By Nicholas Simonovski
Despite the fact the franchise has been around for almost two decades, Rayman is a character I’ve never really come across in the past. Recently however I checked out the latest instalment in the Rayman series, Rayman: Jungle Run for iOS/Android. Finally acquainted with our limbless hero, the question to be answered is – is this game worth the purchase, or one people should run away from?
The premise behind Rayman: Jungle Run is nicely summed up in its title – you play as Rayman as he, well... runs through the jungle. The game consists of four groups of 10 stages, each revolving around a different skill Rayman can use (jump, glide, wall run and attack). There are nine stages within each group and a bonus level referred to as the ‘Land of the Dead’ which is unlocked if you collect five red gems (known as Death’s teeth) – obtained if you collect all 100 Lums within a stage.
To begin with, the brilliance of this game lies in its simplicity. As we seen from most popular iOS/Android games, the most the player really has to do is either tap the screen or hold down their finger. The levels look amazing, the gameplay isn’t complicated (its literally use the skills mentioned above to clear a level while collecting the Lums as you go) and overall, it’s just fun to play. I must admit, I even had feelings of nostalgia of games like Donkey Kong Country 2 on the SNES as I had to navigate Rayman through thorny vines where touching them would be an instant death. Wall-riding and wall-kicking brought back memories of Super Mario 64 as well.
While your times are recorded for all levels, it’s the amount of Lums that you collect which determines your final rating for the stage. Depending on whether you collect some of the Lums, most or all of them in the level, you’ll be rewarded with either a blue, green or red gem (the final being Death’s tooth), respectively. While most levels can be finished relatively quickly and easily (I was able to run through (pun intended) all levels within two hours or so), the challenge to collect all Lums and Death’s teeth will require considerably more time and patience. This said, the Land of the Dead levels are much more difficult to complete but even when some stages required more than 20 restarts until I figured out a strategy, I never found myself being frustrated while playing the game.
I was beginning to question whether platformers could be fun in this day and age after how disappointed I was with New Super Mario Bros 2. Fortunately, Rayman: Jungle Run answers this question with ‘yes.' The game isn’t particularly long -- nor is it particularly challenging -- but what it lacks in those two respects it more than makes up for it in simply being a fun game to play. Irrespective of whether you’re a casual or a hardcore gamer, it’s a title everyone can enjoy. For only $2.99, it’s something I happily recommend adding to your collection of games for your iOS or Android device.