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Rayman 2 was my first exposure to the iconic limbless character. I have it for Dreamcast but never did beat it. I just never got into it for some reason. The next Rayman game I played was Origins and never did beat that either. So this time I decided to team up with Jeremy and beat at least one of these game. We decided on Rayman Legends. Developed and published by Ubisoft, Rayman Legends Definitive Edition was released for the Switch in September, 2017. The Definitive Edition includes all the content from the base game including the Nintendo-themed characters from the Wii U version, and the new Kung Foot Tournament mode.
The story in Rayman Legends takes place after the events of Origins. Evidently, the magician survived the explosion in Origins and split into five Dark Teensies. Rayman and Globox are awaken by Murfy who informs them of the bad news and that the ten princesses of the land and the Teensies have been captured. The story is simple, the characters are silly looking, and the plot is nothing more than a catalyst for the gameplay.
All playable characters can walk, run, sprint, jump, duck, swim, crush, or ground pound, hover, and punch and kick. In specific levels, you’re granted the Blue Punch power-up where you can fire boxing gloves as projectiles. There’s a hub world with multiple paintings and each painting acts like a world. Within each painting is numerous levels and a boss. Each level requires you to collect Lums and rescue a specific amount of Teensies. As you acquire more and more Lums, you unlock more playable Heroes which are variations of Rayman, Globox, Barbara, and Teensies. You need to rescue Teensies to unlock new paintings and levels. When you complete a level, the amount of Lums you’ve accumulated determines what cups you unlock and if you’re rewarded a lucky ticket. You scratch Lucky tickets to be rewarded with Lums, Creatures, Origin levels, and/or Teensies. Origin levels can only be unlocked through Lucky Tickets and these are levels from the previous game. Any Creatures you’ve acquired show up in your Creature room where they will provide you Lums every day. In addition to the world paintings, the hub world includes paintings to Heroes where you can swap out your hero, minigames, and Challenges where you can compete in Daily, Weekly, or Extreme Variants of Challenges for Lums and to set record times.
There’s several different level types in Rayman Legends. You’ve got typical 2D platforming levels where you’ll be running, jumping, and wall jumping all the way to the end. Some levels require you to keep moving as the environments changes constantly. There’s autoscrolling levels and then there’s the Murfy Levels. Murfy will manipulates objects in the levels so you can progress. These include things like moving platforms, rotating the environment, tickling enemies, and things of that nature. In the Wii U version, you could use the tablet’s touchscreen to control Murfy. In this version, you press a button to have Murfy perform actions. And when playing cooperatively, these levels can be pure hell. Anybody can command Murfy at any time so if there’s no coordination, there’s a good chance players are going to die. Plus, the Murfy levels can sometimes feel like a slog to get through and lack the momentum and flow seen in the standard platforming levels. Finally, there’s the music levels where you jump and attack in rhythm with the music to progress through the level. Some music levels can contain visual filters and effects to make things more challenging. After a while, you’ll unlock invasion levels where enemies invade previously completed levels. These are basically time trials where you just need to get to the end of the level within a specific time limit to rescue all of the Teensies.
As a single player platformer, Rayman Legends is fantastic. As a co-operative experience, it can really suck, especially in the later levels. I should clarify that it can really suck if you’re trying to cooperate. Many levels require you to jump and attack and do things in very specific ways and if all players are not in sync, someone is going to die. If one player is far enough ahead, they can really fuck over another player. It also doesn’t help that you can hit each other. I think the game is encouraging players to collect more Lums than the other players but there’s no real benefit to this outside of player competition because all the Lums acquired are added to your total at the end of a level. In any level that requires you to keep moving, the player ahead usually has the advantage and the ones behind can easily die due to a change in the environment that only caters to the player in the lead. Luckily, when playing with friends, death isn’t really punishing. You can break heart bottles which provide you an extra hit point and if you die in coop, you bubble up and can float around the level until another player pops you to bring you back to life.
