Last year’s Rayman Origins brought the limbless hero’s 2D platforming back into vogue, with beautiful art and fluid animation thanks to Ubisoft’s Ubi Art framework. That framework is now being applied to other projects, such as the upcoming Rayman Legends, but has also found its way onto mobile devices with a new 2D Rayman adventure – Rayman Jungle Run.
Rayman Jungle Run takes after the ‘auto-running’ genre that seems to be pervasive among mobiles these days. You have no control over Rayman’s speed, and little control over his direction, as he sprints through each level on his own accord. Your only interaction with the game comes in the form of simple taps on-screen.
The game has four sections, each of which add another aspect of Rayman you can control. In the first section, you can only make Rayman jump by hitting the touch-screen, and in subsequent ones you gain the ability to hover, climb up walls and punch enemies. This obviously will seem very limiting to veteran fans of the series, but when you have the imprecise controls of a device like a touch-screen smartphone, it makes a lot of sense.
Jungle Run is simply a huge amount of fun, and despite the limited controls, feels very much like Origins. Your aim in every level is to collect up to 100 lums, in exchange for prizes doled out at the end. Collecting most of them will yield special art, while finding every single last lum will grant you a tooth of the dead – used to unlock further levels. Rayman moves with great fluidity, slipping, sliding and scrabbling in a way that makes the platforming very addictive. You can easily lose a few hours replaying every level to collect all the lums in the game.
The only problem is that the game isn’t very long. There are forty levels and four super-tough challenges that can be unlocked using the teeth of the dead, Getting through all of these will only take you a handful of hours, even including the time it takes to practice perfect runs to get every lum. At the AU $2.99 pricepoint, it feels about right, but you probably won’t be getting too much playtime out of this one.
The Ubi Art framework, together with the beautifully drawn graphics, really makes Rayman Jungle Run a treat to play on a big screen. Playing on an iPad 3, the graphics are sharp, colourful and hold up at a buttery smooth frame-rate. Playing on a smaller device, the graphics didn’t fare quite so well, appearing a little pixellated. And, if you have an iPhone 5, be aware that the game hasn’t been updated to support the larger screen, yet. One disappointment is that many of the assets in the game appear to be re-used from Rayman Origins. That’s not a bad thing, since Origins looked great, but it does mean fans will be seeing a lot of familiar sights.
Rayman Jungle Run is easy to recommend for anyone looking for a fun auto-runner, or a slightly new spin on their favourite platformer. It may be a little simple for some, and there isn’t a huge amount of content, but it is bright, colourful, charming and extremely fun.