When Nintendo released Super Mario Galaxy, they had 2 player co-op mode where the second player could use a Wii-mote to help out the first player. The second player could freeze platforms, freeze enemies, collect coins, and perform a few other minor tasks. This mode was, somewhat chauvinistically, dubbed girlfriend mode. It was a mode where non-gamers could play alongside serious gamers and feel mildly useful without fear of dying.
Rayman Legends utilizes a similar idea with their cooperative mode. In Rayman Legends, the player using the Wii U Gamepad can play as Murphy, a touchpad exclusive character. Murphy is able to tickle enemies, pluck items from the ground, cut ropes, twist platforms, launch catapults, activate switches, rescue characters who have been killed, and perform a whole host of other tasks. All of these tasks are handled with simple flicks, taps, and swipes on the Gamepad with an occasional Gamepad tilt.
Whereas Super Mario Galaxy’s co-op mode was kind of boring, Rayman Legends’ is more fleshed out and interesting. Playing as Murphy doesn’t seem like a punishment or a chore. There is always something to tap on, something to twist, or something to tickle. Murphy felt like just as important a part of the Rayman Legends experience as Rayman himself, and some parts of the game required Murphy’s assistance to complete. Playing as Murphy will provide a great way for non-gamers to play alongside their gamer friends without fear of failure, and even veteran gamers will have fun poking and prodding around Rayman’s levels.
As for Rayman Legends itself, the game is similar to what we saw in last year’s Rayman Origins. The game uses Ubisoft’s Ubiart engine, and it looks absolutely amazing. Legends looks better than last year’s Rayman Origins, and that’s saying a lot considering that Rayman Legends was one of last year’s best looking titles. Rayman’s color palette is bolder than its predecessor, and it features some pretty nifty lighting effects that are very noticeable in fire packed levels. The game has a charming hand drawn aesthetic, and the animation is about the smoothest you’ll find. Whether this boost in graphical prowess is a result of the Wii U’s power or Ubisoft’s experience with their engine is yet to be seen, but Rayman Legends looks to be one of the best looking games of the year on the Wii U or any other console.
The newest feature of Rayman Legends is its music levels which are an evolution of the treasure chest levels from Origins. In these levels, Rayman must sprint along as fast as he can. The levels are designed so that Rayman’s actions sync up with the music in the background. Punching enemies line up perfectly with drum beats, and the tinkling of collected lums align with the riffs of a song. Some of the music in these levels is licensed. In my demo I got to platform to the sweet sounds of Black Betty.
Rayman Legends will be available at launch in Europe, but there is no word on a precise US release date. We’ll keep you updated with the latest.