The Rayman resurgence has been strong. When I finally turned on my PS Vita after almost a year of complete non-use, Rayman Origins sat in the tray. And on my Nexus 7, Rayman Jungle Run: still one of the best games I have ever played on a Mobile device.
And funnily enough, when I started playing Rayman Legends, the latest game in the series, my first thought was of its mobile predecessor. It actually made me appreciate the Rayman Jungle Run even more than I had before. With all the control options at its disposal, with a proper, modern controller in my hand, I found that Rayman Legends still played a lot like Jungle Run, which is a real testament to the incredible job Ubisoft did in preserving all that is Rayman in its mobile equivalent.
But now to Rayman Legends itself: a game so vibrant, so sharp that it almost looks like a tin can indie platformer sent back from five years in the future: 1080p, 60 frames per second. It's the first platformer I've played in this generation that felt like a genuine technological achievement.
It. Looks. Incredible.
In fact, Rayman Legends looks so incredible it almost defies belief; dotted with the kind of visual flourishes and deft touches that almost demands a replay. Rayman Legends is a workout for your poor, poor eyeballs. There's so much going on, so much to look at, so much to enjoy.
And the platforming itself maintains a brilliant flow. This is the part that reminded me of Rayman Jungle Run. Jungle Run is essentially an complicated endless runner: Rayman never stops plowing forward. That pace is sustained in Legends. Despite the fact players can stop —they don't have to power forward at an incredible pace — there is absolutely no real reason to stop. It's way too much fun to just barrel through the levels at a stupendous pace and just allow yourself to be dazzled. The platforming is forgiving, the level design is forgiving. Rayman allows itself to just feel like a technicolour romp through increasingly inventive levels. I love that.
My one complaint about Rayman Legends is a complaint I've had about most Rayman games: it all just feels a bit disconnected. One of the reasons Super Mario World is one of my favourite platformers of all time is the idea of progress. The idea that each level is simply a chunk of a larger journey. You never get that feeling in Rayman Legends. Each level is an island.
That disconnected me a little from the experience. The idea that I wasn't going anywhere. These levels were just that: levels. They weren't symbolic of a linear journey or a quest and that made Rayman Legends feel less like something I could take seriously and more of a distraction, something to play in bursts. That's all well and good but I feel like the very best platform games allow their experiences to feel connected in some way and that feeling is missing in Rayman Legends.
What do you guys and girls think so far? Let me know in the comments below.