Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Platforms: Wii U, Xbox 360, PS3, PS Vita, Microsoft Windows
Note: Review is based on Wii U version of the game.
Rayman Legends is finally out, after an eventful year, but did that extra time serve to improve the game from its already promising outlook from late last year? This former Wii U exclusive title was delayed back in February due to developer Ubisoft’s fear that the game would struggle on Nintendo’s much maligned new console, and feeling that it would be much more successful if released on released on multiple platforms. And so, fans were forced to wait until now to experience this top-notch platformer in all its glory.
Legends is a direct sequel to 2011’s acclaimed Rayman Origins, and keeps much of the same conventions in its gameplay and art style. The game looks fantastic, with beautifully drawn animated graphics that flow very nicely through the whole game even at a fast pace, and bright, vivid colors. The level design is clever and unique, and certainly gets a lot of miles out of just four moves. One would think that after so many levels, the gameplay would get repetitious, but it keeps things fresh and paces the game masterfully to make this an enjoyable run all the way through.
Gameplay wise, Rayman certainly hasn’t lost his step. You run, jump, punch and glide through over 120 levels, including 30+ remastered levels from Rayman Origins, and each one is just the right mix of challenge and fun, with huge boss battles, fast-paced platforming, and even some stealthy sections. The controls are simple, but the jumping and gliding can feel a bit floaty, and deceptive. This is something that doesn’t take away from the game, however, and it doesn’t take long to adjust. There are also sections that involve guiding the character Murphy using the touchpad on the Wii U to navigate obstacles and solve puzzles, which really show how the Wii U Gamepad can be used creatively and really adds to the experience over the other versions available. The game can tend to get difficult later on but scales well, and forgiving respawns and checkpoints make for little frustration upon death. The co-operative play on the Wii U version supports five players including the touchpad, while the other platforms offer the traditional four players. However, the lack of online co-op is disappointing, and the Murphy sections are not nearly as elegant or fun on platforms other than the Wii U, using timed button prompts in place of touch controls.
The soundtrack is perfectly suited to the gameplay, with jaunty, light-hearted tunes that complement the action, as well as some fantastic renditions of licensed songs like “Black Betty” set to bonus stages that are by far my favorite stages in the game.
Rayman Legends offers an excellent platforming experience with a huge amount of content. Tons of varied and challenging levels, collectibles, challenge maps, character skins and mini games are packed inside, and definitely add to the replay value. The Wii U version offers some advantages, such as better co-op and the touchpad controls, but that doesn’t detract from the other versions. Rayman Legends is a must-play for families, fans of platforming games, and especially those looking for great Wii U titles, this game is easily the best Wii U title to date, and proves that some things are definitely worth the wait.