More creative than every title in the New Super Mario series combined

User Rating: 9 | Rayman Legends WIIU

You know how although Mario games are fun, lately they have been lacking innovation? Rayman Legends is in that sense everything a Mario game isn’t- it’s bold, and it isn’t afraid to do things differently.

Every level is bursting with crazy ideas that work really well. One level, I had to eat cake with the gamepad to guide Globox to the goal, the next I was dodging between layers of rotten food. And when Rayman Legends comes up with a really unique concept (which is all the time) it never outstays its welcome. Every single level throws something different at you and you’re constantly marvelling at the great ideas. The world maps are clumsy- it takes a Mario 64-style way of laying out the levels, except in a 2D format. It’s annoying finding your way around.

But the level design is amazing. Rayman Legends is very challenging; you’ll find yourself dying loads. But a huge amount of checkpoints prevent frustration. The amount of checkpoints allow for more difficult, faster and more innovative gameplay. There are also about 10 teensies to collect in each level, increasing lasting appeal. Multiplayer takes the fun to a new level, allowing up to four players. There’s also a mad but hugely enjoyable multiplayer minigame called kung foot, which has you playing football in 2D platformer form. It’s a huge bummer, though, that there’s no online multiplayer.

The visuals are breathtaking, looking beautiful consistently. So much care and attention to detail has gone into them. Nice touches also, like the swirling of leaves when you run past one point. This delicate style makes Rayman Legends’ visuals feel like a painting. The sound is also of outstanding quality: the music is fantastic and is my favourite-sounding game of the year. It’s come close to my all-time favourite sounding game series, Zelda. A concept that stretches music even further are the musical levels, when everything you do is to the rhythm, like runner 2, but lots better.

One great gameplay innovation is where you take control of a character named Murphy, and Rayman becomes computer-controlled. Here you must use the gamepad’s touchscreen to do things like cut ropes, eat cake, and move protective shields to guide Rayman to the end of the level. This proves a 2D platformer CAN make use of the gamepad, unlike Mario. Unfortunately, as he’s AI-controlled, he can make some daft mistakes where a real person would not, and it can be so annoying when he walks straight into a lava pit. But this type of problem is rare, and you can have a a real person control him anyway, while you use the gamepad to interact with the environment. It’s not like mario’s boost mode as you actually NEED to use Murphy sometimes.

The bosses at the end of each world are so creative and cleverly made. The boss fights are one of Legends’ many highlights.

Rayman Legends also features all the levels from Rayman Origins as bonus levels without sacrificing anything. These greatly increase the lasting appeal.

What does this even more are the Challenges. Every day, there’s a new one updated, and these single player Challenges have a leaderboard for each day. It could be completing a specially-designed level as fast as possible, or collecting as many lums as you can, or getting as far as possible. And these get updated every single day. This means you’ll be playing Legends for ages, even after getting all the teensies. It introduces a new level of competitiveness, made better by the ability to challenge your friends.

Rayman Legends is amazing. It relentlessly challenges, never stops innovating, and it’s even better multiplayer. This is my first Rayman game, and I’m really impressed. It’s the best non-remake wii u game this year.