Gaming mascots have always been a staple of gaming. Nintendo has always had Mario and Luigi, SEGA will always have Sonic the Hedgehog, and I guess to some extent, you could also call Master Chief of Halo fame the mascot for Microsoft. Most companies have at least one character that’s associated with them, and Ubisoft is no different. One of their longest running characters is that of Rayman, who first appeared around 1995 during the 16-bit era. He’s always kind of been hanging around with numerous games over the years on various platforms and even spawned the Raving Rabbids series of games.
Personally, I never really got into the Rayman games. I’m not really sure why, but I just never played any of them. However now as an adult with kids of my own, I’ve been searching for kid friendly games on my PlayStation 4 and Rayman Legends just happened to have come out for it recently. A quick look at the launch trailer revealed a game that actually looked really good and very fun, so I contacted Ubisoft and they were kind enough to send me a copy of the game to review.
Rayman Legends is the sequel to Rayman Origins. In this chapter of the game, Rayman, Globox, and the Teensies have been asleep for 100 years thanks to a magic spell. During that time, Bubble Dreamer’s nightmares have been growing in both strength and numbers and have taken over most of the land. They’ve kidnapped many of the Teensies in the kingdom as well as the princesses and it’s up to Rayman and his friends to save them all and rid the land of nightmares.
That’s about the gist of what’s going on in the game. Like most platformers, it keeps the story simple so that we can concentrate on the gameplay, and what excellent gameplay it is. That’s not to say that the story isn’t good, because it is.
Here is where Rayman Legends really shines. I grew up playing platformers and of course some of the best came from the 8 and 16-bit eras. Mario usually ruled them all, but Sonic was always a close second, and you had other games that were also quite good like Ghosts ‘n Goblins, Metroid, Kid Icarus, Castlevania, and Mega-Man just to name a few. I grew up on platforming games so I’d like to say that I thought I’d played every kind of platformer you could possibly make. Even later Mario games on newer platformers failed to really impress me and though those games were solid, they just felt like games I had already played before.
That’s not the case with Rayman Legends. I can’t tell you how many times I literally stopped and said to myself, wow, that was really impressive or how I had not seen something like this done before in other games. Right from the get-go, it seemed like each new level brought something new to the table. It wasn’t like your typical platformer where much of what you do is just run and jump. Rayman Legends has you doing both that, as well as swinging, swimming, zip lining, punching, kicking, pulling, pushing, and the list goes on and on and on. This game is packed with all sorts of platforming tricks that it seemed like it has every move from every platformer ever created included in the game. The game gradually teaches you how to do them all but luckily, you only need certain skill for certain levels as to not be overwhelmed.
There are even some levels that require the use of an AI assisted character that you control to aid you on your quest. It’s one of the more unique elements of the game as Murfy, (the AI) can do things Rayman can’t and do things like manipulate platforms and distract enemies so Rayman can pass. It adds an extra layer to the gameplay that really stands out.
The PS4 version of Rayman Legneds even includes a few extras that aren’t found on others. This is mainly because Ubisoft added some support for the Dualshock 4’s touchpad. Mainly, you’ll be able to use the touchpad to physically scratch off lucky tickets which you earn throughout the game as well as using it to take screenshots. The screenshot function is neat because you can zoom in and out using the touchpad as well as pan the camera where you want. These are just fun extras that were added.
I will say though that Rayman Legends is by far, one of my most favorite platforming games in the past 2 or 3 generations of consoles. I dare say that I’ve enjoyed playing this more than I have any Mario or Sonic game in recent memory, and that’s saying a lot as these types of games are usually compared to Mario. What I really love is the variety the game offers. There are some levels that require time and thought while others require speed and quick reflexes. Some levels play like standard platformers while others play like puzzle games. It’s the variety that really stands out and it keeps the game interesting throughout the entire adventure. Simply put, it is a game that you have to experience on your own because there are just so many surprising things about it that talking about it here would just spoil the experience a bit and trust me, you want to go into this game with a fresh pair of eyes.
Overall, the game plays fantastically. There are levels included for both novices and pros alike that will challenge even seasoned veterans. This game also isn’t a speed run type of game either. You’ll want to thoroughly explore the whole game and make sure you save every Teensie and princess as well as gather as many lums as you can. I’m an OCD gamer so I will play each level over and over again until I do every possible thing that can be done. This of course means that most games take me a bit longer to complete because I want to make sure I’ve done every possible thing I could do in the game.
With Rayman Legends, there is so much to unlock and do that it amazes me that there’s even more to the game than just the main story. The game even includes daily and weekly challenges for those who have completed the single player mode. In essence, it means that this game is never ending. It’s a game you can enjoy long after you you’ve beaten everything.
Graphics and Sound
If there’s another area where Rayman Legends excels, it’s in the graphics and sound department. Rayman Legends is a gorgeous game on the PS4. The artwork is simple amazing and on a giant HD screen running at 1080p, it looks even better. This is one of those games where you actually stop on every level and just marvel at how good everything looks. The background are especially gorgeous and unlike most platform games, the background here are alive with movement and life. There really isn’t one element of the game that isn’t constantly moving. What’s neat is that there is a very distinct foreground, middle ground, and background adding real depth that you don’t normally see in platformers. You can even move between these “layers” on certain levels which is reminiscent of Paper Mario. It’s really a sight to see and in my opinion, one of the best looking platformers out there. I honestly didn’t think I would be as amazed as I was with how great this game looked as I played.
What accompanies the stellar graphics is an even more amazing soundtrack and audio effects. It’s hard to describe just how fantastic the soundtrack is until you play a level like Castle Rock or any of the other end world levels. These are sections of the game that I played over and over again just to listen to the music. They are fantastically done and again, I won’t spoil it with any video or detail as they NEED to be experienced.
As great as both of these elements are separate, it’s the combination of both the graphics and audio that makes Rayman Legends a must play experience. It’s an audio and graphical treat that only gets better and better the more you play.
I’m not sure what else I can say about this game that I didn’t already say but basically, Rayman Legends is awesome. If you’re looking for a platformer to play on the PS4, Rayman Legends is the very definition of a great platformer. It has everything purists love about platforming games but introduces such new, fresh ideas that will even surprise you. It’s been such a long time since I’ve played a really good game of this type and not even Super Mario entertained me as much as Rayman Legends has. I can honestly say that I had a grin on my face the entire time while I played this game and an even bigger grin as time went on.
Unlike most platform games, you can usually beat them in a few days, but not so with Rayman Legends. There is just so much to do that you’ll be enjoying this game for weeks. I’ve been playing it about 2 weeks straight and I haven’t even come close to collecting everything I can in the game. The game luckily is so enjoyable that you’ll want to do everything in the game and not just speed through the story call it a day. There’s just something about the experience Rayman Legends offers that makes you want to come back for more and because of that, I can say that it’s one of my favorite games on the PS4 right now and it’s probably one of my favorite platformers of all time.
My recommendation, if you don’t already own this on another console, get it for the PS4. You won’t be disappointed. You will enjoy every second of it and so will your kids. Guaranteed.
[…] lots of people out there who enjoy the Rayman games, myself included after playing the fantastic Rayman Legends. We know Rayman kicks butt on consoles, but how good are Rayman games on mobile? Rayman Fiesta Run […]