When I played the Wii U at best buy, I felt that I was having a better experience than some of the people that spent the 350 to 400 dollars on the device.
There is one reason for this, Rayman Legends. It was the game that was being demoed and it felt like it used the Game Pad controller better than what I have seen of launch games like New Super Mario Bros.
To be fair I haven’t played the Mario game but just looking at it, I just can’t see how just making platforms on the Game Pad in that game can be compelling. In contrast, in the first level I played in the demo I was having fun and participating in the action with the Game Pad. A kid who was about 5 or 6 was playing Rayman with me, he was doing the traditional platforming on the big screen tv while I was playing Murphy, the small flying character that helps him in doing various things by using the touchpad on the Game Pad.
I was doing all sorts of things, moving platforms, punching fire balls, cutting ropes, it all added up to an experience that felt involved. I know I just said that the platform building in Mario looks boring. But the difference with the Rayman demo is the way they used the Game Pad in a way that has been designed into the levels, they really thought about how to incorporate these actions into the level. In contrast the use of the Game Pad in Mario just seems tacked on.
The way I experienced the platform moving with the kid I was playing with is an good example of that, in the areas where he needed to wait for me to move the platform, he would jump before I had a real chance to move it. The levels were designed well enough that it wasn't a problem. I had to move those platforms at a hectic pace, but I could keep up. It was a unique challenge trying to keep up. My dad even kept mentioning that he needed to wait up, and unless I was imagining things, I heard a bit of amusement in his voice.
With some of the platforms, I had to touch a button on the platform and then rotate the Game Pad, which would cause the platform to rotate,it was a bit confusing at first, to be honest it could have used the often mocked “Look at the TV” message on the Game Pad that the demos had at E3 2011. But it’s not even really a flaw because you get used to it quickly. It was a small change but it helped keep the platform moving from getting boring.
In that level, we even cooperated. It was just little “Move that platform” and “slow down” type stuff, but it was still neat to be talking to someone through a game.
I liked doing all the simple motions required of me, things like cutting the rope and tapping on things to make collectables come out. I liked the tactile feeling of using the touchscreen. There was this cool amusing bit where one of the big enemies with spike amour could be tickled by rubbing him on the gamepad. It was a simple thing but it made me smile and the kid laugh out loud.
It’s things like that that makes the game stand out. The Rayman game just has a lot of life and personality. The second level in the demo was a heavy metal inspired run where the screen scrolled pretty fast, it provided a little challenge that required some trial and error.
But the level itself was just a blast to play. The character design and look of the lava and fire in the level just looked great. The music was this insane version of that song “Black Betty.” The sense of speed was smooth and the checkpointing was frequent enough that the trial and error was a fun challenge and not frustrating.
By the end of the level, while I watched Rayman head banging in victory, I was saying to myself “this is awesome.”
Its that type of craft that seems to be missing from the Wii U right now, and not all people with the system will play the demo. So they are left wondering where the great games are. Rayman Legends will be one of those great games if it can all can be as good as what I played.
This is a reblog from my site singingcheetah.com