This is What Makes Games Fun –
Rayman Legends is a pick-up-and-play accessible platformer that has such a high entertainment value it will make you smile from ear-to-ear from beginning to end. I have not had this much pure fun from a videogame in a long time.
After being bitch-slapped awake from the snooze of the century, Rayman and his other limbless buddies must fight back the nasties that have ransacked the Glade of Dreams. Like coins are to Mario, Rayman is out to collect Lums, free captured allied Teensies, and set high scores on online leaderboards.
Legends constantly throws new incentives at the player which makes the gameplay so engaging and addicting. Collecting Lums increases score and earns potential Scratch-Off Tickets (which unlocks more stuff) and rescuing friends opens new stages in bulk. There is always something to do and always something new to earn. Gameplay is also incredibility tight thanks to thoughtful level design that melts perfectly with the running, jumping, gliding, wall-jumping, and punching gameplay. Liberal checkpoints and fast loads make death easy to swallow and the New Super Mario Bros bubble mechanic makes multiplayer platforming possible and friendly.
Besides being one of the most straightforward entertaining games I have played in the last couple years, Legends also allows for several types of gameplay experiences depending on how the player wants to play. Finding every secret and unlocking all unlockables or setting the fastest time on the daily leaderboard could be the main goal when playing solo. Or, grab a few buddies and play through each level in co-op fashion or even participate in the simple but super fun soccer mini game. And because new stages and new unlockables open up in large chunks, there is always something new to see and do no matter the number of players available. Stages are even marked according to difficulty and boss battles can be skipped for later. Legends was created with the player in mind; even the painting menu selection system and loading screens are designed with the highest quality and usability.
Rayman Legends also take a unique approach to music as several stages are specifically designed around recognizable tunes. Platforming and attacking to the beat of a tune introduces a new element of interactivity and will even cause players to second guess their reaction skills; players should focus more on the beat of the music and not necessarily to what is happening on screen. The point is, even though this game has simple controls and limited abilities, each stage hosts new ways of using these identical skills to continually keep gameplay fresh and exciting without causing the player confusion or difficulty.
In addition to unlocking Xbox Achievements and Uplay credits, players can participate in online challenges. For daily challenges, records set in the morning will most likely be broken by the evening and weekly challenges can be even more competitive. But the higher your rank, the more your skill level increases and new content becomes available. Like in Mario Kart, players can even race against the ghosts of similarly skilled players which keeps friendly competition high and the quest for that perfect run addicting. This is an interesting game mechanic and what you get out of it depends on how much you put it.
Pretty much every current gen console is receiving Rayman Legends but the Wii U version is probably most unique. In addition to a special recognizable partnership, a second player can use the Gamepad to manipulate objects in the environment similar to New Super Mario Bros U. Since the touchscreen is not a part of other current gen hardware, this environment manipulation is mapped to the B button here on the 360 version. This makes some stages more complicated than others but also brings a higher sense of rhythm especially on the music based stages. If anything, props goes to the designers for creating a system that is cross compatible with all current available hardware.
Outside of the Mario series, Rayman Legends is one of the best platformers I have ever played. The approachable design, pick-up-and-play gameplay, wealth of constant unlockables, colorful and cartoony art style, and thoughtful level and menu design create a detailed package that drips with entertaining detailed quality; I realized this game plastered a stupid childlike smile on my face because my mouth muscles starting hurting. Unfortunately, the local-only multiplayer puts a restriction on some potentially fantastic multiplayer moments and playable characters are mere pallet swaps without any differentiating abilities but this should not distract from the purchase of this game. If you don’t like Rayman Legends, you don’t like games.
Almost As Good As: the Mario games
Better Than: most other platformers
Also Try: the Klonoa series
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com