Rayman Jungle Run is a magical side-scroller from long-time studio Ubisoft. The limbless wonder has been absent from our screens for quite some time but has burst back with all the delirious jumbled colour of the original console game. Rayman Jungle Run is a zany, high-paced, giddily enjoyable game that makes the best use of touch-sensitive tablets and phones.
In this game backgrounds are lovingly rendered, characters – even the most incidental ones – display their own unique zaniness, and the animations are some of the most fluid I’ve ever seen in a platformer. The pace of the game has not been used as an excuse for cutting corners – despite being bright and bold there is a pixel-perfect attention to the finest details. Rayman himself is meticulously created, with deranged faces to match his every movement. This game is as wonderful to watch as it is to play.
Gameplay. How much variety can you squeeze in to a side-scroller? Not much, admittedly, but UbiSoft have done the very best they could. So much time has been spent on the fine details that the perhaps less-than-expected quantity of content might be excused. It’s not a game that you’ll be able to play forever, but there’s enough to keep the casual player satisfied.
The game’s difficulty curve is beautifully crafted – you can jump straight into the later levels (and they’re doable) if you so desire, but it’s still worth playing from the beginning to learn the ropes. There’s a series of super-hard levels, too, which certainly left me for dead. There no real narrative, but that’s never been Rayman’s strong point, to be honest – so it’s definitely a dip-in, dip-out kind of game. UbiSoft have no problem marketing it as such and the game delivers exactly what it promises. 8/10 for the old school gameplay and because those Land of the Livid Dead levels get so damn hard towards the end.
Despite rushing through the game’s main ‘story arc’ fairly rapidly, I found myself revisiting earlier levels purely for the simplicity they offered. It’s wasn’t just a case of ease – the first few levels take a less complex approach to controls, making the game’s art all the more appreciable. There’s also the Final Fantasy-like addictiveness of attempting to collect every single bit of treasure in a level, and the challenge of unlocking the impossible ones. As you have to be pretty good to collect the entire treasure trove, success grants you access to appropriately touch extensions. Since this is so finely-honed and – above all – lengthy, the game keeps on giving well beyond its £1.99 sell-by date. 7/10 here, because returning to a level again, and again to collect all the dragons’ teeth is not strictly ‘replay’.
Overall Rayman Jungle Run is a winner, and deserves a place on your device. To make the most of the fluid gameplay, an Android powered tablet would probably be best in my opinion, but other smartphones will also do the job adequately. If you’re in dire need of a sugar rush but there are no sweets in sight, this app might just put the giddy happiness back into your day. Just don’t come complaining to me if you can’t stop smiling.