Rayman Origins was a reboot of the Rayman franchise that was welcomed by both fans and critics alike. Undoubtedly aping the success of Nintendo’s New Super Mario Bros., Ubisoft breathed new life into a character that has had some very public peaks and troths. It dispelled the notion that this world was an also-ran and placed it well and truly into the league of contenders. With Rayman Legends, Ubisoft have created a wonderfully modern platform videogame that rivals its inspiration.
Rayman Legends is a 2D platform videogame for up to four players (five on Wii U). As is the tradition of the genre players move across levels from left-to-right. For the most part, at least. Jump on enemy heads and attempt to find the many secrets hidden with each level. Players can dash and punch, collect Lums as a currency (for both trophies on each level and unlockables from the overarching scheme) and much more besides. But these are just surface details. The collecting of hearts for an additional hit, or the ability to bring another player from the brink of death by popping their bubble after an unfortunate impact. The real meat of Rayman Legends lies within the nuance. The immaculate minutiae of design that most players won’t even notice.
Rayman Legends is About the Heroes
There are a number of heroes which can be unlocked throughout Rayman Legends, and furthermore a number of different costumes. Each character handles slightly differently. Rayman’s noticeably improved air control compared to Barbara’s greater attack speed and strength. Each costume unlocked will slightly adjust these advantages. Simple changes: but ones which will keep indebted fans searching for more opportunities to change things up. Further to this are the smoothness of the control, the subtle changes in direction and the introduction of Murfy: a key component of Rayman Legends’ improvement over Rayman Origins.
Murfy was designed for the Wii U, of that there is no doubt. The fifth Beatle in the four-player videogame, Murfy can interact with objects in the environment such as ropes, bridges and enemies. Murfy can make new paths or weaken strong enemies. In the Wii U version any player can take on the form of Murfy using the touchscreen on the GamePad. From here they can directly interact with such instances. On other formats, Murfy works on a context sensitive basis and is controlled by all players simultaneously. It’s an interesting design, and one that further supports the idea of co-operatively/competitive gameplay. Yet there’s no denying the weakness can be felt when comparing directly to the Wii U version of the videogame.
Rayman Legends is About the Game Modes
Rayman Legends is literally packed with optional extras that take you away from the main platform adventure. They offer a wide variety of other gameplay indulgences. From the creatures gallery that rewards you with Lums over time, in a similar fashion to Plants Vs. Zombies’ pot plant garden, to the legendary Kung Foot – a four player (five on Wii U) mini-game so addictive that it could easily have been presented as a small downloadable title in its own right. Rayman Legends deliver enough unique content to ensure that no matter what time of day it is or who you’re playing with, there’ll always be something to interest you and your friends. Furthermore, Rayman Legends also includes a whole host of levels from Rayman Origins. These have been redesigned to fit the extended cast of characters available in this sequel.
No… It’s About the Playing
Rayman Legends looks fantastic, handles beautifully and mixes in just enough variety to stay fresh throughout its dozens of levels. This is a platform videogame that may have been inspired by Nintendo but could now arguably sit alongside it as one of the same quality. Rare is the videogame that can beat Mario at his own game, and while Rayman Legends stops short of redefining the modern 2D platform videogame it has enough ideas to give the portly plumber a race for his money. On Wii U Rayman Legends competes for the crown of best third-party title, on other formats, even 10 years later, there’s simply nothing else like it.