Mobile adaptions of popular games on other platforms are incredibly hard to do well on iOS. In the case of Rayman: Jungle Run, it’s trying to capture the magic that made Rayman: Origins so wonderful last year, only on a smaller screen. That’s almost an impossible task, since Origins is a very precise–mechanic driven platformer. Attempting to merely emulate analog sticks and virtual buttons on a touch screen is an incredibly steep uphill battle, but Rayman: Jungle Run recognizes that. It makes the necessary adjustments to create a wonderfully polished and satisfying platformer that delivers on the fantastic art style of Origins and captures its own identity in the App Store.
Rayman: Jungle Run is a 2D platformer, but not in the traditional sense. It strikes a weirdly cohesive balance between an endless runner and a platformer. Rayman automatically runs forward, while jumping is left to you with a touch of the screen. Further tapping while approaching a wall will execute a wall jump and touching while in the air will glide you to safety. It’s a very simple control scheme that makes all the difference.
There are four worlds consisting of ten levels each–nine standard stages and one “Land of the Dead” stage. With each new world comes access to a new ability. At first you’ll be casually jumping through rudimentary stages, but eventually the addition of gliding, wall-running, and punching makes Rayman a much more engaging experience that requires all of your focus.
Each stage has a total of 100 possible Lums to collect. Collecting all of them earns you a “Tooth of the Dead”, which will unlock the Land of the Dead bonus stage when five are obtained in each world. These bonus levels are excruciatingly difficult, requiring the utmost perfection in your jumps and punches. But it’s Rayman’s impeccable execution on its mechanics and art style that make it an App Store gem. Every world looks incredibly different from the last, yet familiar in a great way. Vivid colors and detailed character and environment animations will further your visual pleasure as you traverse the 40 included stages. Even when you’re having a miserable time trying to perfectly complete a stage, you’ll never get bored of looking at it. It is a shame, though, that the game doesn’t feature any of the other three characters featured in Rayman: Origins.
Taking on a different approach to the pick-up-and-play platformer, Jungle Run doesn’t impose players with time expectations. You can check out your time at the end of a stage if you want, but the only metric that matters in the end is your Lums count. That is until you venture over to the Leaderboards, where time is the only discerning metric.
There was a chance that Jungle Run could’ve been a mere shadow of its big brother Origins, but instead Ubisoft recognized the need for a proper mobile adaption, and reworked the controls in a way that works perfectly. There were times that the game chugged while running on my iPhone 4, but these problems were few and far between. From its cohesive visual style, great controls, and pick-up-and-play nature, Rayman: Jungle Run easily deserves your $2.99.
Rayman: Jungle Run gets a 4/5