actually going on in Rayman Legends? The gross Bubble Dreamer has been sleeping for a long time. His terrible nightmares are getting stronger — so much so, that they are capturing Teensies, bright, non-violent sprites with cute, big noses.
It’s up to Rayman and his pals to free all the Teensies. That’s not simple because they’re hidden throughout each level. For one level, I had to go back over and over again to find that last Teensie.
One of the problems, though, is with the audio introduction that backs up the animation. The narrator talks in a bass voice so low you can barely understand it because of a bad sound mix. The man talking was drowned out by sound effects of snoring.
There are 120 levels in Rayman Legends, enough to keep you going for a long time. Eighty of them have to do with the main story. The remaining 40 are from Rayman Origins, which you unlock by getting Lucky Tickets.
MEET THE OTHER CHARACTERS
Rayman can’t do everything himself. Sure, you can team up with a pal to play. But other characters are especially helpful to you when you play alone.
For instance, Murfy, a cheeky, flying frog, helps to, say, cut ropes on logs to help you pass a chasm. Or he might move a platform closer to allow you to move through an area filled with angry enemies that look like nasty hot-air balloon heads.
As you move forward, marvel at the oddly beautiful worlds full of creepy caverns and fiery lava. You’ll collect Lums, luminous beings with wings that give you points in the upper-right portion of your screen. Red Lums give you health. Other Lums give you magical powerups.
One of the coolest additions to Rayman Legends is Barbara, a gutsy barbarian princess. Once you find her and release her after collecting enough Teensies, you’ll really enjoy her powers in levels like Ocean World. She’s like a tough young Viking with wings on her helmet and a sharp axe that cuts through the nonsense. You can unlock her sister, Estelia, and other princesses, too.
TOUGH BUT AWESOME
Online, you might encounter walkthrough videos in which no one seems to ever fail. These are made by the developers who have spent years making the game. So don’t fret. Failure is part of the joy of playing. You’ll work and work a level until you move elegantly as a circus performer or pro dancer through the levels without a problem.
Rayman Legends wouldn’t be as good as it is without its wondrous animation. In my Rayman Origins review, I said it was Disney-like. But really, Rayman animation is its own, original endeavor: wacky and graceful at the same time. It’s one of the few platformers I’ve paused just to contemplate the meticulous, lavish backgrounds. I hope that someday they’ll make a movie featuring these lush fantasy worlds.
There’s a lot of replay value to the game beyond going back and unlocking things. For instance, there are daily and weekly challenges. And with your pals in multiplayer you can play Kung Foot, a version of soccer in which you can use your powers on other players.
I’ve checked out all of the versions of Rayman Legends, and they’re all worthy. I play the Xbox 360 version most because I like to collect the achievement points.
Whatever version you buy, you’ll enjoy being immersed in the Legends universe. It’s definitely got Game of the Year potential.
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