Let me tell y’all something, I grew up with platformers like Mario and Crash Bandicoot. Back then the gaming market wasn’t bombarded with annual Rated M cookie cutter military shooters and more time was spent putting creativity into games instead of seeing how pretty you can make a game look. Rayman Legends, in the short time that I’ve played it, should be a wakeup call for other developers that you don’t need motion blur, photo-realism, or massive amounts of violence to sell a game.
I also played a bit of Origins, but now I regret not picking it up because while I was playing Legend’s five stage demo I was blown away by how sharp and colorful the game looks. The platforming is phenomenal, the animation is wonderful, the soundtrack is a delight, and I could go on if I really wanted to.
The demo starts with Rayman and friends taking a little snooze up in a tree, their snoring combined makes a cool little beat and then you got to give them a good slap to wake them up! You get started off in “Teensies in Trouble”, a nice intro level to teach you the ropes of collecting Lums and freeing captured Teensies along the way.
When I talked about the game being colorful and sharp, I meant it! Legends is a 2.5D sidecroller where not only do things happen in the background there are thing happening in the foreground too. Half way into “Teensies in Trouble” I entered a dungeon and moments later I thought a giant enemy spider appeared and was going to gnaw on my bones. I realized shortly that it simply was a close up of the spider. It’s these small touches I appreciate that gives Legends its own life and personality, not like it was lacking any to begin with.
After completing each level you enter the Main Gallery, a hub leading to portraits of levels, character selections and the hangout of Bubble Dreamer, smoking his bubble hookah all while a pleasant tune is being whistled in the background. I’m glad that the character select was available because now I know which character I will play as throughout the game. You have your choices of Rayman, Globox, and then there is Barbara the Barbarian Princess, the most awesome character in the game. She has a Valkyrie helmet with little wing that flap when hovering and a battle-axe to make things a bit more brutal, how can anyone not love that!?
I head on over to “Toad Story” and found it drastically different from the previous level. It is a swamp with a really mellow feel to it; everything was serene and gentle. They introduce a new mechanic where you can float in designated spots where you can see a constant stream of wind from bellow. But things pick up when you have to use what you just learned and apply it to avoid obstacles like thorny vines and swamp creatures trying to grab you. It gives new meaning to “float like a feather, lop off heads like a barbarian princess”.
“Castle Rock” is a finale if there ever was one. In this level you are on the move, trying to reach the end of the level as the platform is being destroyed beneath your feet and enemies attempt to stand in your way. If there are any fans of Lynyrd Skynyrd you guys will get an amazingly hysterical surprise. As you’re trying to escape, Legends does its own rendition of “Black Betty”. You read this right, the enemies sing along to “Black Betty” and on top of that, once you reach the end your character does a guitar solo. For me, Barbara does a guitar solo with a literal axe, her axe! I knew I picked the most awesome character in the game/demo!
I have praised every aspect of the demo and with good reason. From what I took away from it I can tell there is not a single thing that you won’t be looking forward to. Pristine visuals, tight controls, varied and imaginative level design, and the fact that this game is such a breath of fresh air. This is one of the the best platforming games outside of Nintendo’s renowned Italian plumber. This isn’t a review, but it might as well be. Rayman Legends. 10 outta 10. Buy it.