Rayman Legends is the fifth game in the Rayman video game series, and it is a stunner. Vivid and inviting illustration immediately pulls you in, but the mischievous personality and creative puzzles are what make you stick around. Platformers are my favorite, and this game does not disappoint.
Rayman is the limbless main protagonist in this 2D side-scroller, and since the last game, he and his friends have been asleep for 100 years. They are finally awakened by Murfy, who informs them that during this time, The Magician and the Nightmares have gotten stronger, and they’ve kidnapped the Princesses and the Teensies! It is up to Rayman and his trusty crew to save them and destroy the darkness.
Each stage has ten Teensies (700 in total) waiting to be freed from captivity, that can be used to unlock new worlds in the game. They are sprinkled every which way throughout the level, and if you think it’ll be easy to find them all, think again. You may have to go through a level multiple times if you’re a completionist. They are hidden in dark corners, sometimes in treetops or underwater, and sometimes in secret mini stages in each level. And you won’t know you missed one until you find the next one one out of order.
There are also Lums to be collected, which unlock heroes in the heroes gallery. Most are static, but some of the Lums are fast movers, and you must react quickly to catch them all. Not only can you collect Lums during each stage, you are also gifted with Lums from your Creatures daily in your Creatures Gallery. If you catch enough Lums, you are rewarded with Lucky Cards, which can unlock more lums, free Teensies, a Creature, or an Origin level.
The controls are the reason I love this game. Rayman is very bouncy and seemingly weightless as he makes his way through the stages. He can jump, kick, punch, and float in midair, and everything is relatively simple to get used to. The controls are smooth, and when mistakes are made, they are usually related to slow reflexes. But sometimes Rayman’s buddy, Murfy, comes along to help. He will poke some unfriendly monsters, cut ropes for you to swing on, or even activate levers. While this may seem convenient, if you are playing solo it can be a teeny bit of a nuisance. You must take over as Murfy and poke those monsters yourself before continuing on your journey. It fiddles with the pacing but not enough to ruin the fun.
Each stage’s challenge level is represented by a ranking of one to five skulls, five being the hardest. The beginner levels are a good warm-up for the rest of the game, and it’s easy to play for so long that you don’t realize you have progressed onto the harder levels until you catch yourself almost throwing your controller at the television. This is the perfect game to play solo, but is equally as fun with friends, though only locally as there is no online multiplayer. This wouldn’t be too disappointing if there weren’t an awesome mini soccer game called Kung Foot sitting in the gallery, itching to cause chaos.
Though Rayman Legends has a plot, it is easy to miss, and forgettable. And while this may be the kiss of death for some games, it isn’t the case here. The fun factor is in not knowing what comes next. Jumping, kicking, and punching your way through each level again and again trying to find everything you missed, or trying to race against your best time, will have you glued to your controller for hours. Rayman Legends has lots of heart, and offers a wild and wacky ride through a visually intriguing masterpiece. It is a skillfully crafted game, full of life, that will win over both casual and hardcore gamers alike.