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Talking Point: Test Running Rayman Legends

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

The art of a good demo

Yesterday the demo for Rayman Legends arrived on the Wii U eShop in both Europe and North America, and a number of gamers who wanted this title at launch eagerly started the download. There are a few things to say about it, both in terms of the glimpse it gives us of the game and how it is, essentially, the epitome of a well defined and structured demo.

First of all, let's talk about what the demo offers, so if you'd rather not know about the individual levels skip ahead until we say you can read in safety. First up is Teensies in Trouble, and the demo insists that you play this level first so that you can get familiar with the controls, and also because it's comfortably the easiest to play. You have a small initial section to master the platforming basics and marvel at the visual fidelity, animation and frame rate. As you're likely to read in any impressions about this demo, it's absolutely gorgeous, highlighting what Nintendo's system is capable of achieving given the circumstances and developers to make it happen.

You've barely made any progress when you encounter a trapped hero, with the game prompting you to release Murphy, the assist character that personifies the GamePad elements of play. In single player this level shows you how the Murphy sections will work when not in co-op. The on-screen character is instantly controlled by some pleasingly capable AI, and you're tasked with tapping and swiping on the touch screen, as well as tilting the whole controller to move rotating obstacles on the TV. It all works, the controls are intuitive and the AI character knows what its doing, but without the camaraderie of another player in local-co-op it felt clever without being that much fun. We don't know how much Murphy will feature in single-player yet, but his role elicits more joy in multiplayer.

Once that stage is cleared you can choose from Toad Story and Castle Rock, both of which leave you in full control of the main character. Toad Story takes place in an attractive swamp setting, and also boasts a glorious soundtrack heavily inspired by Oriental music. It's wonderfully atmospheric, and this level mainly involves using gusts of air to carefully glide through treacherous areas, avoiding various predators and seeking out any hidden extras. It feels almost like a puzzle platformer at points, and perfectly demonstrates the potential for an eclectic range of game styles in this title.

If Toad Story is an ambient, sedate experience, Castle Rock is the opposite. It's equally glorious, however, as you simply sprint to the right, attack and jump while ensuring that you don't lose momentum. It's already attracted attention since footage emerged months ago, but actually playing it is an unrelenting joy. The music is infectiously catchy, the platforming is inch-perfect and breathtaking, and despite the crazy amount of action and gorgeous backgrounds on the screen it never drops a frame. It's a feast for the eyes, ears and thumbs, 90 seconds of exhilarating action that'll keep you coming back.

End of level spoilers! And you can keep coming back. Despite the 30 play limit on this demo, once you're in it places no restrictions on how much you play. Teensies in Trouble and Toad Story actually encourage multiple play-throughs, as you may not find and rescue all of the caged critters at the first time of asking; there are indicators above the stage entry paintings — which you leap into in order to start a level — showing whether you've collected everything. The Collection of Heroes painting even lets you choose from five different playable characters, which is fun in its own right to see their own individual animations and moves — each also has a unique celebration at the end of Castle Rock. Delightfully, full local multiplayer for up to five players is an option — we used the GamePad for Murphy and a Wii Classic Controller — which gives each level a new flavour when you have some friends around. When you throw in a beautiful HD trailer in the painting on the far left, there's plenty to amuse in this download.

Which brings us to a key point. Not only is this demo an exciting glimpse into what could be a fantastic Wii U exclusive, but it shows how these offerings should be done; a perfect example of how a bit of effort can make a major difference. Ubisoft didn't need to include a stylish level select area, offer different playable characters or even put multiplayer on the table, it could have just provided a bare bones menu, samey stages and then kicked us out after playing each level once. The fact it didn't do that makes a difference to the impression this download makes, and naturally earns a more favourable opinion on the potential for the full game. It sets the standard that, we hope, other publishers will follow with demos in the future.

And we want to see plenty of them. With Nintendo keen to promote its Wii U eShop, hosting a number of high quality retail and download-only game demos would certainly help. Nothing helps gamers make informed choices like actually playing some of the game, so we hope that developers with confidence in their work will be only too keen to join in.

What do you think of the Rayman Legends demo, in terms of the game itself and also how it's presented? Let us know in the comments below.

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User Comments (43)

Klunk23

#1

Klunk23 said:

This was acctually the demo that the gamestop near me had before the wii U even launched. me and my freind play it everytime we go there. But they have not gotten any new demos since they put the wii u out.

Wonder_Ideal

#2

Wonder_Ideal said:

I have to say I was very impressed with the demo. It provided three excellent stages that show off what this game is about. And it gives players who are new to the series a chance to get used to the controls. I've been sold on this game for a long time now, but the demo just made me want it even more.

WanderingPB

#3

WanderingPB said:

This demo reaffirms the fact that im goin to buy Rayman Legends…and hives me high hopes of what the final game will be

Joshers744

#4

Joshers744 said:

The demo does it job at making me want to buy the game itself when it comes out. It's looks, and feels fantastic.

bennyt

#7

bennyt said:

Played this earlier today and I was very impressed. Loving all the game-pad features such as tickling monsters, moving platforms and omg, the music to the last stage, so catchy, i could listen to that all day...please ubisoft, release a collectors edition or something with an art book and soundtrack, that would be amazing.

Day one easily

DerpSandwich

#8

DerpSandwich said:

Castle Rock, as I suspected it would be, was an absolute blast. The rest of the demo is fun, but Castle Rock is really what sells it for me, and I can only hope that there are plenty of levels like it.

