At this year’s E3, I watched along with everyone else when Rayman Legends wowed with its gameplay. It looked smooth and beautiful like its predecessor, with a nice twist to its gameplay thanks to the Wii U Gamepad. Fast forward to this past weekend in New York City and I finally got my itching hands on the follow up to Rayman Origins.
Afforded the chance to test out both the classic platforming gameplay as Rayman using the Wii U’s
Xbox 360 knockoff Pro controller and the swipe-mania that the GamePad entails when using the green fairy-esque Murphy, I finally got to validate my preorder of a Wii U.
Let me start off by saying that anyone familiar with Rayman Origins’ controls will feel right at home with Rayman Legends. Rayman punches, kicks, jumps and sprints across some remarkably beautiful 2D environments.
Perhaps the most interesting portion of the demo was when I got to control Murphy. During his sections, players strictly use the GamePad’s touch screen, using their finger or stylus to move him around and do all sorts of important things to lessen the load on their teammates.
Unlike New Super Mario Bros. U, which relegates the GamePad user to just merely placing blocks and stunning enemies, Legends offers more diverse and context-sensitive actions, such as swiping the screen to cut a rope and tickling a powerful enemy to distract it so that other players can give it a wallop.
Something I really loved about my experience with the demo is the amount of communication I had with a fellow player. Both of us, complete strangers, constantly reminded each other what to do to make it through some of the more challenging sections of the level. This particularly helped during a hairy moment where the one controlling Murphy had to tilt the GamePad to rotate a giant spike maze that the Rayman player was maneuvering through.
It’s this teamwork and verbal communication between gamers that excites me most about the Wii U. Murphy doesn’t feel like a fifth wheel, and is just as enjoyable to use as Rayman.
Rayman Legends was originally slated as a launch window title for the Wii U, but has since been delayed by Ubisoft until Q1 2013. Nevertheless, I think it’ll be worth the wait.