Thursday, September 20, 2012

Rayman Jungle Run [Ubisoft + Pasta Games] - $2.99

Platformers on the iOS have become insanely popular. Back when I first got my 2nd Gen Touch, finding good platformers was crazy hard, and there were massive groups of people who would hop on just about every platformer that hit the AppStore. Since around the time that League Of Evil hit the store, the genre has really opened up, and now, there’s multiple folders full of platform titles on both my iPod and iPad. Now, at the beginning of September, when the Announcement Trailer for Rayman Jungle Run hit YouTube, I was thinking that it would still be months before we saw the title hit the AppStore, but low and behold, the new Rayman game went live this Wednesday, and as we expected, it’s an auto-running platformer in the same vein as Bitless, ChocoRun, Sunshine, Don’t Run With A Plasma Sword, Wind-Up Knight and others. However, Rayman Jungle Run’s jumping mechanic is expanded on as you progress through the game, but also has a fixed jump height, which, for many gamers, is a big no-no. 

Now, even with the fixed jumping height, Rayman Jungle Run is a blast to play. The levels are designed around the fixed jump height, which does make the game a bit less challenging. Not to say that Jungle Run doesn’t contain any challenges. Granted, getting through all 40 stages in the game won’t take long, actually, between about one or two hours, but once you go back and try and get all of the gems in each level, you’ll be spending a lot more time with it. 

Each of the 4 worlds is split up by abilities; Jump, Fly, Wall Run and Punch, each ability is tacked on to the one-button touch mechanic except for the Punch, which gets it’s own button once you reach the last world. With each stage containing around 40-60 gems for you to collect, along with 3 large gems that give you a group of 20 gems counted towards your final gem count. Getting all of the gems awards you a perfect, and unlocks the level’s tooth. Once you unlock 5 teeth in a world, you’ll have access to the Livid Dead stage, which does not contain any gems, but are also the only levels that have GameCenter leaderboards, and are based solely on time. 
This does seem like a complete missed opportunity, as having leaderboards for each world would have added a lot more replay value to the game which, with it’s small amount of content, would have been a very good idea. With each level being able to be completed in less than a minute, Jungle Run seems like it could use all the extra replay value it could get. Though, even without total world boards, there is quite a bit of replayability in Jungle Run. 
Along with getting perfect gem runs in each level, and the replay value that brings, you’re able to unlock iPhone wallpapers by collecting gems. On top of that, just getting through the Livid Dead levels will require multiple plays, and once you do make it through, bettering your time on the leaderboard adds quite a bit of gameplay. 

Jungle Run is powered by the same engine that Ubisoft used for Rayman Origins, which, luckily enough, runs fantastically on the iOS. The gameplay is incredibly smooth, and the graphics are top notch, and beautifully done. The background music is great as well, but, with the game only containing 3 tracks, it can get old fairly quickly. There is an option to shut off music and keep the sound effects if you like, which is a big plus, especially here. 

I was a little turned off at first with the whole non-traditional approach to the platform genre, but Pasta Games (developers of Pix’n’Love Rush) did a fantastic job with it. Auto-running platformer games like this seem specifically catered to the iOS touch screen interface, and are a perfect fit for the platform, and even though I know there are many gamers out there who will disagree, and hate that Jungle Run is an auto-runner, I’m very glad that they decided to take this route. 

Priced at $2.99 and being Universal, with the GameCenter support including 4 boards and 17 achievements, as well as 3 separate game saves, it’s a great buy for fans of the genre. There is iCloud support, but unfortunately, I (and many others) have not been able to get our saved data to transfer between devices, and have even lost games because of the touchy iCloud integration. This is incredibly frustrating, especially when loosing your saved game when you’re half way through the last world, and hopefully this can be fixed very soon in an update, as that, and the lack of world leaderboards are really the only things holding this game back from a higher rating.


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