Rayman Jungle Run
Android; iOS Developer:
Ubisoft Montreal / Pastagames Publisher:
Ubisoft Release Date:
Pocket-sized mobile versions of AAA console titles are all the rage these days.
First there was Assassin’s Creed: Altair’s Chronicles, ported from the Nintendo DS. Then there was Batman: Arkham City Lockdown and The Dark Knight Rises. They might sell well, but these kinds of mobile games rarely capture a fraction of what made the original console titles so popular. And then there’s Rayman Jungle Run: a downsized mobile game that effortlessly simplifies the mechanics of Rayman: Origins without losing an ounce of playability or character.
Rayman Jungle Run uses the characters, animations, sounds and gameplay ideas from the 2011 sleeper hit Rayman: Origins, translating them exactly with one exception: the ability to actually control Rayman. Yes, as the name implies, Rayman Jungle Run is an auto-runner. But unlike most auto-runners, Jungle Run doesn’t treat the simplified one-touch control scheme as an excuse to get lazy. Instead, everything in this instant classic feels concise and refined.
Another thing developers Ubisoft Montpellier and Pastagames got right with Jungle Run is level design. I’ve played and reviewed dozens of mobile indie platformers this year, both trendy physics-based affairs and more traditional run-and-jumps. However, a lack of consistent, well-executed level design has been a theme throughout most of my reviews. Like a shining beacon, each of the 40 stages in Rayman Jungle Run sparkle and shine, thanks to both the slick visuals and the smart level designs that the development team has put together. Environments and challenges are diverse enough to keep players constantly anticipating what’s coming next, while providing a level of challenge that will have players meticulously completing each stage to accomplish those perfect scores and beat their time trials.
Ultimately, there’s very little to complain about in Rayman Jungle Run. Without even mentioning the incredible art direction and sound design, it’s a game that raises the bar for big franchises trying to make some extra money moving to the touch screen. It’s the kind of game that could easily stand on its own apart from the popularity of the successful franchise and will undoubtedly shape the future of the genre.