Ubisoft's Rayman Legends, the successor to Rayman Origins, was supposed to be a fresh and exclusive outing for the Wii U console, but things changed after a decision was made to port it to the Xbox 360 and PS3 systems. That decision, however, did not stop the game from earning its stellar status.
The whimsical fairy tale of a long needed slumber awakens Rayman, his best friend Globlox, and some of their teensies friends to embark on a new adventure saving other teensies and new characters. Rayman Legends first level throws you immediately into platform mode where you punch, kick, jump, and knock down cages to save the teensies. Along the way are laughing barbarians with rippling muscles, small soldiers, and even frogs on stilts.
As you advance into the game you will come across free fall levels where you have to dodge spiky vines, enemies, sometimes fire, all while trying to collect little yellow and pink fairies called lums which act as real world currency in the game. There are also underwater levels, free flying or floating levels, fast-paced temple run type levels, and more.
Much akin to the worlds in Super Mario 64, each painting to each level has a theme and gives you a taste as to what you will encounter in each level. Joining the cast of heroes is a barbarian warrior princess name Barbara who wields a huge and much like Rayman's powered up limbless fist she can use the axe with a far reach to really sock a wallop to the baddies.
There are other unlock able heroes such as teensies that look like Rayman and his frog pal Globox, a Luigi and Mario suit for both Globox and Rayman, a knight suit for Rayman and Globox, and countless different skins for Barbara which appear as princesses with different names and different weapons such as a bigger axe or a sword.
In the game there are also scratch off tickets that you can scratch to earn small creature pets, unlock special bonus Rayman Origins levels so you can relive Rayman's past outing and there is bonus lums to use to spend on other game un lockables.
Adding to the game play is Rayman's fairy pal Murphy, who can be brought in using the GamePad to flick switches, stop balls of fire with eyes, lift up doors with spikes on them, and tickle big enemies so Rayman and pals can either sneak past them or attack them more easily. Murphy is also handy in levels such as one when you are turned into a duck and you must traverse your way through layers of cake and other food while avoiding fire, spikes, baddies, and the occasional regeneration of the cake that Murphy just ate through that could suck you in and crush you.
The main story of Rayman Legends consists of six different worlds each with their own perils to face and overcome. The worlds are Teensies in Trouble, Toad Story, Fiesta de los Muertos, 20,000 Lums Under the Sea, Olympus Maximus, and Living Dead Party. Each world is beautifully drawn like a watercolor painting and is brought to life by upbeat and catch music that matches the style of each world and level. There are the occasional boss fights such as one against a giant armored frog who after losing his armor runs all over the screen crying for his mommy and who must be avoided since he takes up most of the game play screen.
Another level called Castle Rock sends you running across fallen concrete castle powers with leagues of soldiers are beneath your feet singing along with the rock music as you run frantically ahead to a tune like Black Betty which is reminiscent of a Rayman Rabbids keep the melody game. Once you reach the end and escape the dragon, you are seen rocking out with great joy.
Also packed in are five Rayman Origins worlds and levels to up the replay value of the game. There are a series of daily challenges where you must meet certain requirements to obtain the highest score possible internationally or even in our own backward here in the U.S., and you have the option of adding your favorite challengers as friends to your roster to challenge over and over again. There is also a multiplayer soccer type game called Kung Foot where you must fight your opponent and try to power kick or punch the ball into their goal.
Game play using the Wii remote can be a little tricky at first, especially when it comes to dashing, since you have to use the underside B button to press while you are trying frantically to keep up with your friends who have shot ahead of you. Should you get left behind or take on damage you turn into a bubble (like in recent New Super Mario Bros. games) and can safely move ahead to where your partner can burst your bubble and get you back into the action.
The Game Pad is flawless when it comes to game play and works perfect in level where Murphy's help is needed since you can look down at the Game Pad screen to see what is ahead and in turn look up at the TV. screen to help put those plans into action.
Rayman Legends with its colorful and beautiful surrounding to traverse through, slapstick humor, catchy and fun music, and challenging game play along with bonus Origins levels make this a can't miss plat forming experience.