Following on from the success of Rayman Jungle Run, Ubisoft has launched Rayman Fiesta Run, a ludicrously fast-paced, exploding-with-colour, food-themed sequel.
Michel Ancel's Rayman, a favourite since his arrival in 1995, made the leap across to mobile last year with Rayman Jungle Run, a 2D side-scrolling platformer — one of the first games to make use of Ubisoft's Ubi-art framework (currently employed in the development of its first non-Rayman game, Child of Light).
The visual style created was truly jaw-dropping, and we were delighted to see it return in Jungle Run's follow-up, Fiesta Run — although we were kind of expecting more of the same. To be fair, we were OK with this: Jungle Run was slick, one of the finest 2D runners we've seen on a mobile platform. And, yes, in concept, it kind of is more of the same, but it's also different enough to make it worth your while, even if the gorgeous art and excellent gameplay weren't enough of an enticement.
Unlike Jungle Run, which lets you choose from four different types of gameplay, all featuring different powers, Fiesta Run has slightly more linear gameplay. The core concept is the same: Rayman runs along an obstacle-filled course to reach the flag at the end, collecting Lums (little luminescent firefly-type guys) as you go, 100 per level. In the previous game, there were 10 levels per world; the first focused on jumping, the second on flying, the third on running up walls and the fourth on punching enemies.
In Fiesta Run, this has all been combined into one game. Each "world" only has a few levels, and you learn the powers in different ones, but you can then go back and apply that knowledge in older levels. This is a good thing since each level also has a "Difficult" mode that you can play for more Lums (unlocked only if you manage to get all 100 Lums for that level), and Lums serve a slightly different purpose in Fiesta Run. The more Lums you collect, the more levels you can unlock, and you can pick and choose which ones you'd like to complete when; you can also use them to purchase in-game art for your gallery — and different characters to play as.
You can also use them to purchase in-game power-ups, such as the "perfect game" guide, a ghostly trail that shows you the best path to take, actions (such as jumps and punches) included to collect all the Lums, extra lives and boxing gloves for powerful punches. This is also a good thing — Rayman Fiesta Run is a whole boatload more difficult than its predecessor and, even following the guide, you will die. A lot. And that's not even on the "difficult" levels.
Like Jungle Run, Rayman's running is out of your control; he'll dash forward, and it's up to you to get him past obstacles. The controls for this are beautifully simple: tap the left side of the screen to jump, holding longer to glide, and tap the right side to punch. There are buttons for this, but they're surprisingly unobtrusive once you start playing; we had to reopen the game to check they were actually there. They're also intuitive and respond well, even if your thumbs move around a little.
And, of course, it has a great soundtrack — peppy, lighthearted and fun, keeping the mood from getting too frustrating as you get chased by a long lash of flame or miss a perfectly timed jump. Wonderfully, if you find yourself getting low on Lums, you can go and repeat the earlier levels to stock up — there's no in-app purchases within the game at all.
Quite frankly, the game is a whole party load of fun — easy enough to learn for the most casual of gamers, yet tricky enough to master for the most seasoned. It's rare to see such a quality mobile spin-off to a popular franchise, and we hope Ubisoft keeps 'em coming.
Rayman Fiesta Run is available from the iTunes App Store for AU$2.99.