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Rayman Jungle Run

Sometimes it simply takes a developer like Michel Ancel to get the job done right. The creator of the Rayman series has teamed up with independent developer Pastagames to bring iOS gamers their first taste of what platforming bliss should look and feel like on the platform.

Rayman Jungle Run, at first glance, might seem like just another “runner,” a genre that is almost completely oversaturated on the App Store. But play through just the first of the game’s 40 levels, and it quickly becomes clear that all the skill and precision demanded of players from the best platforming adventures in gaming’s past are likewise a requirement here.

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At the behest of Ancel, the game is mostly a one-tap affair. The main character, Rayman, runs on his own, and well-designed A.I. tells him which direction he should be headed in at any given time. For your part, you’ll need to decide when Rayman jumps, glides, wall runs, and punches enemies. Though you don’t control Rayman’s mobility, every level is masterfully designed to give players an extreme challenge without the awkward hassle of a virtual control stick.

In terms of presentation, Rayman Jungle Run is a link between the recently released Rayman Origins and the upcoming Rayman Legends for Wii U. More a companion piece than a complete adventure, Rayman Jungle Run offers no story. It’s composed of short, intricate levels meant to be run through at high speeds, and though it’s easy to complete the game in a very short time, nabbing all of the game’s lums and achievements will keep you coming back for hours and hours.

The game’s 40 levels are divided into four focused worlds, each with nine regular levels and a bonus level unlocked by collecting at least five of Death’s teeth in each world. The variety is stellar, and the game’s bonus levels present players with an extreme level of challenge that may take days to master.

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Since multiple stabs are routinely required to nab all of the lums in a given level, a quick restart option is a much appreciated feature. Levels are bite-sized yet densely packed with exhilarating twists and turns. As you move onto each additional world, your new powers are layered onto skills previously learned.

As an added bonus, the game looks beautiful and runs smoothly, even on older devices such as the iPhone 3GS. Currently, there seem to be some issues regarding the screen size on the new iPhone 5, but none of the game’s lush animation is impacted in any way. Upbeat, quirky themes make a pleasant backdrop to the platforming fun, and you’ll unlock backgrounds for your iOS device as you play through the game.

At $3, Rayman Jungle Run hits a nice middle ground in terms of price, but it’s the quality of its content that makes this an invaluable gem. Folks who loathe level memorization may take issue with the game’s approach, but Sonic fans and speed-run junkies finally have a game they can love and adore on the go.

9 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in August 2008.

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