The wait is over - Ubisoft’s long-awaited Rayman Legends is now available! This follow-up to 2011’s Rayman Origins outdoes it in every way, from spellbinding visuals and music to improved gameplay to a number of new challenges.

It can be a little overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re getting into. Legends’ difficulty can pick up if you hop into the wrong areas, and you’ll be scouring every corner to locate all the Lums and hidden characters in the game.

Not to worry. Legends remains a fun, entertaining game, and with our help, you’ll ease into its rhythm in no time flat.

Know Your Abilities

As you progress through Rayman Legends, you’ll unlock a number of abilities that prove to be useful. For instance, jumping and holding down the A button allows you to hover, which is great for getting across gaps. You can also leap off walls, which is good for locating out-of-view goodies, like Lum coins and Teensies. Just hit the jump button after coming off a wall and you’ll continue to ascend.

Attacking is also pivotal in the game. It’s easy, though. You can perform straightforward punching attacks, as well as striking enemies from above. Jumping attacks are also useful, especially when you’re getting through barriers or hitting airborne enemies. You can also perform a “slam” technique by holding down the analog stick and hitting the attack button. It gets you through barriers much more quickly than a casual strike.

Sprinting is also a vital part of the game, activated by holding down the right trigger and moving in a direction. In some stages, you’ll need to use this, because you’ll be overcome by a solar wave, a running enemy or other dangers. The important thing with these stages is to just keep running, watching out for Lums, gaps and caged Teensies along the way.

Finally, with the PS Vita and Wii U versions of the game, tilting and touching will be required. There are segments that introduce Murfy, a helpful flying fairy, who then changes the world based on your commands so that an automatically controlled Globox can get through them. It’s important to keep him on the straight track, although if there are Lums or Teensies to collect, you can attempt to divert his path to get him there. These are fun segments in the game, though these stages are also included in the other versions of the game, but with manual player controls on the shoulder buttons.

Start Out Slow

With Rayman Legends, challenge levels vary with skull rankings, going from one to five. Level one stages are the easiest, and a good way to get oriented with the game. When you’re ready, move on to level two, and so forth, until you get to level five. These levels will eat you alive, with either fast running stages or other obstacles that could pose a problem, so make sure you know what you’re getting into. Run through the other stages first before taking the challenge. In fact, you might want to do some of the tougher ones a second time through, not only to get an idea of the ramped learning curve, but also to collect any Lums or Teensies you missed.

Remember – slow and steady win the race. Plus, you’ll unlock new characters along the way, and some are better suited for the challenges you’ll face.

Bring Your Friends

Rayman Legends is enjoyable as a single-player experience, but the real pleasure comes from inviting friends to join up. Up to four players can take part in each stage locally, running around, slapping each other like crazy and collecting all the Lums and Teensies as a group.

Like the single player game, difficulty ramps up in later stages. If a player somehow falls behind, they’ll inflate and float along in the stage until someone revives them. However, if all four lose the stage, they’ll have to start over again. Make sure your friends stay “in it to win it,” so to speak

It’s best to start in a solo round to get a feel for the game, then bring some buddies in to help complete your quest. Unfortunately, it’s off-line only, but it’s a good way to goof off with folks on the couch, without blaming each other over who missed which Lum. It’s all about cooperative play – though you can still get some slaps in.

Rayman Legends is available now for PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U and PlayStation Vita.