|Rayman Jungle Run|
|Buy from Amazon (for Android)|
After playing Rayman Origins earlier this year, I was eager for more Rayman run-and-jump. Not long afterwards, Rayman Legends details started leaking out at E3, and the salivating began. Unfortunately for me, Legends looks to be a Wii U exclusive, and I'll probably have to miss out on Wii U at launch.
So I'll probably have to wait a while for the next big Rayman platforming adventure. But Rayman Jungle Run on my Android phone is a decent consolation prize.
In brief, it's the aesthetics and mechanics of Rayman Origins applied to Canabalt-style auto-running. Rayman charges through gorgeous hand-drawn environments, racing towards the goal and collecting Lums in thirty second stages. Its smartphone-simple design means Jungle Run sacrifices some of the creativity, variety, and exploration of Origins, but it's got a few advantages of its own.
First, the automatic running means Rayman rarely slows down. The limbless wonder's fluid, springy movements were a kinetic joy in Rayman Origins, especially at full stride. With no directional control required, the player controls only Rayman's jumping and floating by tapping the left side of the screen. An attack function is also enabled in the last ten stages, triggered by tapping the right side. Though these are the game's only controls, Rayman's repertoire of bouncy animations provide an illusion of greater involvement.
The auto-run style also reels in the collectathon temptation, which stumbled Rayman Origins at times. There are still 100 Lums to collect in each stage, but the strict linearity means the yellow collectables hide in plain sight, often in sequences that lure the player to closer to danger or just off the forward path. Simply completing a stage will often net Rayman most of the Lums, but most levels will require at least a few retries to memorize the path to a full collection. Collecting Lums unlocks a small gallery of character art and four challenge stages that are every bit as hair-tearing as Rayman Origins' finale in the Land of the Livid Dead.
I would expect such a faithful conversion of Rayman Origins to struggle on smartphones, and my Galaxy Nexus had its share of slowdown. The game seemed to suffer most when collecting a string of Lums, but it was never enough to really effect the game. Still, it's a bit disappointing after the silky smooth console experience. Check your device's compatibility at the Google Play Store or the iOS App Store before buying.
There's not much more to say about Rayman Jungle Run because...well, there's not much to it besides finishing all 40 stages and collecting all 3,600 Lums. This lasted under two hours for me. Those who prefer their smartphone games to have high scores, leaderboards, and randomization will find no such addictions in Jungle Run. It's very much a one-and-done experience, though that one play features console quality visuals, audio, and mechanics, which isn't unexpected considering they're all directly ripped from a console game.
If you've played Rayman Origins and want a little more, Jungle Run is a decent supplement to the console game. For those without Origins experience, Jungle Run is a taste of one of this console generation's top platformers.
Is it worth the money? Yes. Three bucks is "premium" for smartphone games, but Jungle Run meets that tag in quality, if not quantity.
Is it worth the time? Yes. It's about as tight as an auto-running game can be, with just forty bite-size stages, hand-crafted with a decent variety among them.