Much has been said about Rayman Legends shifting from a Wii U exclusive to a multi-platform release, but one upside to it is that it has led to the creation of a demo on that system and the daily challenge app. This lets you check out a few different stages and then take on different challenges — like speedruns on a variety of levels. While it sucks the game won’t be coming out until September, having playable portions of it to enjoy showcases the same gameplay and visual style that made Rayman Origins so enjoyable minus the annoying requirement to have a certain amount of lums to progress in the game.
Platforming is the same as it was in Origins. You’ve still got precise jumping, double jumps, attacks, mid-air attacks, and helicopter hovering to get from point A and B. New to the franchise, and exclusive to the Wii U on consoles is the ability to play with Murfy using touch controls. The demo level with this mechanic shifts from regular Rayman play to it, which is rather jarring. Instead of jumping around, punching and kicking fools while using wind gusts to move around, you tap the screen to do all sorts of stuff. Touch an enemy to kill it, then move platforms around so Murphy can roam around safely. You can also slice ropes to drop him to other areas, and spin the Gamepad around to solve some puzzles that require him to be rotated around into a new position to progress.
Rhythm played a part in Rayman Origins with its sound effects and music working well with the action, but that’s taken to a new extreme with stages like the Rock of Ages where it’s essentially twitch platforming with kick-ass music blaring. It’s easily the most fun part of the game that’s been showcased so far and the most purely fun platforming stage in the past decade at least. There’s nothing that isn’t an absolute blast in it, and it’s also got such a fast pace to it with very little directional input needed that it would be perfect for mobile platforms as well.
Legends keeps the same stunning graphic style as Origins, which means it’s gorgeous. That was a stunning game and this looks to top it with more colors on-screen, more depth to them, and some great lighting effects as the fire above shows. Color gradients are used extensively and add a bit of realism to the game without being excessive. After all, when you’ve got a game starring a limbless man-thing and whatever Murfy’s supposed to be, there’s only so much realism you really want. By having a somewhat realistic environment around the surreal characters, Ubisoft has crafted a world that managed to strike a fine balance between realistic and absurd.
Rayman Legends launches on September 2 throughout North America on the Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360, PC, and Vita. It will cost $60 on consoles, $50 on PC, and $40 on the Vita. The Vita version comes with some exclusive levels, while every version will include about 40 levels from Origins. This bonus was originally just going to be on the Wii U since that platform never got it, but is now being included in all of them. Each level will use this game’s new lighting effects, and make use of touch-specific areas for Murfy on the Vita and Wii U. The delay has gone from being a bad thing to something that will result in the game being better. Based on how great Origins was and the few playable sections so far, Legends seems like it will be well worth a purchase for platformer fans.