(Ubisoft for Xbox 360)
By Mike Delano
2011’s Rayman Origins was a fantastic 2D rebirth for the loveable, limbless platforming star. Knowing they have a good thing in hand, the developers of Rayman Legends have taken the ol’ “if it ain’t broke…” approach with this follow-up. We’re the ones who luck out, since hardly anyone else (except Nintendo, barely) is making HD platformers that are this polished and wide in scope.
Similar to the glorious doubling of creativity that took place between Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel, Legends takes the rock solid foundation of Origins and rides it like a rocket into new and fascinating territory. Stealth sections, fantastic multi-tier bosses, rabid luchadores — all this creativity wrapped up in the incredible, vivid visuals of the UbiArt Framework engine. The game is more than happy to incorporate aspects of other games into its wildly eclectic gameplay, as well. There’s some free-roam swimming that recalls Ecco the Dolphin; managing lava flow in malleable caverns recalls PixelJunk Shooter; the Murfy levels, wherein a flying creature aids you as you traverse the level, recalls the “player two helper” mechanic from Super Mario Galaxy and New Super Mario Bros. U, except in Legends you’re manipulating both characters yourself, simultaneously.
The hard-as-nails Invasion levels in Legends mirror the treasure hunts from Origins, which are great for expert players, but the real treat for the competitive-minded are the daily and weekly challenges that let you size up your skills against the rest of the world. It’s an absolutely stuffed package, and none of it is filler, which makes it another satisfying and jovial entry in Rayman‘s impressive catalog.