Earlier this year, gamers who invested in the Wii U with hopes of playing through a new Rayman game that was exclusive to the platform had those aspirations dashed when Ubisoft announced that the game would be pushed back until September so it could be ported to the Xbox 360, PS3, PC, and PS Vita.
Now that Rayman Legends is available on multiple platforms, does the game manage to standout on the Wii U? It absolutely does, and that’s a result of the Wii U GamePad’s unique functionality and the number of gameplay mechanics it enables.
Our review of Rayman Legends for PS3/Xbox 360 briefly elaborated on the differences found in the Wii U iteration, but Game Rant‘s Andrew Dyce was quick to state that the game plays just as well on other consoles despite once being a Wii U exclusive. Given the unique functionality of Nintendo’s nifty tablet-like controller, players will find themselves frequently jumping into the role of Murfy; a new character who aids Rayman and friends by moving obstacles, tickling foes, and literally paving roads to get across gaps.
Murfy is controlled via the GamePad’s touchscreen, allowing for more interaction with the newcomer during the running/chase portions of Legends. On other platforms, the game requires players to mash a button to utilize Murfy in a number of predetermined ways, but the Wii U version actually throws GamePad users into the role of the character. Wii U players need only tap the touchscreen during particular portions of play to control the omnipresent alien-looking fairy creature, Murfy, at which point the CPU will take over the platforming portions.
These mechanics make Rayman Legends play and feel significantly different from its predecessor Rayman Origins, while still maintaining certain platforming elements that made gamers fall in love with the original to begin with. That said, one of the main appeals of a Rayman game is actually being able to control the title character. While there are plenty of segments where that’s possible, being Murfy just isn’t as much fun, and the Wii U version therefore is tailored more towards multiplayer sessions than single-player.
Even with a little too much Murfy time, the GamePad offers plenty of other unique ways to play with the character — one of the most significant being the ability to rotate certain portions of levels. Once in a while a lever will appear in-game which requires players to physically rotate the Wii U controller to shift actual objects (or even the world itself) in Rayman Legends. This feature adds incredibly fun puzzles that engage users and these scenarios often end with laugh-out-loud results when playing with friends.
The final exclusive gameplay-related feature for Wii U owners comes in the form of the ability to play the entire game solely on the GamePad. If a family member, friend, or significant other wants to watch TV then players can simply switch the action entirely to the smaller handheld screen and continue the game uninterrupted. Every aspect of Rayman Legends is retained on the smaller screen, with the lone exception being multiplayer.
Diehard Nintendo fans who’ve waited months for Rayman Legends to appear on the platform will be rewarded for their patience with Mario Bros. costumes for Rayman and Globox. These outfits aren’t at all a reason to go with the Wii U version in lieu of a different console installment, but they are a neat little exclusive for followers of the Big N who’ve patiently been awaiting the title’s arrival since the Wii U’s launch last year.
Rayman Legends has turned out to be well worth the wait. Despite Murfy’s segments being unavoidable, the game delivers on every promise that Ubisoft made. It’s without a doubt one of the most beautifully frustrating side-scrollers ever conceived. It’s a shame for Nintendo that they couldn’t keep this third party gem all to themselves.
Rayman Legends is now available on Wii U, as well as Xbox 360, PS3, PC, and Vita.
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