by Jed Pressgrove
1. If I had to sum up why I lost interest in Rayman Legends, I’d only need two words: cruise control. Playing the game feels too effortless, and even when there is a twist (like when you must rotate a big platform maze to reach an item), there is little room for creativity — it’s as if everything is predestined. It’s not like a Kirby platformer, which is typically easy but gives you plenty of powers to experiment with.
2. As easygoing as Rayman Legends is, it doesn’t feel “smooth.” There is an awkward pause before you run and after you throw a punch. I felt fundamentally disconnected from the avatar.
3. Rayman comes off as a wannabe video-game mascot. Just like Mario and Sonic, he throws a peace sign. As in Mario 64, you jump into paintings to start levels. The game’s overly celebratory tone and scratch cards seem designed to convince people that they’re playing something special rather than a well-animated rehash of other things.
4. Why do some games even bother pretending that they have secrets? When you find a “secret area” in Rayman Legends, you hear a specific tone, as if to congratulate you on a job well done. In reality, the areas in question seem like little stations you’re supposed to stop at as you chug along on the track.
5. Rayman Legends doesn’t commit to its neatest concept: an assist character that you call upon to open up paths in a level. I was excited to use this character at the beginning of the game, partly because it made me wonder how the proceedings might evolve around this concept. Soon this character was nowhere to be found. Most of the levels I played didn’t involve the very dynamic that interested me in the first place. Rayman Legends is like a musician that hooks you with a distinct melody or unusual time signature before coasting on covers like an amateur.