Rayman Legends for Wii U is more fun when you're not Rayman

Hands-on with Ubisoft's Rayman Legends on Wii U.

Ubisoft opted to show off the Wii U version of Rayman's latest game at E3 by not letting us play as Rayman. Instead, we played as Murphy, Rayman's frog-fairy sidekick, in Rayman Legends. It was a good call.

While a Ubisoft rep took control of Rayman via the Wii U Pro Controller, we took charge of Murphy on the Wii U GamePad. We sliced through foliage to clear the path for Rayman, pulled electric blue tube-beasts from the ground to give Rayman a ladder, and cut through vines to drop tree trunks that acted as bridges for Rayman to walk across.

As Murphy, we were part puzzle solver, part guardian angel. We burst enemies that looked like flaming ghosts before they could toast Rayman. We pulled back a slingshot to fire at flying potbellied dragons that attempted to have Rayman for a snack. We rotated platforms and twisted mazes filled with spikes by tilting the Wii U GamePad left and right – surprisingly stressful, given Rayman's one hit, one kill rules – so Rayman could progress.

The demo ended, just like at Ubisoft's press conference earlier this week, with a fast-paced rhythm game level where we were required to tap-tap-tap on the GamePad touchscreen as Rayman sprinted to the right to the driving sounds of guitar rock.

When our time with Rayman Legends wrapped up, we only wanted more, as the Wii U game was a pleasant little surprise. We certainly had more fun than the man with the Wii U Pro Controller in his hand, who suffered plenty of deaths due to our novice control of Murphy.

Like last year's Rayman Origins, Legends is absolutely gorgeous, overflowing with beautiful 2D artwork.

Rayman Legends for Wii U features multiplayer for up to five players, four playing on screen with Wii Remotes or with Wii U Pro Controllers. How players might use Murphy on Rayman Legends other platforms – the game is also coming to PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo 3DS – we don't yet know. Ubisoft's not talking about those versions yet.

But when they do, it will be hard to live up to the Wii U version, which offers an extra layer of fun for whoever is holding the Wii U's touchscreen controller.

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