If you haven’t already read our Rayman Legends review, or if you’ve been living under a rock, there’s a chance you may not yet know that it’s a wonderful, glorious platformer, full of exciting level design and colourful, cheeky, funny characters. Unfortunately, that’s my superlatives count for any given review used up in the opening paragraph, so from here on out, it’s cold hard facts.
This review is specific to the PS Vita version of Rayman Legends, for the original Xbox 360 review, click here.
Right away, it’s worth mentioning that, when all is said and done, this is the same game that you’ve played on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, but is also closer to the Wii U version. It looks and sounds as stunning as all the other versions (PC aside, which is obviously 1080p and incredible looking), and sections that make use of the 3D planes seem to pop even more than the home console counterparts.
As you expect, Legends makes full use of the Vita’s additional input methods. What this means is that you are going to be using the touch screen to control Murfy for certain levels, so control will be taken away from you in terms of the platform elements. This can lead to frustration, but it also adds a layer of difficulty. Without directly controlling Globox, he’ll saunter along for the most part, only running when need be. Whereas you could just search out the hidden Teensies yourself, you are either relying on a keen eye or prior knowledge of a level to find it, and if you do miss it – and the hidden doors are a particular bugger to direct him to, sometimes – the only way to go back is to trick Globox into dying, or play the level again. Occasionally he’ll miss a jump, too, which is frustrating.
With the hidden doors, there are often new mechanics such as getting Murfy to rotate platforms, and this is all done via the motion controls of the Vita. These work fine, too, but I encountered a few sections where the alignment required was precise, unlike, say, if you were in control of the character yourself and could just move on, or jump. It’s all about preferences, and I preferred controlling the platforming character whilst tapping the B (or circle) button to activate Murfy.
Of course, being on the Vita means that the local multiplayer you’d expect to find in the other versions isn’t present. It is possible to do LAN multiplayer, but as you’d imagine, the chances of most people experiencing this are few and far between. There are also less Teensies to collect. In the other versions there are 700 (maximum per level is 10), but in this version there are 615, with the Invaded levels missing. This actually makes it easier to 100% the game, as the Invaded levels were some of the toughest levels going on the Xbox 360. There’s still a healthy amount of content though, and there are actually 5 Vita-exclusive Murfy levels unlocked after you collect the first 100 Teensies.
Murfy’s Challenges are fun, but they are unlocked in increments. So although 100 Teensies will open up the main painting to let you play the first one, after that you’ll need 145, then 205, then 270, and finally 320. Of course, playing through the game you’ll probably get these anyway, and you’ll want to get 400 at least, so you can unlock the final “Land of the Livid Dead” painting. As you complete these new levels, there are a few additional unlockable characters that I don’t believe appear in other versions of the game;, for example, Globox Cell, a Splinter Cell version of Globox who thinks he’s invisible, but obviously isn’t.
Challenge mode, however, is thankfully fully present. That said, it appears to be a Vita-specific leaderboard, as none of my PSN friends list appeared (they are PS3 players) at all – it’s a bit of a shame that the audience has been split into platform specific leaderboards. The load times are slightly longer than the Xbox 360 version previously tested, too. It’s hardly a deal-breaker, but it’s worth mentioning that if you’re playing from cart, some levels do take longer to load. It’s all about minor things here; for example, having a touch screen means you don’t have to watch the animation of Murfy appearing each time, you touch the screen and he’ll tag in – it’s quick and simple.
VERDICT: So this isn’t the definitive version of the game (that argument boils down to personal taste: mine is the Xbox 360/PS3 version), and although there’s no real explanation for the missing Invaded levels, it does appear some attempt has been made to make up for this, with a handful of exclusive levels in their place and Facebook integration that attempts to make it more social still.
Legends is still a wonderful game, and the tight controls work incredibly well on the Vita – I am particularly fond of the sticks. With the challenge mode present and a good amount of content to get through (including the Back to Origins levels), this is still an excellent game, if ever so slightly inferior to the versions that have come before it.
VERY GOOD. An 8/10 is only awarded to a game we consider truly worthy of your hard-earned cash. This game is only held back by a smattering of minor or middling issues and comes highly recommended.