Rayman Jungle Run review (iOS)
After last year's critically acclaimed Rayman Origins shook the video gaming world as we know it (yes, it was that good, and if you didn't buy it for its recently dropped $20 price, something's wrong with you), Ubisoft was trying to figure out a way to make the game work on the iOS front. Sure, they probably could've ported the whole damn thing, but it would've taken up a lot of room, and not everyone's crazy about touch-screen controls. So they came up with a more viable solution, revolving around a simplified control method and a mad hunt for Lums. And what do you know, it worked.
Rayman Jungle Run has a similar appearance to Origins when it comes to art design (it uses the same Ubi Art hand-drawn engine), as well as some of the tunes we remember from that game. However, it plays entirely different. Rayman, instead of being controlled directly by your actions, runs like crazy and continues to move forward. Even when he's swinging on a vine, he'll sway all the way to the right, as if he's hopped up on caffeine.
Anyway, your job is determined by which stages you're going through. You can tap a button in the early stages to make him jump, and even rebound off walls by successively hitting the screen multiple times, keeping him moving. Other abilities open up as you get to newer levels, including the ability to punch enemies and wall run without losing any spring in your step.
The goal of the game is split two-fold. The first half requires you to collect as many Lums as possible on each stage, up to a hundred. These usually involve free-flowing Lums and coins that are worth 20 Lums a pop. The other goal is to complete each stage as quickly as possible, as there's an online leaderboard for each one that keeps track of your quickest completions. Now, the online portion of the game isn't as competitive as you might think, as there's no real way to make Rayman go faster, but regardless, it's a fun feature that's worth trying out if you know friends that are picking this game up.
The first few levels of Rayman Jungle Run are easy, but get progressively harder with the introduction of more threats and enemies later on. The controls remain the same, easy to get into and yet hard to master, as sometimes you'll need to be absolutely precise in spots. Fortunately, you can quickly restart a stage with a tap on the upper-left of the screen.
Though the game's design isn't as varied as Origins was, the artwork looks stunning on the newer iPad devices (it works on the older ones as well), with great hand-drawn animations and gorgeous backgrounds. Likewise, the music is a fun collection in itself, especially when you start hearing Lums sing along to fast-paced Hawaiian luau tunes. No, we're not kidding.
The only problem with Rayman Jungle Run is the lack of replay value. Sure, the online leaderboards play a part, but once you beat a stage, that's pretty much it, save for unlocking a tooth for your dead buddy, who can open up a new world for you. You could shoot for quicker times, I suppose.
We can't recommend Rayman Jungle Run over Rayman Origins, because, honestly, the sheer fun of slapping friends in multiplayer can't be beat. However, if you're looking for a quick platforming/skill fix on your iPad device or want to take Rayman on the go in a different guise, this is a wonderful alternative that will certainly keep you busy for a little while.