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Even if you haven’t heard of Ubisoft’s once-beloved limbless hero, Rayman -- and if you don’t play games on home consoles, that may very well be the case -- Rayman Jungle Run might easily be placed among the App Store's most attention-grabbing titles. Directly inspired by last year’s gorgeous console platform-hopping reboot Rayman Origins, Jungle Run essentially converts Origins’ 2D guts into simplified runner-style gameplay.
Based around Rayman’s various moves from Origins -- jumping, gliding, wall-running and punching, respectively -- Jungle Run eases you into its myriad challenges. Initially this amounts to little more than timing your jumps over obstacles as Rayman auto-runs through scenes of lush greenery to the end level goal. Progress beyond the first world, however, and timing isn’t necessarily enough, as environmental hazards and enemies rear their heads and new moves demand greater precision.
Yet, as in Origins, it’s Rayman’s personality that makes Jungle Run special. The living collectables scattered throughout each stage spout funny noises when picked up, Rayman’s actions are exaggeratedly slapstick, and the goofy soundtrack mixes breezy bossa nova with something out of an Ennio Morricone-scored Western. It’s silly, and because the game feels like a manic, European-tinged Disney cartoon, it's all the more enjoyable for it.
If there’s a flaw in Jungle Run, it’s that it might be too easy. The real challenge isn’t so much making it to the goal as it is completing a perfect run by collecting everything in a stage, a task easier said than done (which subsequently unlocks a handful of challenging bonus levels). That said, Jungle Run is at its best when playing with more unique level designs -- if only there were more of them. As it stands, this Rayman outing is geared a little more towards the casual end of the spectrum.
The bottom line. If you’re after a little taste of Rayman, Jungle Run is a good aperitif.
iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone running iOS 4.0 or later
Tight platform action. Sumptuous visuals. Fun soundtrack and sense of humor.
Auto-running gameplay limits design. Fairly easy aside from chasing perfect level bonuses. Short overall length.