Video Game Reviews: Rayman Legends


Javier Domínguez Ferreiro via Flickr cc

Chris Geikler, Staff Writer

It seems as though most video games have been dancing to the same tune for quite a while now; a song of gritty, brown realism and space marines that grumble their lines like their throats have evolved into one massive cigarette. I’d forgotten that you don’t actually HAVE to play a game through a first person perspective. Thank the heavens for games like Rayman Legends showing that not only can games still be lively and colorful, but they don’t have to be an indie title to do it.

Rayman’s run in the games industry followed the usual pattern of anything good. He produced a handful of good games, brimming with success before fading into obscurity around the time Rayman Raving Rabbids hit the scene.

Eventually the Rabbids games went from sequel to full on spin-off, and Rayman was dropped from the billing. It wasn’t exactly pleasant to watch, but it certainly isn’t the hardest we’ve seen a childhood icon fall (*cough* *cough* Sonic the Hedgehog *cough*).

At the very least, Rayman was gently eased out of our minds with time, but lo and behold the prodigal son returned with Rayman Origins, and it was brilliant. Origins resurrected the long lost art of the 2D-platformer of which the series was known for.

Now, Rayman Legends follows up with the same runny, jumpy goodness we know and love.


Most of my peers will be surprised to hear this, but there existed a time when video games were made without the use of an extra third demension, and developers DIDN’T care about whether or not the player could see the perfectly rendered hairs on a gnat’s leg.

Rayman Legends makes use of a 2D cartoony art style. This not only makes for some appealing imagery, but also is easy on the load times and on the overall performance. It’s about time someone figured that out!

The shear creativity of all the imagery actually adds to the experience by making you want to see more of it, and because it’s so simple, in comparison to bigger budget games, it let’s you get through the game without any futtzing about with long load times.


Story’s never really been a strong point of the Rayman series. Gameplay and storyline regard each other the same way the Royals regarded the Peasants in the French revolution. They just don’t get along. The method for telling the storyline fallows a similar method in each of the Rayman games.

Usually something is briefly set up in the beginning, involving a bunch of kidnapped little people called Teensies and Rayman has to embark on a journey to save them because… uh… actually that’s a good point. Why is Rayman obligated to save everyone in the world time-and-time again? I guess he’s just not doing anything at the time, so why not? Actually the whole series takes that sort of attitude… “why not?”.

I guess that’s what I’ve always liked about these games. If an idea is fun, it doesn’t let things like logic, or realism get in the way of it. It just plonks you down in the middle of giant kitchen run by sentient lobster-men, puts a couple of obstacles in between you and the exit, and says, “Go nuts”.


Many of the Nintendo fans will have already drawn similarities to the New Super Mario Brothers Wii, and New Super Mario Brothers WiiU games, it too being a one-to-four player, 2D, platforming, side-scroller, but hold your horses there, Jack, because Rayman Legends brings a lot more to the table than it makes out.

For starters, it ditches that stupid “lives” system, which has been left over from a time when video games were meant to drain a child’s pocket money faster than you can say, *cha-ching*.

Another minor improvement made major was the ability to clip through your teammates. This makes your teammates more like actual teammates, and less like annoying obstacles.

I feel somewhat old and curmudgeonly when I say I’m surprised to see genuinely creative level design. Each one brings with it some new element of gameplay, but by far the coolest levels would be the music stages.

These parts involve you running non-stop through a stage with every obstacle and jump corresponding to the games rendition of a famous piece of music. I was on the edge of my seat when I was running though a collapsing castle, busting through bits of flying debris, punching a dragon in the face, leaping over pits of flame, all to the beat of “Black Betty,” by Ram Jam.

Honestly, I had more fun playing a single level of Rayman Legends than I would the entirety of the Call of Duty series.

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