Do you remember what falling in love feels like?
It usually involves a lot of sleepless nights (in thought of the person in question, you perverts), glances exchanged across the room, and a ton of flirting masquerading as witty banter. All backed by the sheer thrill of the chase that’s as exhilarating as injecting caffeine directly into your bloodstream. Fast forward to years ahead and you two are squabbling over who gets custody of the family corgis whilst filing for divorce.
Cynicism aside, this has a lot to do with Rayman Legends. Playing the game is a lot like falling in love. Well, minus the retarded, ugly crap that happens later.
As with most titles in the series, you’ll be running and jumping around a slew of environments that have more colour in a single frame than most games that have come out this year. The art direction is astounding and that’s just when the game is static. In motion, it looks near perfect. In an age where virtual reality and complex 3D tech are all the rage, it’s amazing how a well-done 2D game manages to hold its own and much more.
Thanks to the godlike production values and slick animations, you never feel too bad at giving the game another go when you die.
If the looks don’t have you ensnared, the gameplay definitely will. Sure there’s a modicum of story. Trace amounts though; just enough to serve as an excuse to run rampant across consistently brilliant designed levels. Long tale short: a bunch of important blue guys have been captured. Save them.
Along the way, you’ll traverse left, right, up and down across forests, castles, dungeons, deserts with instant death quicksand, and many, many more. The sheer variety in the stages is immense. And that’s not counting the musical levels which play out as endless runners. It’s here that you realise that the music in Legends is well thought out and a lot of fun. Outside these levels, the music plays second fiddle to the insane action that the game delivers thanks to the pace of play. Unlike Limbo or Braid, which are deliberate and even cerebral affairs, Legends is all about reflexes and reaction to stimulus. In a word, the pacing is frantic and it never drops a beat. One moment you’re dodging ghosts, another you’re rescuing forest folk while tickling a giant. There’s a lot to do and it’s extremely enjoyable. Even when you die. Thanks to the godlike production values and slick animations, you never feel too bad at giving the game another go when you die. In fact, the game never does end up being unintentionally difficult to play. The sole cause of seeing the game over screen or having to retry a segment is your fault and yours alone.
No matter what your platform of choice, you’re treated to responsive controls and precise handling.
Throw in a better, more lenient checkpoint system and you’ll never find yourself more than a few moments from where you were prior to death. Having said that, it’s a lot fairer compared to Rayman Origins, which tended to border on controller smashing towards the end. Speaking of controllers, the game handles quite well regardless of your gaming machine of choice. The Wii U and Vita-exclusive touchscreen functionality is responsive. It has you controlling a fairy, Murfy, for a few segments, tickling enemies and raising and lowering platforms. These parts are as responsive and fun as the main platforming sections even if marred by a few instances thanks to the AI. You’ll be clearing a path for a CPU-controlled character who gets stuck or jumps to his demise at times.
While the PS3 and Xbox 360 allocate a button to control Murfy, there’s nothing else to keep you from doing what you need to do, namely prance around in absolutely ridiculous fashion that would make the stiffest of upper lips crack a smile. No matter what your platform of choice, you’re treated to responsive controls and precise handling. The only thing you’re limited by is your preference of controller.
Personally, the master race edition (Wii U, not PC) is my favourite way to play, but the PS3 version (also tested) runs just fine. For those of you on the go, though the Vita version misses out a few levels and the Invasion mode that lets you traverse through already completed, remixed, time run stages, it’s not entirely a deal breaker. Yes, the Invasion mode is fun regardless of screen size, but is more of a supplementary feature to a rather voluminous game that has more content than most.
Rayman Legends has a lot going for it. So much so that you’ll be finding yourself coming back ever so often. It might not be the most tech-packed game nor does it boast a slew of features, but it has heart and an attitude, with gameplay chops that will keep you coming back. When you do, it feels just as good as it did the first time. You know, much like love minus all the ugly stuff.