Delight by design
Rayman Legends review
Published: Sunday, September 15, 2013
Updated: Sunday, September 15, 2013 17:09
Game: Rayman Legends
Platform: Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 [Reviewed], PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita and Wii U
Release: Sept. 3
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Characters such as Mario may overshadow Rayman’s long-standing presence in the young gaming world, but he doesn’t go completely unnoticed.
Over the past 18 years, Ubisoft Montpellier has turned Rayman from another “platforming” game to one of the most iconic platforming series in gaming history. Rayman Origins was released in 2011 and fans couldn’t wait for another adventure in the series.
The fifth game in the Rayman series, Rayman Legends, continues the heartfelt tradition of a playful journey through a magical land but also improves on its predecessor. At times, the game may be flustering because of glitches and lag time, but the outstanding soundtrack and gorgeous visuals quickly turn those moments into a thing of the past.
The game doesn’t bother keeping up with its storyline, but it attempts to have one anyway: Five “dark teensies” – little blue alien-like creatures – capture hundreds of their innocent comrades and imprison them. The player’s mission is to save the “teensies” by battling the dark nightmares haunting the various worlds in the game.
While this storyline isn’t always the focal point of the game, players will focus on the game’s hand-drawn environments and vibrant visuals. Players will have an absurd amount fun while playing Rayman Legends.
As the player conquers each level, the game unlocks additional worlds and provides “Lums” – firefly-like creatures that help Rayman on his journey with power ups. Once unlocked, the multiple worlds and levels in Rayman Origins can be explored in any order.
Like many platform games, it’s the journey that matters. Because there are over 100 brilliantly designed and entertaining levels, getting through Rayman Legends rarely feels dull or inconvenient. Instead, each level is a refreshing change from the one before it.
In order to see what each of the sprawling environments has to offer, fans will need to play the game many times and take their time finding the hidden passageways and rooms.
Each of the five main worlds has a unique theme. For example, going from a medieval castle to a Mexican Fiesta is nonsensical, but both worlds are brilliant in their own way and represent another way the game constantly revitalizes itself. Each world’s final level takes its specific elements and combines them into musical melodies that resemble popular songs like “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor.
The musical finale to each world displays the harmonious relationship of the gameplay visuals and the sounds that make the game truly shine.
The vibrant colors, crisp animations and awe-inspiring, hand-drawn level designs create a visually aesthetic game that is overall stunning. The soundtrack elevates the game to ecstatic heights at the right moments, and like the level design, changes from world to world.
Although the game’s strong union of gameplay, visuals and sound go to great lengths to hide the imperfections that lay beneath them, there are still some imperfections, especially Murfy – the player’s flying green assistant.
Murfy appears once every six to 10 levels, clearing debris, manipulating the level and distracting large enemies. This would be a fine addition if he worked as well as the rest of the game. Unfortunately, Murfy seems to be the one thing Ubisoft Montpellier couldn’t get quite right on any platform, especially consoles.
Sometimes controlling Murfy and getting him to do what you need works fine and doesn’t affect the pace of the game. But there are some levels where Murfy walks around and creates unnecessary waiting as he gets into position. In those moments, getting him to do what you want can become tiresome and tedious.
As Murfy quickly becomes more of a nuisance than a well-conceived addition to the game, he represents the biggest blemish in an otherwise remarkably well-made game.
Although it has a few flaws, Rayman Legends delivers an energetic, fun and unique game that will undoubtedly go down as one of the best platforming games of this generation. It may not be for everyone, but it will certainly entertain those who give it a try.