[Rayman Adventures]Review – Rayman Legends delivers diverse, addictive, infuriating fun

2021-07-21 21:04:34


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  Post Arcade FP Tech Desk

  It may make you break your GamePad, but Ubisoft’s colourful adventure is one of the best plumber-free platformers you’ll find

  Author of the article: Chad Sapieha Publishing date: Aug 28, 2013 ? August 28, 2013 ? 6 minute read ?

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  [np_storybar title=”Rayman Legends” link=””]


  Platform:?Wii U (reviewed), PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita, Windows PC

  Developer:?Ubisoft Montpellier


  Release:?September 4, 2013



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  If it weren’t for Rayman Legends I’d still be wondering just how durable the Wii U GamePad really is.

  Ubisoft Entertainment SA’s long-in-the-making side-scrolling platformer for one to five players provided several opportunities for me to see what sort of a licking Nintendo Co. Ltd.’s fancy controller can take.

  (Warning: Shameful admissions of game rage follow.)

  I threw the GamePad up in the air in frustration after my bazillionth failed attempt to safely float to the bottom of a deep, spiky vine-covered chasm while collecting glowing lums, then accidentally missed catching the dangerously spinning device when it came crashing down onto my hardwood floor.

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  Not a scratch.

  A couple of hours later, after repeated unsuccessful attempts to make a fairy named Murfy spin a deadly maze around in the proper fashion so as to allow a second, autonomous hero to pass safely through, I actually punched the touch screen. It was a light punch, but it surprised even me. I didn’t know I was capable of such game inspired violence until the deed was done.

  The screen flashed bright white for a second, then the image popped back and the hardware kept chugging along like nothing happened.

  Realizing I was pushing my luck, I opted to quit out of another vexing Murfy level before my blood pressure reached its boiling point.

  There’s no question Rayman Legends made me cross-eyed with frustration and at times wildly, shamefully mad.

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  There are many levels where one mistake means death. Where danger creeps relentlessly closer and eventually grabs you despite your best efforts to escape it. Where you’ll miss the one collectible you’re after and need to replay again. And again. And again.

  But there were also times – and far more of them – in which I was experiencing some of the most delightful and imaginative platforming action that I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying in years.

  I just couldn’t stop playing, regardless of the frustrations I encountered.

  This is the mark of a great platformer.

  <img alt="Ubisoft" class="embedded-image__image lazyload" data-src="http://financialpost.cloudapp.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/rayman-legend-3.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=288" data-srcset="http://financialpost.cloudapp.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/rayman-legend-3.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=288,

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  If there’s a discernable plot within the game it eluded me.

  All I know is that your goal is to collect some 700 Teensies – wee blue creatures with giant schnozzolas. They’re trapped and scattered within scores of paintings in a tent-like gallery. Each painting is a portal to a new level or group of new levels, and the game’s wacky genius lies within the diversity of these levels.

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  For the first hour or two it feels a little like chaos as you hop around from one seemingly disparate level to the next getting your bearings. But it’s still fun.

  You might be rushing away from a wall of fire, each jump, slide, and bounce somehow perfectly timed to a dynamic soundtrack that changes and swells as you proceed, eventually turning into a triumphant symphony.

  A moment later you may be in a completely different level, hopping around between walls like a ninja and hanging on a breeze as you try to collect floating balls as quickly as possible before time runs out.

  Next you might be fighting a bulbous flying dragon that zooms into and out of the background, breathing guided rocks from its gaping maw.

  Then you might take up one of the daily or weekly challenges (gradually unlocked as your level of “awesomeness” grows), competing against other random players in an attempt to survive longer or collect more of this or that collectible.

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  As perhaps is to be expected in a game of such miscellany, levels occasionally feel a bit unbalanced.

  I’d get stuck on one rated with a difficulty of two skulls for half an hour and come away with only a couple of Teensies for my effort (likely, as noted above, blowing a gasket in the process).

  Then I’d power through a four skulls level on my first try, finding all ten captive Teensies while earning a bronze, silver, and gold cups along the way.

  But Rayman Legends never loose points for repetition.

