Hit platformer arrives on Nintendo Switch
Rayman Legends, one of the greatest platforming games to release in the last five years, has come to Nintendo Switch. Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition is the ultimate version and packs the full game experience plus a few extras. These include 4-player wireless multiplayer, touch screen controls, all-new Kung Foot Tournaments, and more. Let’s see what this game is all about!
A celebration of all-things Rayman
If there’s one thing Rayman Legends make abundantly clear, it’s that this is a game designed for pure fun. Everything about it, from its whimsical cast, to its vibrant palette, to its jubilant soundtrack, oozes with delight and merriment. Not since Super Mario World has a sidescrolling platforming game entertained as much as Rayman Legends. No doubt about it, this is one of the best of its genre.
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Rayman Legends, in perspective
Since the original Rayman 2D sidescrolling platform game released in 1995, the franchise has undergone a few metamorphoses. In the late 90’s Rayman made the leap to 3D (like many characters) in Rayman 2 and Rayman 3. Later, the franchise transitioned into the party game genre, with the Rayman Raving Rabbids spin-off series.
However, as we’ve seen with the popularity of retro remakes and SNES Classic Edition, nostalgia is a powerful force. Thus in 2011, Rayman‘s creator, Michel Ancel, brought the series back to its 2D platforming roots with Rayman Origins. Rayman Legends is a follow-up to Origins, using the same game engine, albeit with many graphical improvements. It also retains many of the gameplay features, such as the frantic 4-player co-op action, from its predecessor.
Wake up, Rayman!
Like many platformers, the intro of Rayman Legends is short and succinct to get us straight into the action. In it, Rayman’s smiley greenbottle fly friend Murphy is prompted to wake our limbless hero from his 100-year nap. That’s because the Magician, who was the antagonist in Rayman Origins, is back, having multiplied himself five times over. These five evil incarnations (known as Dark Teensies) then begin spreading vile nightmares and terrifying monsters across Rayman’s homeworld. This set-up takes only a few minutes, and neatly transition straight into gameplay, thrusting you quickly into action.
One of the first things you’ll notice is how absolutely stunning the high-definition 2D artwork is in Rayman Legends. The game uses an upgraded version Ubisoft’s proprietary UbiArt Engine featuring numerous enhancements to power the game. This includes a new dynamic lighting system that adjusts the tint of characters’ silhouettes depending on the level of light. As well, the inclusion of 3D elements in the foreground and background add an extra layer of depth to each setting. The end result is a gorgeous game with stunning animations and of the best lighting effects I’ve ever seen.
There are over 120 levels in total, each one presented in art galleries with individual levels represented by a painting. As you play, you’ll be amazed at the sheer variety of locations to visit. They consist of desert landscapes, deep forests, floating castles, murky swamps, vast caverns, and levels filled with gigantic fruit. The visuals have such meticulous detail you’ll want to replay levels just to soak in all their finer touches. Even the loading screen, normally the most boring aspect of any game, is a playable shadow world where you race to capture an extra heart.
The generous number of levels come in many forms, with the bulk grouped into five worlds with 7-8 levels each. Many of these levels later get “invaded” remixed time-challenge versions, too. There are also “rescue” levels where you can free one of ten captured barbarian princesses. After you’ve rescued a bunch of Teensies, the Living Dead Party world unlocks containing little creatures that must be saved.
As if that weren’t enough, 40 remastered levels from Rayman Origins can be unlocked by scratching Lucky Tickets. These tickets are awarded after beating levels and feature modified layouts, new enemies, and new Teensies to find. Furthermore, Rayman Legends also has an online Challenges mode featuring daily and weekly challenges to complete. Simply put, there’s a staggering amount of content included in this robust game.
Huge gameplay variety
Not only are levels visually impressive they constantly mix-up the gameplay and present you with new enemies and challenges. Some of the level types you’ll find in the game include:
- Sidescrolling levels that can be explored at a leisurely pace
- High-speed levels that must be navigated while running the whole way
- Underwater areas
- Levels that include large stretches of bouncing skull brains
- Multi-level areas where you’re flung into the background
- Reverse and upside levels
- Levels with odd filter effects
- Acrobatic zipline levels
- … and many more
Even with all these content there’s absolutely no fluff in this game whatsoever. Every level feels as though it has been specifically crafted for a particular experience. Just when you think you’ve seen everything the game could possibly muster up, the next level offers something completely fresh.
One other level types deserves special mention: the music worlds. These one are set to cover versions of popular classic songs such as “Black Betty” and “Eye of the Tiger”. During these levels, every jump, punch, item grabs and zipline slide flows to the beat of the music. As well, enemies will even assist by popping out on cue to lend a beat. For these levels, simply beating it isn’t enough. I enjoyed replaying until I could play through the whole song, hitting all notes correctly without dying. Speaking of music, the other tunes are upbeat and whimsical, as if straight out of a Saturday morning cartoon.
Nintendo Switch extra features
With this being the “Definitive Edition” of Rayman Legends naturally there must be new features, right? There is, but just don’t expect a whole lot new. This version features wireless local multiplayer for up to 4-players, and all previous console-exclusive characters are included. The multiplayer soccer game Kung Foot also gets a brand new tournament mode with local Wireless support.
Aside from that the other big advantage is simply the game’s versatility on Nintendo Switch. At any time you can undock your Switch and take Rayman Legends on-the-go with your anywhere. The game also makes use of Switch’s gyroscope and touchscreen functionality, which is used during certain levels. Overall it’s a modest amount of new features on an otherwise already stuffed-full gaming experience.
Summing up Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition is as simple as two words: pure fun. So much detail has gone in to every facet of this game, and there are no superfluous elements whatsoever. The 100-plus levels contain a surprising amount of creativity, and each one feels unique—an incredible feat. People often refer to the Super Mario Bros. series as the pinnacle of the platforming genre, yet this game is arguably up there with Miyamoto’s masterpieces. If you at all love platforming games, Rayman Legends is a can’t-miss game.
+ Gorgeous artwork
+ Massive amount of levels
+ Superb platform gameplay
+ Tons of replay value
– Graphics not as good as the PS4/Xbox One version
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 5/5