Back in the days when arcade machines were synonymous with gaming rather than gambling, a simple way for developers to see if they had a hit on their hands was to put it on test in a local arcade. If a player died repeatedly yet still continued to put money into the machine it was a very good sign. Sometimes it was even a confounding factor into whether an arcade game went into full production or not.
Some four decades later, the desire to get straight back into a game after dying is still a distinction of quality. Later sections in Rayman Legends are tough, requiring pixel perfect timing, yet we found ourselves trying again and again until we finally got past our proverbial hurdles.
Not once did we feel the need to walk away (read: rage quit) as every level feels as miraculously designed as the last. It also helps that there’s no ‘game over’ screen, or even lives for that matter. You can try, try and try again without penalty, and just like in Rayman Origins checkpoint placing remains impeccable.
Although originally designed to be manoeuvred with the Wii U’s GamePad, controlling helper character Murfy with a joypad works surprisingly well. Just one push of the ‘B button’ orders the green hued dude to flick switches, move objects or tickle bad guys into submission. The simplicity of doing so is good thing too, considering that Murfy shows up quite often to lend a hand.
The levels themselves are longer than before and aren’t punctuated as often, which helps incredibly to keep the pace fast flowing. Settings are more imaginative also, including a medieval castle with a wooded grove, a couple of Mexican-influenced worlds featuring rampaging luchadores and super-sized foodstuffs, and a set of trials based in ancient Greece.
We were dreading having to dip into the swimming levels, but even these are surprisingly great – character movement remains fluid and responsive, while the stealth elements added to the underwater sections work far greater than we first imagined. Trust us on that one.