  <img alt="Ubisoft" class="embedded-image__image lazyload" data-src="http://financialpost.cloudapp.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/rayman-legends-4.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=288" data-srcset="http://financialpost.cloudapp.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/rayman-legends-4.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=288,

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  That you generally have no idea what lies in store next is a big part of the fun.

  Ditto for the fact that you can jump around galleries and paintings as you like. For much of the game there are literally dozens of newly opened levels from which you can choose to play. It’s not an open world, but the sense of freedom is strikingly similar.

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  And there can be no denying this cartoonish world is treat for the eyes.

  This may be an old-fashioned two-dimensional side-scroller, but each themed world – jungles, skies, caves, castles, marshes, dreams – is highly detailed, lushly coloured, and deeply layered. You can even occasionally catapult from a centre layer to the one behind. It’s a briefly dizzying but always cool effect.

  And underneath it all is a sense of progression that’s almost palpable.

  The glowing Lums you collect and the Teensies you save and the reward-bearing scratch tickets you earn at a pace of nearly one per level all lead to more paintings, more levels, more playable heroes.

  Every time I thought I was done for the evening I’d notice I unlocked something else and be lured back for just one more go.

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  <img alt="Ubisoft" class="embedded-image__image lazyload" data-src="http://financialpost.cloudapp.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/rayman-legends-2.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=288" data-srcset="http://financialpost.cloudapp.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/rayman-legends-2.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=288,

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  Those who have followed Rayman: Legends since its announcement last year know that it was originally planned as a Wii U exclusive, but that somewhere along the way Ubisoft Montpellier decided to hold back the Nintendo release and make it a multiplatform adventure for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, and PC.

  Still, it looks like the Wii U edition remains best of the bunch.

  Notifications of newly unlocked areas pop up on the GamePad rather than getting relegated to a separate screen, making it simpler to find and jump to fresh adventures. Just tap and you’ll be taken straight there.

  Plus, you get to satisfyingly rub the screen to reveal rewards on the scratch tickets you earn rather than lamely pushing a thumbstick side to side.

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  And levels with Murfy – the fairy fellow I mentioned earlier that interacts with environmental elements – play completely differently. You move him around by tapping on the screen to cut ropes to drop obstacles and tickle monsters, leaving the main character to move through the environment automatically.

  It can be more frustrating than simply controlling the main character and tapping a button to make Murfy do his thing automatically (which is the way these levels work in versions of the game for other platforms), but it also makes for a nice change of pace. Plus, if you’ve purchased a Wii U chances are you’ll be amenable to trying some non-traditional touch-screen controls.

  However, perhaps the most useful Wii U feature (at least for a family guy like me) is that it as a GamePad-only mode. Should your better half, roommate, brother, sister, mom, or dad wrest control of the TV from you the game will keep running on your controller’s screen.

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  Would that more developers included a similar mode in their games.

  <img alt="Ubisoft" class="embedded-image__image lazyload" data-src="http://financialpost.cloudapp.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/rayman-legends-1.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=288" data-srcset="http://financialpost.cloudapp.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/rayman-legends-1.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=288,

  http://financialpost.cloudapp.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/rayman-legends-1.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=576 2x” height=”328″ loading=”lazy” src=”http://financialpost.cloudapp.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/rayman-legends-1.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=288″ width=”620″/> Ubisoft

  I won’t lie: There were moments when I felt like Rayman: Legends was really getting all up in my grill, making me angry in a way few games do.

  And I think a few tweaks to level design and perhaps some control adjustments – it’s too easy to accidentally initiate a downward attack while floating, which can send you into all sorts of unexpected danger – could have gone a long way toward smoothing some of these issues out.

  But frustration isn’t uncommon in the world of platformers, a genre which, at the end of the day, is really about testing a player’s skills and reflexes. Even Mario games sometimes have truly tricky sections that can send some players off the deep end.

  If you’ve a hankering for some skillfully crafted run-to-the-right fun (or run-to-the-left, if you happen to have jumped into one of the game’s “invaded” paintings – I’ll let you learn about those on your own), Rayman Legends ought to satisfy nicely.


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