Superb Rayman with its cute and devilish graphics
Rayman Legends. PS3 (reviewed), Xbox 360, PC, PS Vita, Wii U. Publisher: Ubisoft. Rating: 10/10
A direct sequel to Rayman Origins, Legends opens with our heroes awakening from a 100-year sleep. While they've been out, the mystical Bubble Dreamer's pleasantly sleepy fantasies have become terrifying nightmares made flesh. Seven hundred Teensies have been captured by these walking abominations, who're in league with a number of Dark Teensies, and it's up to you to save them.
Saving them means entering dozens of levels that are best described as platforming heaven. You jump, swing, activate levers, bounce and bash your way through some of the most fiendish yet highly imaginative scenery ever created in a video game.
The graphics are cartoon cute but devilishly detailed. Everything is animated and the sheer effort that must have gone into them is breathtaking. And just when you think you've unlocked them all there are more still to play.
It's possible to take on the missions as a wide range of characters including Rayman himself, Sir Globrax, Goth Teensy, Grand Minimus, Rayman's best friend Globox and a number of princesses. Again, you unlock more as you go along. You can collect little creatures on your travels and there are bonuses galore to find. Hours of glorious entertainment.
Puppeteer. PS3 (reviewed). Publisher: Sony. Rating: 8/10
Kutaro is one unlucky boy. He's kidnapped by the Moon Bear King who turns him into a living wooden doll, eats his head and casts his body into the kitchens of his castle to serve a witch. Phew.
Then he steals the king's magical scissors, named Calibrus, at the behest of a ghostly cat called Ying Yang. And Kutaro can pick up numerous heads along the way to replace the one that got eaten. And the whole thing is presented as a stage play. Double phew.
Ridiculously overstuffed storyline aside, Puppeteer is a sort of platformer with a twist. You guide Kutaro with one thumb stick and Ying Yang (the ghost cat, remember) with the other one. Kutaro dodges pitfalls, knocks down bad guys that may or may not be the frightened souls of other kidnapped children trapped in grotesque puppet/ monster bodies, uses Calibrus to chop through the strings and cloths that hold the king's minions together and uses Ying Yang to search for goodies/new heads. If a baddie knocks your head off, you've got three seconds to get it back on before you die. The theatrical aspect makes for some incredible graphics – if only the plot was a little simpler.