When we were first introduced to little Rayman, back in the mid-nineties, for many, he struggled to stand out among the cornucopia of other 2D platformers of the time. This was in spite of the fact that Rayman is a midget with no limbs. In most crowds, you’d notice him, unless that crowd happened to be a group of competitors at the Paralympics. Let’s be honest, if he’d been born in Ancient Sparta, he would’ve been thrown off a cliff.

The fact that Rayman, although successful, didn’t inspire a generation, is testament to the quality, or perhaps similarity, of games of the nineties. However, one unique attribute of Rayman (excluding his deformities) was the wonderfully-creative level design and visuals. This became Rayman’s main selling point and one that would spawn several sequels.

Fast forward to today and here we are, in the midst of another Rayman release. Rayman Legends has been with us since 2013 but has now been given a spot of botox, a tummy tuck, an anal bleaching (though curiously still no limbs) and has been thrust before us on Xbox One.

Make no mistake, Rayman Legends is a genuine masterpiece of the platform genre. I’ve played and loved many platformers over the years and, in fact, still hold Super Mario Bros. circa 1987 in the highest regard. That mustachioed sex pest was a pioneer and, in my opinion, no platform series has come within a country mile of it. However, Rayman Legends has achieved something that many thought impossible; it has reinvented the genre. Not only that, but it’s become my second favourite platformer of all time.

In an age, in which games are becoming increasingly realistic, rich and movie-like, and fans both expect and demand that developers create fully-immersive worlds, the very concept of an effectively 2-D platformer seems almost preposterous. However, Ubisoft have shown love and respect to their little medical miracle and have created one of the most unique and frankly trippy environments I’ve ever experienced, and I’ve been to Suffolk. Imagine what the world looked like through Ozzy Osbourne’s eyes, back in the 70′s. Then imagine 70′s Ozzy eating four kilos of Stilton, injecting Primula into his shrivelled and largely-collapsed veins, taking a Baby Bell suppository and then snorting a line of parmesan before immediately going to bed. Then and only then, might you be getting close to the levels of colourful, odd and magical scenes that are to be experienced in Rayman Legends.

The game centres around a classic story of normality, in which our biologically impossible friend is woken from a long slumber by his friend, Murfy, who breaks the bad news that, unfortunately, all is not well in the Glade of Dreams. You see, the Bubble Dreamer’s been having nightmares, the poor blighter. These nightmares are growing in strength and taking over the land. Not only that but the Magician has split into five Dark Teensies and has joined forces with the nightmares to kidnap all ten Princesses, along with all the other Teensies. I know, right? That’s quite the situation, right there.

Rayman’s task is to work his way through various lands, rescuing Princesses (what is it with Princesses and getting kidnapped?) and Teensies along the way, while hunting down and slapping the Dark Teensies about a bit. Don’t worry, it’s not racially-motivated, I think. Seriously though, what’s so good about Princesses? If they were that amazing, they wouldn’t be such a liability. Also, they never put out. Just ask Mario. He’s had blue balls for the best part of thirty years. No wonder he’s so violent.

There are various worlds, each with several levels therein. Within each level, there are Teensies waiting to be rescued. Saving these little weirdos helps to unlock new levels and areas. There are also Lums to collect. Lums are little flying balls that, for some reason, can be used as rudimentary currency, which will buy new characters and even present the player with the opportunity to procure a scratchcard, the prizes of which vary from more collectables to special, unlockable levels. Seriously, scratchcards. Why not go the whole hog and have an option to pick up a Giro, ten fags, a bull terrier and a can of Special Brew. Where are we, Glasgow?

In total, there are seven hundred Teensies to rescue, over the course of over a hundred levels. In a style akin to many other games, differing tiers of achievement can be attained for each level, depending on the amount of Lums and Teenies that have been rescued. This adds some longevity to a game that could otherwise have limited replay value.

There are also mini games and challenges, which help to bulk out the whole experience. A particularly fun minigame is Kung Foot, which, despite its name, isn’t a fungal infection, but is essentially Football. Kung Foot does a good job of helping to improve your controller skills without you even realising you’re doing so. It’s the gaming equivalent of having Mr Miyagi asking you to paint his fence and sand his floor.

The game’s absolute smoking gun is its visuals. The graphics have a rich, hand-drawn quality and the environments are beautifully-rendered. The cleverly-designed levels add to this to create a truly unique and impressive experience. The game’s soundtrack is atmospheric, fun and in keeping with the visuals. Although there is an offline multiplayer option, there is none for online. Personally, I have no issue with this. This is the kind of game you play with real people, in real life.

There is no real discernible difference between this and the Xbox 360 version of the game, so if you already own this on 360 and are considering an upgrade, don’t bother. However, if you’re a moron with more money than sense, please, feel free. While you’re at it, could you pick me up a few scratchcards? If you have a copy of the 360 version, as well as OCD and your world will end unless you have two of everything, just buy another copy of the 360 version and spend the money you’ve saved on a pair of prescriptions.

This game is more than just a basic platformer, but a platformer it is. These are games that are designed to be pretty and fun and that’s exactly what this is. If you’re looking for a cerebral gaming experience, play something else, but if you’re looking for a the type of fun game that reminds you why you fell in love with gaming in the first place, while still managing to move forward and stay fresh, then play this. Seriously, play it.