Released for the Nintendo Wii U last September, Rayman Legends for Xbox One is a 2D platformer that places the player in the role of Rayman, a charismatic, limbless hero on a mission to save the Dream Glades from a spell that has kept its inhabitants in a deep slumber for well over a century. Rayman is joined by a host of heroes to help aid him in his quest. Fan favorites such as Globox and the Teensies have returned as playable characters, but Barbara, Sir Rayelot and Sir Globrax have joined the cast as well, to name just a few.
Like its Wii U counterpart, the Xbox One version of Rayman Legends includes a staggering one-hundred and twenty levels to explore (including forty remastered levels from the original Rayman Origins). The main levels are represented by wooden billboards that are guarded by a long-bearded, semi-conscious creature called the The Bubble Dreamer. When approached, the Bubble Dreamer offers you advice on collecting Lums and dealing with the various obstacles that you will encounter during the game. Each Billboard contains the name of the level and how many Lums that need to be collected. Selecting a level is as simple as jumping into a billboard.
The gameplay involves traversing large levels while jumping onto platforms, sliding down chains and attacking enemies as you rescue helpless teensies from their birdcage prisons. Obstacles such as chasms and large, spiky vines make navigating the levels difficult, as you frantically bounce off elastic mushrooms to collect Lums and Gold coins. Some levels have backgrounds that can be explored (i.e. think Mutant Mudds for Nintendo 3DS) and contain puzzles crucial to completing the level.
New worlds unlock based on the amount of Teensies saved. It’s not required to collect every Teensie from one world to unlock another (you can collect Teensies during the course of multiple levels), but a specific amount is needed to meet the requirements for each one. For example: Each world typically contains a minimum of 8 sub-levels, including a boss encounter and ‘legendary’ hero to free. You don’t have to collect all 72 Teensies from world ‘Teensies Trouble’ to unlock the next world, Toad Story. The Teensie requirement becomes more demanding as you progress through the game, as the level ‘Living Dead Party’ requires a total of 400 Teensies to unlock, among others.
The levels involving Murphy have undergone some changes in the Xbox One version. After reviewing the Nintendo Wii U version in September, I had grown accustom to using my finger on the Gamepad’s touchscreen to manipulate platforms and swipe away any debris that stood in my way. While no fault of the Xbox One, the standard joypad feels a bit cramped as you press the B button to have Murphy move a platform or tickle a monster. This is all done while holding Right Trigger to run, pressing A button to jump, and X button to attack.
Additionally, Murphy’s movements have been limited to rhythmic patterns (especially during levels like, ‘What the Duck?’) where you must time your button presses to have Murphy eat through cake walls or move objects. This was the first time during a multi-platform game review that Nintendo’s Wii U Gamepad made perfect sense. Nintendo has finally made their point about its over sized tablet controller. A game like Rayman Legends benefits from touchscreen technology; it feels more natural. In retrospect, Rayman Legends for Xbox One could have benefited from Kinect capabilities, at least during the levels involving Murphy. In fact, a second player could have controlled Murphy via Kinect during a special 2-player mode.
The Xbox One version of Rayman Legends includes all the same features as the Wii U version. These range from rhythm-based rock ‘n roll levels to daily and weekly leader board challenges, to name just a few. There is also a local multiplayer soccer game called Kung Foot. Supporting up to four players, the object is to kick a soccer ball into the opposing team’s wooden goal post. As a standalone game, it is quite addictive and a lot of fun to play with friends.
While the debate continues over the Xbox One’s capability of only displaying graphics in 720P, Rayman Legends is proof positive that Microsoft’s next-gen machine is capable of producing incredible HD graphics. Levels come alive as tree branches uncurl as your cross them; mushrooms make ‘farting’ noises when stomped on; and vines retract into the mouths of hungry plants with sharp teeth. And this is all complimented by high-quality 2D sprites that look every bit as good as the Wii U version. In fact, there is very little difference between the two versions graphically.
Ubisoft’s quirky mascot continues to charm gamers with his outrageous antics and one of a kind personality. The gameplay is by far the best in the series, and the additional features only increase the game’s replay value. Rayman Origins was a great game, but it can’t compete with Rayman Legends – it’s the single best platform game released so far this year.
Platform: Xbox One (Also available on XBL)
ESRB: E 10+ (Everyone 10+)
|Rayman Legends' graphics look incredible in 720p.|
|Twangy, cartoon-ish soundtracks and memorable character voices lend to Rayman Legend's appeal.|
|Classic 2D platforming and fun mini games.|
|Rayman Legends is the single best platformer for any system, bar none.|