This is my big return! And it's for a game I spent a disgusting amount of time with.
It's been really difficult to find time to write for this blog since I've been spending so much time working on my own games. Which, I will admit, is infinitely cooler. I believe my next post after this one will be a write-up of my own first game. But for now, let's talk about a game that I (and many many others) had been waiting for for far too long...
Oh man. When did this happen?
When did a game series that I actively disliked and made a point to avoid turn into one of my favorite series? When I was younger, I played the first two Rayman games and did not like them - not the way they looked, the way they felt, the way they sounded. They just were not for me. I'll take my Mario and you can keep your limbless bullshit, thank you. So I am baffled by the experience of playing the Newest New New Super New Mario Bros: New Wii Nuu this year, finding it largely lacking, creatively, and later playing Rayman Legends and finding it to be incredible refreshing.
I cringe when I see the phrase "breath of fresh air" in a review, but Rayman Legends is a wonderful example of why a video game reviewer might be tempted to use the cliche. Every screenshot from the game looks like beautiful concept art, and in motion the game is truly incredible. The animation, the new lighting system, the music... all masterfully created.
For those that don't know, Rayman Legends is a platforming series that started on the Playstation 1. Although only one Rayman game (Rayman Junior) was technically a console-exclusive, Rayman was, for me and many other, a de-facto Sony mascot. As someone who bought hard into Nintendo until the emergence of the Wii, Rayman didn't interest me much.
Rayman legends is in many ways a classic platformer, but the gameplay - which is tuned perfectly - is amplified my a host of unique mechanics, be it the feel of Rayman's flutter after a jump, his satisfying wall-kicks, or his simple but punchy combat.
Rayman Legends was supposed to have come out months ago on the Wii U, but was pushed back for dreary economic reasons. Putting that aside, though, it seems as though Michel Ancel and his team have used the time wisely. There are a billion levels, optional minigames, a weird soccer game, daily and weekly challenges, and more. At the end of each world there is a rhythm-based level set to a licensed song... and they are really incredible.
Many of the game's stages have sections in which Rayman's buddy flies in and has to help you across the level. On the Wii U version of the game, this takes the form of swiping him back and forth or poking him where appropriate. On other platforms, players simply press a button to make this friend do whatever it is he is intended to.
Many reviewers have griped about this mechanic, and int he first few levels of Legends, I was perturbed by how often it was popping up. As I got to later levels, however, and the challenge of using this helper while performing fairly complicated platforming feats grew, I started to appreciate the implementation. Having the actions assigned to a single button creates a sort of combination of platforming and rhythm game that I ultimately found satisfying.
Rayman Legends is really just wonderful. It's the kind of game that makes me think I might not be a good video game reviewer, if I ever chose to try. I find it hard to say anything bad about the game. It's not my favorite game in the world, and I'm sure it must not be perfect, but I just can't pinpoint anything I would change about the game. It had tons of content, it controlled spectacularly well, it is possibly the most gorgeous 2D game I've ever seen, and I could not stop playing for days.
So I will not be returning, because I have
Rayman Legends. Let's see what I got for next time, hmm?