Impressions: Rayman Legends Challenges App is frantic, addictive fun
I was just about ready to write off the recently released Rayman Legends Challenges App. I downloaded the free title to my Wii U because I was curious to see what it was all about, expecting it to be nothing more than some time trials and mini-stages with no real substantial value. Ultimately, I was wrong. The Rayman Legends Challenges App is a fun little download that you can return to again and again, and it gives you plenty of reasons to power on your Wii U system.
Challenges come in both daily and weekly forms. True to their name, daily challenges reset every day, and these are highly addictive affairs that will likely keep you busy for several minutes at a time. Daily challenges range from collecting a set number of Lums (those ditsy-looking winged sprites) as fast as possible to falling a predetermined distance while avoiding hazards (also as fast as possible). I doubted that I'd be enticed to play these challenges more than a single time, but once I got into them, I began testing myself to see if I could surpass my previous goal. Before I knew it, I had already spent about 30 minutes replaying the same challenge multiple times.
Too bad parachutes don't protect your ass from thorns.
Weekly challenges are a bit different, and they're actually tougher than the daily challenges. This makes sense, though, and the fact that you've got more than a single day to work on your progress in the weekly challenges means you can practice more and return to them without worrying about missing out on the fun. The only weekly challenge I've played so far had me using the GamePad's touchscreen to move platforms and remove obstacles as Rayman ran automatically through a level. The goal here was to get the limbless hero as far into the level as possible. It's a fun and hectic challenge, and the GamePad works incredibly well, creating a level that's pretty tricky but fair nonetheless. Like the daily challenges, it's just plain fun getting progressively better.
In addition to competing against yourself, you can also take on other players. You can toggle their ghost data on or off, though if you really want to get a sense of how well you're doing, you'll leave them on. Additionally, you can view how well other players are doing on the leaderboards. Here you can scope out the top players, see how your friends stack up, and keep track of your personal best records. There's a fun competitive edge to the Rayman Legends Challenges App that keeps you interested in how well others are doing and makes you want to return to the experience.
Challenges are superbly frenetic, especially when you add ghosts to the mix.
As if it weren't already addictive enough, the app throws in a few unlockables for good measure. Rayman is joined by several characters such as the blob-ish Globox, the goofy Teensies, and the ax-wielding Barbara. (She's a barbarian, get it? Of course you do!) Several other characters and costumes can be unlocked by collecting Lums, and a lot of these locked buddies will require you to gather several thousand Lums during your time spent with the app. While these extra characters mainly offer cosmetic diversity, it's still cool to play with different avatars. (Barbara's one of my personal favorites because of her aforementioned ax. Also, she's missing a tooth, which is endearing.)
If you're one of those reward-loving types, you'll be glad to know that the Rayman Legends Challenges App pushes you to try harder by offering you trophies for your troubles. Getting that prestigious gold trophy is fairly tough, and the more trophies you earn, the higher your Awesomeness score will be. It's a nice incentive that also lets you see just how well you're doing compared to other players. Additionally, reaching certain Awesomeness ranks opens up even more challenges, further pushing you to try harder.
As a wise pixelated (and likely senile) old-timer once said, "It's dangerous to go alone," so if you want to team up with a pal, you can do so. The Rayman Legends Challenges App includes two-player co-op, and just like Rayman Origins, you can have an absolute blast playing with someone locally. Thankfully, if you're playing on your own, the AI does a good job of filling the role of a competent partner.
Barbara is a quirky newcomer that fits in with Rayman and his odd pals. Except she has an ax, which means she could kill 'em all if she really wanted to.
In addition to all of the addictive content based around high scores and speedy times, the entire Rayman Legends demo is included in the app, so you can go ahead and delete the old demo off of your Wii U. (Seriously, do it.) These stages also reward you with trophies based on your completion, so even they'll keep you fairly busy. Strangely enough, these entertaining levels take a backseat to the fast-paced action of the challenges.
Let's be real here, folks: Ubisoft really only released the Rayman Legends Challenges App because the company wanted to give Wii U owners something — anything — for pushing the game back to coincide with the releases of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions. Thankfully, this apology-soaked offering is surprisingly awesome, and if you're thinking of purchasing Rayman Legends, you should totally download this free app. It'll likely get you even more stoked to play the upcoming platformer, and it'll put that underutilized Wii U to good use.
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