Rayman Legends Hands-On
Out of all the third-party companies to develop for the Wii U, no one has done a better job of playing up to the Wii U’s strengths than Ubisoft. Zombie U made excellent use of the GamePad’s screen for competitive play while Rayman Legends uses it for excellent co-op play.
I had a chance to try out the demo both as Rayman and as Murphy, the flying green frog or whatever. Rayman controls pretty much as he did in Origins in that you use the shoulder buttons to run, A to jump and B to punch. Press the jump button in mid-air and you’ll be able to turn Rayman’s hair into a mini helicopter he can use to float down to safety.
While playing as Rayman the other player controlled Murphy as he used the GamePad to manipulate the obstacles. The level featured a perfect blend of tight reflexes and creative level design, a staple of the series. In fact, towards the end of the level I had to wear earphones so I could get through it. That last portion played like a rhythm game where I had to jump and punch to the beat of the music or risk dying. The game’s screen was moving so fast that if I didn’t react fast enough my character would either get crushed behind or fall down a pit. Due to all the noise at the convention, this was the only portion of the game I could hear and I really enjoyed the game’s rocking tunes. The Rayman series always had high standards when it came to sound and it seems as though this one won’t disappoint.
That’s all well and good, but what about the Wii U GamePad? When it came my turn to control Murphy, this is where the pad’s potential really came into play. As Murphy you can influence any part of the screen by manipulating obstacles and helping Rayman to gather lums. In several parts I had to help my partner by cutting ropes, grabbing enemies and rotating the platforms. One particular platform had a maze of spikes, so I had to rotate it carefully and hold it steady to avoid getting my partner (Rayman) killed. Other clever uses include operating mechanisms that open paths and tapping on giant eyeballs that reveal lums. One of the best uses had to have been the ability to use a slingshot just by sliding down on the touch screen to fire at enemies. All in one level!
As mentioned before, the game got to the point where the rhythm-based portion began and instead of jumping on platforms, I had to tap on the screen to the music’s beats. I couldn’t just tap anywhere, though. I had to tap on giant eyeballs that littered the level as well as other characters. Doing so created lums that provided a path for my partner, giving us a higher score. This is the sort of creativity I wish I could have seen in New Super Mario Bros. U but didn’t. If Ubisoft continues this round of cleverly implementing the GamePad, this is going to be an awesome multiplayer adventure!
Rayman Origins had some scrumptious visuals and it appears that Rayman Legends will continue that tradition. The animation is just delightful and the characters are so full of life. The art really reminds me of the art done in feature animations like Disney, only mixed in with that Rayman brand of craziness that makes the series so endearing. If you like great-looking games, then Rayman Legends is up your ally.
Rayman Origins was easily one of the best games I played at E3 and one I am greatly looking forward to. If the rest of the game is as good as what I’ve seen here, Ubisoft should have another winner on their hands. Check it out this holiday season.