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Back in February, a promising Wii U exclusive title was unceremoniously delayed until at the latest September. Lots of fans (including yours truly) were reasonably angered by this, and the backlash was so huge that lead designer Michel Ancel joined in on the rage. Ubisoft has promised to make good about it with an all-new challenge mode exclusive to Wii U.
In addition to the app's release on the Wii U eShop today, it has also been confirmed that Rayman Legends will be releasing September 3rd, likely to avoid clashing with the release of Grand Theft Auto V. I've already been enjoying the regular Legends demo on Wii U, so how does the new Challenges App hold up? Well, I'll tell you.
First and foremost, the groundwork for this free application is essentially the original demo, with some new surprises, some unseen content, and of course an all-new online challenge mode with new levels. The idea of this is to see how you stack up with other gamers across the Miiverse, and to keep coming back every week (up until the game's launch) to see what new challenges await you. Also, you don't have to be attached to your TV to enjoy the demo; an Off-TV play option has been made available.
The base levels from the demo are still there--Teensies in Trouble, Toad Story and Castle Rock. In addition to that, there's a whole new level called Murfy's Dungeon which comprised the challenge portion of this app. The new level is awesome, with lots of screen-tapping and attention to detail required to make your way through it. While playing, you'll see 'ghosts' of other players making your way through. The one problem I have with it is that it's sometimes hard to tell your character from the ghosts, but I'm willing to let it slide for now.
What matters most to me is the fact that this app fluently shows off what exactly the Wii U is all about, just like the demo that came before this. You'll know exactly when it's time to shift your eyes to and from the TV and the GamePad, and it never once feels hectic to do so. You'll know when it's time to keep running, and when it's time to focus on the GamePad. Whether you're tapping away at flaming eyeballs, tickling bulging guards or simply popping bubbles, the gameplay is extremely top-notch.
If you never got to try the Rayman Legends demo, there's no time like the present to try it out. If you're still bitter over the delay, now is the time to collectively calm yourself down and give this application a whirl. This is something you'll be playing for weeks and hopefully months leading up to the release of Rayman Legends this late Summer.
UPDATE (4/26/2013): I didn't take into account when writing this that there were daily challenges as well. So in a way, this app gives you a good reason to check back daily.
In my original blog, I incorrectly reported Rayman Legends would be releasing August 27th. I have since corrected this. I regret the error.