"No Legs, But Can't Stop Running"
Translating console games to mobile phones has proven a challenging task for many big-name companies. The touch screen interface isn't an adequate replacement for physical buttons, and most console games weren't designed for five-minute play sessions. As a result, developers porting established series to mobile devices either try their best to bring a full game to a touch screen device, or they bring the series to the small screen in a heavily abridged version. Rayman: Jungle Run represents the latter choice, but Ubisoft put such care into this bite-sized version of Rayman Origins that it's still an excellent title.
Rayman: Jungle Run draws heavily (if not entirely) from Rayman Origins, the limbless hero's critically acclaimed reboot. That game, which is now playable on all modern consoles and handhelds (and is strongly, strongly recommended by this author), was an old-school 2D platformer with exceptionally inventive visuals and level designs. The original title had huge worlds filled with all sorts of bizarre enemies and traps, where a giant canary covered in spikes was one of the game's least unusual hazards. Rayman: Jungle Run is a much simpler version, taking the art assets of its predecessor for a smaller game better suited to smartphone gamers. Thankfully, the graphics are rendered in high definition, and the game is almost as pretty as Rayman Origins. Given how much of the original's appeal was tied to its wild sprite animations, this helps Rayman: Jungle Run maintain Rayman Origins' charm.
Playing Rayman: Jungle Run is reminiscent of the chase missions in Rayman Origins, where the limbless hero runs continuously across an obstacle course. Like many mobile phone games, Rayman: Jungle Run has its hero run continuously, only jumping with player input and stopping after reaching the end or reaching his death. Rayman is well suited to an endless running game, and the levels are all clever new designs using Rayman Origins sprites. Players fearing a dumbed-down game need not worry about the difficulty, because Rayman: Jungle Run gets very tough very quickly. Getting perfect scores on levels is especially challenging, as there are mere split-second gaps between acquiring a Lum (the collectable anthropomorphic tokens of the series) and plummeting to Rayman's death.
Rayman: Jungle Run is not a smartphone version of Rayman Origins, nor does it pretend to be. Anyone expecting a sprawling side-scrolling adventure like that modern classic will be sorely disappointed. However, it is a fun game that's easy to get into and offers several degrees of challenge. As far as simple time-wasters go, Rayman: Jungle Run is one of the best available for both Apple's App Store and Google Play.
GameDynamo's Score for Rayman Jungle Run (Mobile)
Neil Kapit is a freelance writer, cartoonist, and "La Li Lu Le Lo" agent based in Los Angeles. His work can be seen on www.therubynation.com.
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