Rayman Origins was one of the best 2D platformers of this generation. From the fantastic art style to the frantic gameplay, Origins delivered on all fronts. Rayman was reborn and the platformer genre was brilliant once again. We were all left with a big, stupid smile on our faces as we ran, jumped, punched and even swam our way through the many varied levels that Origins had to offer.
The game might not have sold well but that didn’t stop Ubisoft working on a sequel – Rayman Legends – which aims to one up Origins with some imaginative new mechanics thanks to the Wii U’s GamePad, allowing one player to control Rayman’s little green flying friend Murfy with the touch screen, activating various switches, cutting ropes and holding enemies in place to assist the other players. It seems to be a very co-operative game with a focus on local play.
Legends is all about myths, monsters and – naturally – legends, with the game featuring various mythical worlds inhabited by dragons, ghouls and other creatures. Rayman and friends enter these lands via some mystical paintings, with the refined art style reflecting this marvelously. While Origins was an interactive cartoon, Legends is more akin to a painting in style, it’s even more vibrant and even better looking than before. The characters really stand out and it all works, merging 2D platforming and some nifty 3D effects together.
It plays really well, too. I got my hands on it a few months ago at Eurogamer Expo and described it as “the reason you need a Wii U”. It’s very similar to Origins, though it seems to flow even better than before.[videoyoutube]There’s some brilliant stuff in Rayman Legends, including one section which plays as a rhythm game for the GamePad player, controlling Murfy, as they touch the screen to release Lums for the other players to collect. The other players – using either the Wii U Pro controller or a Wii remote – will play the same section simultaneously as a frantic platforming level, while the GamePad player bashes away at the touchscreen in time to the music.
Legends was originally meant to release back in November, alongside the Wii U, though it was delayed just over a month prior to release until the first quadrant of 2013. The date has since been confirmed as the 28th of February in Europe and two days prior, February 26th, in the United States.
That’s just two months away now, so we should hopefully find out some more information in the not too distant future. A demo is now available on the Wii U’s eShop, so if you have the console you can download it and try it out right now. If you don’t have a Wii U and you aren’t planning on buying one, then you might not get a chance to experience Legends – at least not in its current form; unless SmartGlass and CrossPlay are implemented for the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions respectively.
Rayman Legends is looking like a triumph. It should surpass the heights of Origins with some really innovative gameplay and a stunning new art style. Let’s hope its just as lengthy and just as fun as its predecessor; then it might just be legendary.