Rayman Legends arrives on the Switch. The subtitle Definitive Edition is slightly misleading, but this is still a brilliant platformer at a reasonable price.
It’s hard not to approach Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition with a certain degree of scepticism. The game was originally released in 2013 and intended as a Wii U exclusive. It moved multi-format when it became clear to Ubisoft that the game was never going to turn a profit on such a poor selling console. Yet even then, Rayman Legends underperformed – so its arrival on the Switch feels like little more than a last-ditch attempt to wring some success from the title.
It would be so easy to dismiss Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition as a superfluous release – and in many ways it is. Because this is not a “definitive” version of the game by any means. The original Wii U game’s touch-screen levels featuring Murfy are included here – but actions are now performed automatically with a button press (like the PS4 and Xbox One versions), which is much less interactive. On the other hand, in handheld mode, the game will ask you to tilt the console to rotate some objects, but in doing so you have to twist your arms into knots – it’s certainly not practical to play in public and neither control scheme feels particularly satisfactory.
The only other new addition is the inclusion of online leaderboards and daily challenges. If you like that sort of thing then it’s a bonus, but personally I just found it to be an additional complication to the already at-times-confusing hub menu. Otherwise, this is exactly the same game and by no means the Definitive Edition because both the PS4 and Xbox One versions run better, whilst the Wii U version controls better.
That said, this is still one of the best 2D platformers ever. Each and every stage is packed full of ideas; new concepts and mechanics are introduced throughout the game offering tons of replay value. Furthermore you can unlock additional stages from Rayman Origins, which further bumps up the number of stages available to play. And then there are the brilliant rhythm based levels, which are impossible to complete without a huge smile on your face (and a swathe of sweat upon your palms). The graphics are absolutely gorgeous and although the controls are more floaty than the likes of Mario or Sonic, once you become accustomed to them, they’re just as tight and responsive.
At £25, this is as close to a budget release as you can get on the Switch – and it is still an incredibly good game, which you absolutely should play if you haven’t already. But it’s very hard to recommend this version above all others, unless you’re absolutely desperate to own it on the Switch.
There is nothing about Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition that makes it “definitive”. But equally there’s nothing here that makes the game significantly worse than before. And if its release on the Switch encourages Ubisoft to consider a sequel then that can only be a good thing because both Origins and Legends are terrific platformers.