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Daily iPhone App: Rayman Jungle Run

Rayman Jungle Run is the kind of iOS game that should be terrible. It looks from the outset like a blatant cash grab by Ubisoft, re-using the various sounds, graphics and gameplay from its popular Rayman Origins console platformer on iOS. But here’s the thing: Rayman Origins is such a gorgeous and well-designed game that even this small-screen re-imagining is oozing with magic and fun. Yes, these graphics are being re-used, but they are still completely beautiful, and there’s been so much new craft put into creating these levels and settings that Rayman Jungle Run feels just as fresh and enjoyable as the original console title.

The controls are a big part of it — rather than using a more traditional virtual D-pad and jump button, Ubisoft’s developers have completely taken movement out of the equation, so Rayman simply runs forward without stopping. Instead, you just tap the screen to jump at certain moments, so the whole proceeding is all about timing (which, technically, great platformer games always have been about anyway). Later on in the game, further levels allow you to hover while jumping or punch as you go, but the controls are so simple and clean that you instead get to focus on the game’s pitch-perfect gameplay.

And there’s plenty of that: Four different worlds with about 10 levels each, extra levels to unlock as you play and multiple goals per level, including time runs and extra Lums to collect. Rayman Jungle Run is an absolute pleasure to play — don’t be turned off by the fact that you’ve seen this art on the console before. It’s available as a universal version now for $2.99.