Ubisoft’s Rayman Legends for Wii U comes up with so many new ways for friends to play together in the same room, we can’t even list them all. We played the game with one of its designers at E3 in Los Angeles this week and we can safely say that if local multiplayer with friends is your thing, this is a game you’ll want to watch out for.
The unique take on multiplayer is based on the Wii U GamePad, a controller for Nintendo’s upcoming console that resembles a tablet like the iPad. Sometimes the GamePad’s touchscreen shows exactly what the TV screen is showing (the Wii U streams the image wirelessly to any GamePad in the same room with little to no lag) but sometimes it shows a slightly different take on the game’s world. In either case, there are a lot of unexpected opportunities for cooperation.
The developer we played with used the Wii U Pro controller (though you can also use a Wii remote) to play as Rayman. His gameplay would be familiar to any gamer: running and jumping past obstacles like Mario and Sonic in a side-scrolling world. The other player (that would be us) used the GamePad’s touchscreen to play as a floating green ally to Rayman (pictured above).
Gameplay for the GamePad user resembles frenetic, casual iPad or iPhone games. We’d solve physics puzzles by cutting ropes to open up pathways for Rayman, or pick up enemies in his path and drop them off of cliffs. There was even a Guitar Hero or Rock Band-style music game in which we had to tap in rhythm with the music to clear a path for Rayman in a frantic chase scene.
The gameplay is most interesting when the two screens show different information, though. Sometime’s Rayman’s green friend can see traps where he can’t, so the GamePad-wielding player has to tap on the screen to identify safe or unsafe places for the TV player.
Rayman Legends will become available some time after the Wii U launches, but Ubisoft wouldn’t tell us exactly when. You can probably expect the game to be digitally downloadable like all Wii U games, if earlier reports are to be believed, but Ubisoft wouldn’t comment either way. The designer did say that Ubisoft is committed to digital downloads in general, and that it has released previous games online on day one.