Rayman Legends review

by Stephen Heller Featured

16 Comments 28 Votes 26811 Views 05/09/2013 Back to Reviews

Rayman emerges as king of the platformers.

I'm a platformer junkie. My first gaming experience was Super Mario Bros. and Super Meat Boy has earned a place in my top 10 favourite games of all time. When it comes to running, jumping and collecting stuff, I know what I like.

And boy do I like Rayman Legends.

Rayman Legends is constantly throwing new ideas at you, keeping you guessing over the 12 or so hours of gameplay on hand. Just when I thought I found my favourite stage, the game takes a surprising twist and I fall in love again. You want a super fast, death is chasing you level? How about a Splinter Cell inspired stealth mission? A rhythm jumping game that plays our a magical mariachi version of Eye of the Tiger? Each and every level of Rayman Legends feels fresh and exciting, and the developers stay away from recycling the same gameplay too often.

For the first time in his long history, Rayman is better than Mario.

Some of the most memorable sections of the game are the boss fights, each one creating a memorable and sometime hilarious fight. Despite fitting into the "hit the boss three times and you win" category, when you finally take down a gigantic luchador in a three round fight, you feel like you have accomplished something. These aren't boss fights for the sake of it. These are full of charm and wonder.

Good news for Wii U and PS Vita owners, Rayman Legends is best played on your platforms. Several stages actually hand over the platforming controls to Murph, Rayman's trusty sidekick and the AI takes over. You then use the touchscreen to clear a path, move platforms, cut ropes and even tickle gigantic monsters until they burst with laughter so your hero can take them out. These sections of the game are an absolute blast, and it's nice to see the developers make use of the technology. For those playing on other platforms, all you get are some button prompts. Keep in mind, this game did start out as a Wii U exclusive.

These sections become insanely fun when playing with friends. Instead of your AI companion you will be trolling helping your friends navigate some of the most exciting stages in the game. Rayman Legends is wholeheartedly a coop game, and while the action can become a little chaotic (especially with 5 players on the Wii U version), it manages to feel less frustrating than New Super Mario Bros.

When you finish the campaign the game isn't over. Ubisoft are throwing daily and weekly challenges into the mix, allowing you to hone your skills, challenge your friends, and see where you rank in your country or the world. I've already lost hours of my life to these addictive tests of skill, and I expect it will hold my attention for sometime to come.

If that isn't enough to win you over, the developers have included a huge chunk of levels from Rayman Origins as unlocks during the campaign, so you are effectively getting two games for the price of one.

While the gameplay is absolutely sublime, the art style and audio design are among the best of the generation. The silky smooth animation and hand-drawn aesthetic flows perfect, creating a fast moving and gorgeous game. The soundtrack is utterly amazing, especially on the rhythm levels.

Now let's discuss the one and only issue I have with Rayman Legends. Each stage has a series of Teensies, alien beings, that you are trying to rescue. Legends does the same thing every platformer has done since Super Mario 64, and hates you from certain stages until you have collected enough Teensies to progress. My initial plan was to rush through the stages for this review, and come back for a second playthrough and find everything I missed. Unfortunately I found myself going back time and time again to replay levels to find Teensies and progress through the campaign. I know I'm nitpicking here, but I wish the game would just let you play through at your own pace.

The Final verdict

For the first time in his long history, Rayman is better than Mario. Rayman Legends is constantly trying new ideas, and more importantly, pulling then off with poise. Not only is this one of the best looking games around, it is perhaps the best platformer I've played since Super Mario Galaxy. Every man, woman, child and dog should get their hands on this game as soon as possible, and experience one of the most satisfying games of this generation.

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Rayman Legends review Comments

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Better than Mario [MOG]

@Gryllis said: Better than Mario


[MOG]
Honestly blew me away with how amazing it is. If there is one game everyone should get behind, it is most certainly this one!
It is by far my favourite platformer. I have loved every moment of playing this game. I found myself humming the rhythm levels lying in bed at 1:30 in the morning and having to turn on my console just to play it. Sadly I know this game will go under everyone's radar with games like GTA and next gen coming out. Also an online component wouldn't have hurt either, I know from Origins that was one of the major let downs it had faced

But I'm with Heller, even if you do not even remotely like platformers, you will find yourself smiling and chuckling at its subtle humour. It is a true gem
great review, in fact too good, now you have made go and get it, it does look sweet as well
Origins was amazing, so I can't wait to get my hands of this one.

Great stuff Heller!

Heller said: Honestly blew me away with how amazing it is. If there is one game everyone should get behind, it is most certainly this one!


now finally someone with balls to say a platform game better than Mario, now by better, do you mean the latest piles of poo, or do you mean the great and best Mario 64 :)
What about Guacamelee [Shifty]

@gammaray13 said:

Heller said: Honestly blew me away with how amazing it is. If there is one game everyone should get behind, it is most certainly this one!


now finally someone with balls to say a platform game better than Mario, now by better, do you mean the latest piles of poo, or do you mean the great and best Mario 64


I'd assume he means 2D Mario seeing it's actually comparable, in which case I agree, Origins was better than 2D Mario (yet to play Legends, though I'm expecting it to be a little worse than Origins when I do).
No way is Rayman better than Super Mario Bros 1, 3 and World. Period. Maybe better than the NSMB series.

I'm told Legends has to be played on the Wii U and that you can really see this was a Wii U title, just a shame it didn't stay exclusive.

My issues with Rayman is that it is too french in design. Plus the characters and enemies all lack that something special that pulls you into a Mario game. I hated Origins, it put me to sleep so i'm hesitant to buy this.
Praise Ubisoft [Derp]

@Mr XboxOne said:My issues with Rayman is that it is too french in design.



You are a racist
Of course this is better than Mario. Key Difference between them is Challenge.
I'm comparing to NSMB series as that is the most recent series that aligns with this generation of Rayman games.

Of course Super Mario Bros. 1, 3 and World are better. They are better than most games. They were also developed twenty-something years ago and are ingrained in gaming culture. That would be like comparing a new piece of art to something Leonardo created centuries ago!

Legends shows true innovation for this series of Rayman, and at this stage, is beating everything Mario has thrown at us since Galaxy.
I must try this :P
I'm actually picking this game up soon after i finish Origins on the Vita. :D

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