Monday, June 16, 2014

Game Review - Rayman Jungle Run (Windows 8, 2013)

As I am one of the seventeen people left in this world without a smart phone, I've only recently been able to play any games that originated as mobile apps because many have now been ported to Windows 8.  They are games, (mostly) like any other, so I figure they're worth reviewing.

For what it's worth, my criteria for judging apps will be the same as a full retail game, so scores for the two types of games should be comparable.  I have much less experience with apps, though.  I played a bunch of Flash games back in the day, which seem pretty similar in a lot of ways, but things may be a bit rocky to start.


The first screen you'll see.

Rayman Jungle Run takes the successful Rayman franchise to the mobile world, making for a game with high production but low replay value.  It's fairly entertaining for a time, but it never rises above a decent way to kill 10 or 15 minutes during your day.  Here's what it has to offer:

Being unfamiliar with the mobile game market, I don't know if there's a general category for games like Rayman Jungle Run.  The basic gameplay is very simple: Rayman will continuously run toward the end of the stage; your job is to get him there safely.

Inputs are limited to two of Rayman's characteristic actions, jumping and punching, but his abilities (also including wall running and floating) are introduced slowly as you progress, giving the player plenty of time to adjust.  That's actually one of my biggest complaints - out of 50 levels, only 10 incorporate all the skills without featuring one in particular.  A broader diversity of stages would have given the game a lot more longevity, but the ones that are included are decently entertaining.

The levels themselves are bite-size nuggets of gameplay.  Each can be completed in under 2 minutes, with the vast majority being closer to 1.  Even if you work on collecting all the Lums (the standard Rayman collectible), you likely won't need more than a handful of attempts to figure out the proper paths and timings.

(Almost) always running right, with the occasional break to swing on vines.

The game's only real challenge comes from the 5 unlockable levels at the end of each section.  Only accessible after collecting all 100 Lums in several stages, these levels involve more rapid responses and precise motions than the rest.  Successful completion of these stages is therefore much more satisfying than any of the others.  Again, more than 5 levels like that would have been awesome.

And that's really it.  I was able to complete every level and collect all the Lums in well under 4 hours of game time.  You could compete for leaderboard positions, though they're only tracked for those unlockable levels, and there are a couple achievements you wouldn't earn by replaying each level until you've mastered it (most notably for playing through the game without dying or restarting a level), but those are flimsy reasons to keep coming back.

There are also some issues with stability.  I had the game crash on me several times, often with no clear cause.  I was able to relaunch and resume the game without further difficulty, but it was quite an annoyance.

Flying with the aid of random updrafts.

On the bright side, Jungle Run does use the overall aesthetic from Rayman Origins, so it's pretty.  Sound effects and music tracks are taken from that title, too, giving an overall solid presentation.

All things considered, Rayman Jungle Run is a decent way to kill some time.  It's probably not one that will keep you interested for more than a few days, even with intermittent playing, but it's fun while it lasts.  There are definitely worse ways to spend a few bucks.

My Rating: 5/10 - ok.