Rayman LegendsPS3, 360, PC, Wii U, Vita
2011 was a big year for Rayman; after those pesky rabbids stealing his limelight, the little French hero came storming back into the gaming fray with the stonking Rayman Origins.
Despite it being a fantastic 2D marvel, it sold about five copies. Thankfully Ubisoft had some faith in the character and gave the green light to this sequel.
If you're at all familiar with the original game, then you'll feel right at home here. To say that it's more of the same is accurate, but there's so much more. The initial game play is still intact; Rayman travels in a 2D plane – either from left to right, or up and down – in order to free as many of the captured Teenies as possible along the way.
Each level is rated from one to five (in the form of skulls), but regardless of what rating you're on, there's always a challenge. For many, like us, just getting through the level was a challenge in itself; for those who play in the realms of hardcore, you will while away the many, many hours needed to complete various challenges available.
Although there's a general simplicity regarding the overall gameplay, it's the ingenuity in which it's presented that really shines. Levels are created with so much thought, that playing through them more than once is almost a given. So much love has been poured into this game, you feel almost obliged to spend as much time playing in it as possible, which isn't difficult as it's an utter joy.
Not only is the colour palette throughout as vibrant as anything else you're likely to play, it has an impressive score to accompany it throughout.
As well as once again being able to have up to four co-op players, there are also global challenges you can compete against. On top of that, there are a number of levels from Origins that are unlockable, and even if you swore at the time never to go back to them – particularly the more heinous of them – they look so darn pretty, they may well just suck you back in.
And then you have the addictive mini-game Kung Foot, which has very little to do with the game itself and just may have you putting in more hours playing it over the main title itself.
With the next-gen ready to be rammed down our collective throats, Rayman Legends provides some interesting food for thought; technically, set as it is in a 2D world, it's not that demanding, and yet it offers a truly engrossing gaming experience. No fancy gimmicks here, just pure fun. Sure it can get frustrating at times, with Rayman himself still struggling to come to a complete stop without sliding on a tad, most often to his death, still being a huge pain, but it's something that you eventually just accept and get over.
Rayman Legends is a homage to old school 2D platforming, but it's also the most perfect example of the genre. It's not only beautiful to look at but a sheer delight to play. And you can't ask more than that from a video game.