Release Date: February 26, 2013
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Platform(s): Wii U
Rayman is back! After 2011's outstanding side-scrolling platformer, Rayman Origins, Ubisoft Montpellier returns for a direct sequel in Rayman Legends. The Wii U exclusive is one of the most wanted early 2013 games for Nintendo's new platform, and it promises to make use of the new console's unusual tablet-like controller to add an entirely new layer to the game.
What We Know:
Rayman and his pals are wandering through an enchanted forest one day when they come across a tent filled with paintings. No matter that hanging a painting from a flimsy tent wall is next to impossible. This is a video game. Get over it. It turns out that each of the paintings is actually a door into another world, with each piece of artwork offering a sense of what sort of world awaits.
As you've probably figured out from the story synopsis, Rayman Legends is built around a series of platforming levels that are accessible from each of the paintings, with different works of art leading to different kinds of worlds. One early example showed off a medieval setting, though subsequent looks suggest that the finished product will have plenty of variety. You can also expect to meet some new characters, such as Barbara the viking warrior.
The game appears to be largely the same as Rayman Origins in terms of play, with one or more players (yes, co-op returns) running, jumping, and punching their way through a series of platforming challenges in their endless pursuit of Lums and captured Teensies. In addition to the return of four-player co-op as it was in Origins, there's also the option of having a fifth player help out using the Wii U GamePad.
The GamePad-using players takes control of Murfy, using the touchscreen to alter the environment in ways that are meant to help Rayman and his platforming pals. You might, for example, use the touchscreen to cut a rope that is keeping a platform out of reach or you might simply tap on Lums to collect them for the group. Some levels incorporate rhythm-based gameplay, with timed taps on the screen making the path ahead accessible for the platformers.
What We Expect:
Unless something has gone horribly wrong with Michel Ancel and his dev team at Ubisoft Montpellier, Rayman Legends ought to be one of the early must-own Wii U titles. It'll be the second such offering from Ubisoft, after 2012's ZombiU. It's hard to say if Legends will be able to match the critical acclaim that Origins drew, but expect it to be an essential purchase for Rayman fans at the very least.