Rayman Jungle Run is a brand new one-button (mostly) platformer for iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, and should be on Android this coming week. It requires quick reflexes, trial and error, and at least two thumbs to play. Rayman bolts through every level automatically without any help from the player. In fact, there’s no way to stop or slow him down at all. Players must use the power of tapping the touch screen to save our hero’s life every time he’s about to plummet to his death or strut across a carpet of spikes. Even though it’s a simple concept, Ubisoft and the developers at Pasta Games have found a way to make an adventure full of flying, wall jumping, and climbing without adding a complicated control scheme.
Jungle Run features 4 worlds with 9 levels each (not including a bonus time trial level if you’re skilled enough to unlock it). Every world introduces a new way to play and helps keep the overall experience fresh. World 1 is the most basic form of platforming out there: jumping. Rayman will pump his legless feet back and forth running as fast as he can hoping you can jump over any threats he might be too busy to see. Tapping briefly will impose a small hop and holding the touch screen for half a second will thrust him into a bigger leap. It’s still one button, but adding two functions allows for more complexity and challenge. Death is waiting for those who make the mistake of mixing them up.
Every collectible counts!
World 2 complicates the game even further by adding yet another function. Holding down the touch screen will allow Rayman to fly (more like float) for a short period of time. This allows him to take advantage of wind currents in the environment in order to get across large chasms or find secrets in places his puppeteer is sharp enough to look. As always, the stages are built to accommodate your new toy and blend perfectly with the skills you already have.
World 3, of course, ushers in new gameplay but decides to mold it into the 2D environment rather than add too many commands for one finger. With enough speed, Rayman can now run up walls and zig-zag through a whole batch of levels catered to sliding around mountains like a roller coaster. Every new world still retains the rules and abilities of the worlds before it, so it’s imperative to retain what you’ve learned and it never hurts to go backwards for a little practice before progressing. Either way, it’s another simple addition in a near unimpeachable experience, thus far.
The 4th and last world is definitely the weakest. A second button is added on the right side of the screen for punching and kicking. It doesn’t add much and destroys the simplicity of the controls. Furthermore, 30 levels of the game taught players it was okay to tap anywhere on the screen to jump but now, all of a sudden, the right side is off limits. This is sure to throw off anyone who was using their right thumb to jump the entire game until now. If they planned to add a second button this far into the experience, limiting player choice on where to tap for the first two-thirds of the game could have erased a lot of headaches. Although, not adding two-thumb play at all would have been the better choice.
You’ll beat the game in about an hour or so but easily triple that (and beyond) by going back and perfecting every level. Stages are peppered with little, golden, fireflies that look like they got lost on their way to a Quidditch match. They’re easily comparable to the coins in Mario or the rings in sonic and offer quite a bit of replayability as the finesse of jumping and sliding flawlessly through levels is directly connected to collecting every single glowing gnat. Not only is 100% completion satisfying but it also unlocks new levels testing you’re speed with an overbearing timer at the top of the screen. Think of it as a final test to prove yourself at the end of every world.
It’s difficult not to use the cliché “easy to learn, difficult to master” considering how faithfully Rayman Jungle Run embodies this old adage. The ticket price of $2.99 is well worth the amount of quality content given, even though there are cheaper titles on the app store with more gameplay. Free downloadable content would be a smart way to add value for future purchasers and past supporters, but it stands up great in its current state as well. With the inclusion of Game Center Achievements and a few other fun, peripheral unlocks (like concept art), you’ll easily spend hours striving to complete everything this title has to offer. Spend a few bucks and enjoy one of the most fluid platformers available on iOS or Android today.
Fluid and fun platforming | Addicting replay value | Simple controls
Final world is disappointing
Little David Galanter grew up in Orange County, CA loving videogames and anything else that repelled girls. After getting his Bachelor's Degree in Theatre Arts, David decided to start contributing his soft silky words to the world via online media. He currently owns a website with a weekly podcast (www.drgman.com) and is a reviewer for Default Prime!
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