I have something to admit. I’ve never played a Rayman game before. That’s right, my time with Rayman Legends was the first time I’ve ever played an entry in the series, and I must say I was thoroughly impressed.
During my time with the game, a representative from Ubisoft, the developer behind the game, played as Rayman (Player 1) with the Wii U Pro Controller. I played as a new character, Muphy, with the Wii U GamePad.
The demonstrator used Rayman, while watching the TV screen, to do the typical platforming/enemy attacking elements one would expect of the genre. As Muphy, I had a new and unexpected role to play. My focus was on the Wii U GamePad’s screen and I could interact with the environment by using the built in touch screen.
The Muphy player can do way more than I imagined would be helpful and creates more of a social game between players. For instance, as Murphy I had the ability to slash ropes & chains in the stage. This frees new platforms, squashes enemies, helps locate special areas and more. Additionally, it was possible for me to stun enemies a bit, raise/lower specific terrain and turn the game’s collectable items (similar to coins in the Mario games) into apparently more valuable versions of themselves by rubbing my finger over them.
Another layer of player-to-player interaction was also incorporated while playing as Murphy. At one point in the demo stage there is a series of platforms, but unknown to Rayman (the player looking at the TV), some of these platforms are dangerous traps. The Murphy player can look at the Wii U GamePad and can see which of the platforms are hazardous. Keeping this information exclusive to the Murphy support character is cool and truly adds to the cooperative and social aspect of the game.
There were also points where the Murphy player can grab giant platforms with a bolt in the center and tilt them left or right to make it possible for the other player to progress. Physically rotating the Wii U GamePad tilts a gripped platform; yet another interactive experience that will require teamwork and social interaction to succeed.
At the end of the demo stage there was an intense running portion. The Rayman character appeared to be running non-stop and it was up to the Murphy character to clear a path for his ally. The catch was that many of these obstacles had to be tapped at specific points in beat with the music, making this a rhythm mini-game.
The final build of Rayman Legends looks like it will include up to five-player action (four players using the TV screen and one player as Murphy on the Wii U GamePad).
I was extremely impressed with what Rayman Legends demo had to offer. The game feels fresh due to the truly interactive and social multiplayer experience that is only possible thanks to the Wii U GamePad. I even just picked up a copy of Rayman Origins for the Wii in anticipation of this upcoming Wii U sequel. In short, I’m looking forward to more and it’s a Wii U title that fans of the new platform should keep their eyes on.
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