At a glance...

Previewer Platform Publisher Developer Players Release Date
Andrew Rouse Wii U Ubisoft Ubisoft Montpellier 1-5 (Same screen) Wii U Launch (2012/3)

Rayman Legends preview

Despite Nintendo's absence from this year's Gamescom, Ubisoft have brought several Wii U games to the show floor including Rayman Legends, the 2D platforming sequel to last year's critically acclaimed Rayman Origins.

The demo we played consisted of a short sequence designed for two players playing co-operatively. While one player controlled Rayman using the Pro Controller, the second player controlled a small flying creature called Murfy using the GamePad. While the platforming player ran through the level using traditional platforming controls, the GamePad player was able to interact with the game in a variety of other ways such as grabbing and destroying enemies, turning Lums into purple Lums which are worth more and moving platforms into position for the platforming player to use.

That's a lot of scary creatures

That's a lot of scary creatures

In the short level, there were some platforms which needed to be moved into position by the GamePad player as well as flying fireballs which were fatal to the platforming player but easily removed on the GamePad. While playing on the GamePad required a different set of skills, both players needed to co-operate in order to make it through the level.

The last section of the level added a musical twist to the Rayman platforming. The level scrolled at a constant pace, forcing the platforming player to run continuously. Keeping a constant pace allows obstacles in the level to sync up with the music, with jumps and enemies falling on accents in the music and the sound effects generated by the game fitting perfectly into the rhythm. The speed and music made for an intense and difficult level, somewhat reminiscent of the chest chasing levels from Origins, and there was a great sense of joint victory when the level was finally completed.

Five friends go to play

Five friends go to play

When both players are playing well, the game creates a sublime feeling of magical synergy. From the platforming player's perspective, enemies and obstacles vanish as they approach them, platforms move into the correct position and Lums appear and turn into purple Lums just in time to be collected. From the GamePad player's perspective, the platforming player is pulling them through the game, bringing new challenges, enemies and puzzles to be completed just as fast as they can clear them. Conversely, a bad player can bring the team down much more easily than was the case in Rayman Origins and I anticipate some of the harder levels being the cause of much finger pointing and blame assignment.

All in all, Rayman Legends retains the charm and precise control of its predecessor while adding a new way to play co-operatively and some new level design elements. Rayman Legends will be an exclusive for new Wii U console.

Teamwork!

Teamwork!

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