Ubisoft managed to do a great job of rebooting its Rayman franchise with the well received Origins game for consoles last year and now it's hoping to repeat that success with Rayman Jungle Run on phones and tablets. The good news is that it largely succeeds. Rayman Jungle Run is available for both iOS and Android devices and for this review we tested it on an iPad.
As its name suggests, the title revolves around runner-style game play. Essentially, once Rayman starts running, he keeps on going until he reaches the end of the level. You control his special moves for particular types of levels – jumping, flying, wall running and punching – just by swiping on the screen. Think of a Sonic-style platformer that's got the forward button pressed down and you won't be far of its style of gameplay. The control system may sound overly simplistic, but it actually works extremely well for this type of game.
Also it's nice the way the game gradually increases the range of different moves that you can perform. For example, in the first set of levels you're limited to jumping, but in the second you can swipe back and forth on the screen to make Rayman do a helicopter-type spin so he can hover in the air for a bit. In the third you get the ability to run up walls and in the fourth you can start to punch stuff.
If you want to do well at Jungle Run it becomes all about timing and keeping a close eye on what obstacles or obscured passages are coming up. That's easier said than done, especially as the levels move along at a frantic pace. Achieving top scores becomes a good deal more difficult as you progress, because the levels become more intricate and you have to deal with trickier obstacles and enemies in your way.
Thankfully the levels avoid being overly repetitive as the game keeps things fresh by introducing new environments and obstacles, and even enemies later on, as you progress.
The graphics may be 2D, but they really are beautiful. The character designs and animation are almost Disney-eque, while the multidirectional scrolling is smoother than glass. The music is suitably silly and upbeat, and the cartoony sound effects perfectly compliment the characters.
The only real issue we have with the game is that if you're not obsessive about achieving perfect runs it can seem quite easy. The longevity here comes from replaying levels again and again to collect all the goodies and achieve that perfect score, something that not everyone is going to be into.
Rayman Jungle Run's cartoony graphics and sound effects, as well as its pacey yet simple game mechanics, make it a fun game to play.