Haxonberik

#9

Haxonberik said:

I had the game pre-ordered with the Wii U before I knew of the delay so this is practically the killer app for me until Pikmin 3.

cheapogamer4life

#10

cheapogamer4life said:

Played this with my sister at GS yesterday. Good times. To bad all the other wii u games were only demos though.

ShadJV

#11

ShadJV said:

This sets a beautiful bar for demos. It's like getting a slice of cake before buying it. Three levels is more than just a bite but just enough to help you decide if you will want more. It's polished as well as a finished game and let's you even share with friends thanks to multiplayer. The Sonic racing demo was nice and I'll probably get that game eventually but made me wish I could try multiplayer and more than one character. This Rayman demo got it so perfect though that, if it was out, I wouldn't get it "eventually", I'd get it NOW, and with 30 tries I could share it with my friends and keep myself hyped until it comes.

Shanksta

#12

Shanksta said:

I like how they added Toad Story for those people who have played the instore demo which only had the other 2.

Jack_Package

#13

Jack_Package said:

This demo actually made me a little anxious about the final product. The touch screen level is sooooo flat and lacks any real challenge. Worried about how these levels fit in with the rest of the single player campaign.

Savino

#15

Savino said:

Listen what I say... Murphy levels will be the hardest to beat in later stages!
I can really ser what Ubi did there!

Just imagine the timing you will need when the AI (or the other player) be force to run!? Fast levels where you will need to cut hopes and throw stuffs in a split second to save your partner skin...

Yeah... This will be good!

N_PowerGlove

#16

N_PowerGlove said:

The touch game pad stage is fun but annoying at the same time i dont want to always be looking up and down. But the demo over all is amazing and the music rocks. I hope the next mario looks this good.

Wolfbiggr

#18

Wolfbiggr said:

@ klunk23

Though similar, this is not the same demo that you'll find in the WiiU demo stations at GameStop or bestbuy.

PinkSpider

#19

PinkSpider said:

In one simple level this game has proved that touch screen gaming can work extremely well. Android and Iphone developers should take notes, then maybe your see some decent phone games.

MrWalkieTalkie

#20

MrWalkieTalkie said:

@N_PowerGlove Mario already looks amazing! Both Rayman and Mario are platformers with obvious differences but should remain as such, I dont want every game to play and look the same!

PinkSpider

#21

PinkSpider said:

I hate to say it and I can't believe i'm saying but i've had more fun playing this demo than the entire new super mario bros 1 and 2.
Until Mario Galaxy comes out which are the definitive mario games for me now.
Nintendo need to rethink there side scrolling creativity for the next one if they decide to release another new super mario bros as to be honest they have become quite stale and our surviving on the name alone.
Don't get me wrong they are good platform games but when something this creative comes along it really opens your eyes.

Advancedcaveman

#24

Advancedcaveman said:

I got really concerned when I tried this game in a store. For about 2 or 3 minutes it was great; just like Rayman Origins but with more vibrant graphics and a cool new character. But then it basically turned into an iphone game. The character starts autoscrolling and you're relegated to pecking at the touch screen and turning the controller to move platforms. I don't want this cellphone minigame BS; I want to play a platformer.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#27

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Fantastic demo. Castle Rock especially. The first time I played it I laughed out loud with gaming joy.

luminalace

#29

luminalace said:

Wow loved the demo but I have got everything now. I wish Castle Rock had some sort of achievement system or a timer so I would be encouraged to go back. Anyway what a gorgeous game.

Lobster

#30

Lobster said:

This is surely the best demo I've ever played, and I've played a few that caused insta-downloads (Art of Balance, Denpa Men). Simply gorgeous and I am positive I will be getting it asap, despite never getting a single Rayman game before! I don't even like platformers, haha! I haven't even gotten around to playing the whole thing; there's a lot of depth to it. Love the mechanics and love the feel of it. The whole package is wonderful and gives me high hopes for the game itself.

Sun

#31

Sun said:

Amazing. This proves that New Super Mario Bros. U could have been 1080p too.

AyeHaley

#34

AyeHaley said:

@Sun Yes, I still wonder why Nintendo went 720 with that game (and others). Its their hardware! How is that even a possibility? 1080 should be their standard.

Adam

#35

Adam said:

Luckily I demoed this at Gamestop where I was able to play the amusing music based level where you are just running right constantly, so I know it isn't as awful as it seems, but I don't understand who they think would find it fun to play Murphy alone. I quit a few minutes into the demo when I downloaded it at home.

Emaan

#36

Emaan said:

I found the demo to be quite wonderful. The presentation was gorgeous and the music was quirky and fun. Not sure if I would get the full game of this, but Ubisoft definitely did a swell job.

gavn64

#39

gavn64 said:

castle rock ROCKS!!!!!!" everybody with a wiiu better buy this game man it seems even better than origins.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#40

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Castle Rock! Just brilliant. Classic rock and video gaming is a match made in heaven for me. Oh and the humourous animation.

My kids keep singing "aww bak baywee - bam-bah-lam". Thanks a lot Ubi! :)

Banker-Style

#41

Banker-Style said:

Played a bit in Game,I enjoyed it even though I could played it for more than a couple of minuets.

evildevil97

#42

evildevil97 said:

Demo for Legends impressed me more than the demo for Origins. I think Castle Rock sold me on the game.

I really should finish Origins first though.

SparkOfSpirit

#43

SparkOfSpirit said:

This demo is excellent. It fixes every issue I had with Origins and it might just be GOTY for 2013.

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