The levels themselves are really well crafted with plenty of enemies to defeat, secrets to uncover, and hazards to avoid. The challenge increases as you progress. There are stealth-like levels where you have to avoid light or you get zapped. You’ll climb and swing on ropes, jump on enemies, and bounce off platforms. You can hover through wind, swim under water, break through obstacles, run up walls, and some levels let you shrink in size to combat the various threats and access hard-to-reach places. Most of the enemies are easy enough to defeat. Some have shields, others utilize projectiles, but none of them prove to be that challenging. In fact, the enemies are probably the least of your worries. The later levels will put your platforming skills to the test as you speed through them all the way to the end, trying to rescue all the Teensies and not die from the many hazards you come across. Almost everything you do in this game rewards you with Lums. You can collect the Lums littered through the levels, some are in cages, and killing enemies will reward you with Lums. The Origin levels feel a little slower-paced and I guess you could say that makes them feel a bit easier. We really enjoyed the Origin shmup levels where you get to ride a Moskito and shoot down enemies or suck them up and spit them out. They break up the typical platforming levels nicely. Now the boss battles contain a good mix of platforming and attack memorization. I wouldn’t say any of them are extremely tough but you may die a few times before you get a boss pattern down.
In order to play through the Challenge levels, you must be connected to the internet. The Challenge levels are all about setting record times but they’re also a good source of Lums. The Daily Challenges can only be completed daily and change everyday. Weekly challenges can only be completed once a week. And the Extreme variants of these levels can only be completed by one player. Rayman Legends includes three minigames; Murfy’s Touch, Kung Foot, and Kung Foot Tournament. In Murfy’s Touch, you can play through all of the Murfy levels from the worlds but with a twist; you only take on the role of Murfy. You must guide the characters through the levels which are controlled by the AI. Kung Foot is a minigame where players choose their teams and try to kick a ball into the opposing player’s goal to score a point. The player with the most points at the end of the match, wins. In Kung Foot Tournament, you select the number of teams and rounds, and the teams compete against each other with the winning teams moving up the board.
Rayman Legends is a gorgeous looking game thanks to it’s surreal and unique art style. It contains plenty of colors, beautiful backgrounds, and impressive visual effects that compliment the action. Unfortunately, when playing cooperatively, it can be very easy to lose track of your track of your character which can result in death. This tends to happen more often in hectic levels and we would advise against selecting characters that share the same or similar color schemes. It was only the two of us playing so I can’t imagine how easy it would be to lose track of characters with any more players. The soundtrack is filled with orchestral and even whimsical tunes that really fit the tone of the game but the music levels are a different story. These levels are a highlight of the game and contain remixes of licensed tracks with my favorites being Black Betty and Eye of the Tiger. The sound effects are cartoon-y and what you would expect from a light-hearted platformer. On the technical side, the game ran smooth. I believe when this first released on Switch, there were significant issues that have since been patched out.
We certainly had fun with Rayman Legends and Jeremy did beat this on Wii U way back when and loved it. As a co-operative experience, we found it to be quite frustrating. You can easily hit each other into enemies or hazards, it can be easy to lose track of your character, and any of the faster-paced levels that require precise timing can be hell if everybody isn’t in sync, or in other words, jumping and moving at the exact same time, and the Murfy levels can be a real pain in the ass if there’s no coordination between players. As a single player platformer, it’s a lot of fun thanks to well designed levels, fun boss battles, and plenty of things to unlock. The minigames and challenges are nice extras and the game should keep you occupied for quite some time.
We would recommend Rayman Legends Definitive Edition to anyone who enjoys 2D platformers. If you’ve played the standard version on any of the other systems, we don’t think the Definitive Edition offers enough new content to warrant buying it again. We do feel the Wii U version has an advantage because the touchscreen gives you more control over Murfy. But if you didn’t like the Murfy levels in the first place, we can’t say the Definitive Edition will really change your mind. In the end, Rayman Legends is a fantastic game with a few flaws. If you’re itching for a fun 2D platformer on Switch and you haven’t played this, the Definitive Edition of Rayman Legends is a must-play. Definitely check it out.