Review – Rayman Jungle Run
OverviewPlatform: Android, iOS
+ Touch controls hold up surprisingly well
+ Console-quality graphics
+ Music is catchy and fitting
- Music gets repetitive with so few tracks
- No Time Trials on normal levels
Rayman Jungle Run is the new reigning king of mobile gaming. The only negative thing about it is that it ends.
Let me start out by saying two things. One, the console version of Rayman Origins is one of my favorite all-time games. Two, the appeal of most auto-runner games is lost on me. Having said that, Rayman Jungle Run does auto-runner perfectly. As much as I respect Temple Run and Mirror’s Edge for their fast-paced, addictive gameplay, they all seem to break down in either gameplay or control. Rayman does not. In fact, Rayman Jungle Run eases you into touch controls as you progress specifically to get you over the inherent issues that come without having a tactile controller. The first ‘world’ is all about running and tap-to-jump action. There are few obstacles and a ton of jumps to get you accustomed to platforming on demand. The next worlds fold in floating (via Rayman’s hair-a-copter), then wall-running, and finally combat via another virtual touch button. Only in this last portion does the game rarely but occasionally frustrate you by having one fixed button and one tap-anywhere button which can lead to quite a few deaths. There’s nothing wrong with the concept, per se, but after spoiling you with allowing you to tap anywhere to jump, adding a fixed button takes some precision you may need to practice to perfect.
Rayman Jungle Run, for iOS and Android, by all accounts should be terrible. It’s a console port to a mobile phone, it’s a touch-controlled platformer, and it’s developed by a company with seemingly little experience with the genre. Instead, this game shines. The graphics are stellar, vivid, crisp, and gorgeous, pulling from the Ubi-art engine used on the console counterpart, Rayman Origins. None of the animations are dumbed down, none of the levels feel shrunk, and really the only thing missing from this game at all is the depth of music found in Origins. There are only about half a dozen total songs in Jungle Run, which for 40 levels gets old pretty quickly. I can’t fault the game as a whole for not putting in the entire awesome soundtrack, but it would have definitely pushed it over the top. The other mentionable content is a gallery mode that allows you to unlock backgrounds for your device featuring characters and scenes from the game. There are also the standard achievements and leaderboards most games feature.
For those unfamiliar with the console hit, Rayman Origins, the concept is very basic in that Rayman (and his pals) run and jump through levels rescuing little yellow blob things called Lums. In Jungle Run, Rayman does the running while you grab 100 Lums per level. If you manage to grab them all along the way, you are rewarded with a red tooth. Grab five red teeth in a single world and it unlocks a very challenging, Lum-free time trial level. Unfortunately, these are the only Time Trials in the game. Time Trials in Origins were one of the highlights of the game, so having them absent from Jungle Run seems like a missed opportunity. Perhaps Ubisoft will reward us with DLC down the road.
Rayman Jungle Run has set a new bar for quality in a mobile game. Pastagames and Ubisoft clearly took their time with this and worked out a way to make touch controls an advantage instead of a hinderance. Unless action games aren’t your cup of tea, you absolutely need to download Rayman Jungle Run.