Last year saw the release of Rayman Origins, which after several 3D releases (Which I was introduced to the series through), returned to its classical side-scrolling platforming gameplay with its own unique visual, audio and gameplay elements which helped set it apart from the crowd. Not only did the game walk out with a S-Rank in my review of it, but also came second place in my Game of the Year 2011 article.
While we wait for Rayman Legends on the Wii U, Ubisoft is providing fans with a bite-sized version of Rayman Origins under the title ‘Rayman Jungle Run’ for the iOS and Android devices. Developed by Pasta Games and Ubisoft Montpellier and published by Ubisoft at a price of $2.99, you are treated to forty levels split up into four sections representing a new skill.
While the limitations of the iOS and Android devices mean you are not getting the full Rayman Origins experience… at the price it is at I would consider it good value for money with ample entertainment and replay value. This is my review of the iPad version of the game.
Rayman Jungle Run is set to be fast paced platforming game where all movements (Which consists of a running motion) are left to the game, leaving you to make use of four of Rayman’s abilities – jumping, hovering, wall scaling and punching. Each of the games 40 stages are split up into sets of 10, where each set will earn you an extra skill – so while you begin with jumping by the end you have to mix this in with all Rayman’s other abilities, and despite how simple this sounds it actually proves quite challenging at points. Stages are usually less than a minute in length so theoretically it is possible to complete them all in an hour or two, but that is not where the replayability lies.
Instead replayability lies in collecting yellow lums and this can prove a bit more of a challenge in the later levels (and in some of the earlier levels thinking about it). Unlike other games where you can easily backtrack and collect a missing item, the only way to run through the forest is forwards and with the exception of a few stages where you can drop back down a pit to collect missed lums, most of the time there is no backtracking without restarting the level. Collecting all lums can prove easy but for others they appear right at your face and require skill, timing and luck to collect all 100…. and thats not even factoring in the other traps and obstructions waiting for you in the stages.
Collecting all 100 lums in a stage is a goal that is well worth the effort as the tenth stage in every set is a ‘Land of the Living Dead’ stage, where there are no lums in your path but instead your only goal is to get to the end of rather difficult stages. Every time you 100% complete a stage you obtain a tooth, and by earning enough of them in a set you can unlock one of these stages. While difficulty varies, the game isn’t simply designed and makes use of its system well to merit your time and money in playing.
When it came to Rayman Origins, only part of the games value came from the gameplay with equal value being to the whole experience of play with it… namely the visuals and music. On the iPad version of the game at least, the visuals look like they came straight out of the console release with the same quirky designs and creatively planned out stages which are teeming with life and activity.. Unfortunately given the short nature of the game, while the music was of solid quality the variety wasn’t there, and a few more tracks wouldn’t have been bad.
While the short and fast-paced stages worked for me, there were a few areas for concern that would hopefully be fixed with updates or expansions. Given they split the game up into four sections each with different abilities attached to them, they tended to spend the first half of them focusing more exclusively towards the skill you just unlocked and with only 10 stages with every ability unlocked I didn’t feel like I was getting the whole game. Hopefully Ubisoft will find it fitting to release future updates with more levels that make use of all four skills and even more creatively designed.
At the price of $2.99, you get a 40-stage game, potentially a solid amount of replayability, plenty of unlockables and achievements to go around and an aesthetically pleasing game. For that price I think you are getting pretty good value for money and is a great way to spend a free couple of minutes sparingly or a couple of hours. Ubisoft and the development teams have delivered another great installment in the Rayman franchise and one of the more notable iPad apps I have played for a while.
Overall Score: A-