I loved Rayman Jungle Run when it was first released on iOS last year. I felt that the mechanics of a platformer translated perfectly to a touchscreen phone/tablet when you made sure the player was always moving on your behalf. Rayman Fiesta Run was released last fall, and along with it came a new urge within me to play this game to completion like I did the original. Does Fiesta Run manage to maintain Raymans recent high surge in production value? or does lightning really not strike twice?
You start Rayman Fiesta run with only the ability to jump, just to ensure newbies are introduced to the game slowly and can get used to it before the levels get harder. Although this is easy, and does get boring, there’s at least something for more hardcore players in the collectibles on each level, with lums hiding in mysterious places out of sight you’ll be jumping and revisiting levels continuously trying to get 100 on each level.
As the game progresses, you get the ability to hover in the air (by either using your hair if you’re Rayman, hands if you’re globox, and magic if you’re a teensie) and the ability to punch. These mechanics may sound easy and without challenge, but it’ll prove you wrong in a heart beat if you take it so lightly. Controls of each character are tight and well made, with your character automatically moving across the screen with no problems or glaringly obvious bugs to speak of. Althought the movement may not change, it’s the levels that do, and it’ll be your knowledge of these simple moves that’ll keep you going throughout the rest of the campaign.
Levels are follow a traditional progression like they have in previous games, with the easier levels being in green fields with next to no dangers to your health, and later levels being in lava filled pits or hell itself, ensuring you know the difficulty of the stage just by looking at it or the colour scheme used. Each level is unique in their challenge and difficulty, meaning that most of the time you’ll need to retry after your countless deaths to ensure each level is mapped to your muscle memory. (muscle memory is for levels that require so fast reactions that you’ll have to remember what’s around each corner before you get there for fear of not reacting fast enough to avoid the danger). This pre-emptivity and muscle memory is needed to progress through Fiesta Run, as without it levels are just too difficult and impossible. With 72 levels in total, you’ll have quite a lot of time to practice and master the mechanics of Rayman Fiesta Run, as frustrating as they may be.
Going around the map completing levels gives you lums to spend on extra characters and wallpapers. These characters are purely cosmetic, as the size of each character makes no difference on your collider. You will still hit walls or die on the pre-set collider thats around your character, which seems a little unfair at first, but you eventually learn it was done for the mechanics, meaning that no one has the advantage on leader boards across the world.
Speaking of leaderboards and social features, did somebody say social platforms? because my god is Rayman scattered with Facebook likes and posts all over the place. Gone are the days you could play Jungle Run purely for the game itself, this time round Ubisoft wants you to use your own Facebook to advertise their game for you, with the incentive of getting extra lums to spend if you do. This doesn’t rear its ugly head until you perfect a level, asking you to brag to your friends about it by posting to your Facebook for an incentive of 100 extra lums. It may not seem intrusive, but when they are in every single menu and can be seen wherever you go, they are certainly annoying.
At the start of each level you can purchase help throughout the level. You no longer get better items or help for playing the game like normal, with Fiesta run you now have to pay to get power ups. You get to pick from a heart which allows you to get hit once more (it’s normally insta-death), a golden heart which allows you to be invincible, a guide which shows you how to go across the track (and I mean, it literally tells you exactly when to jump and punch to get everything in each level), a glove that allows your punch to travel across the screen once and finally, a golden version of the glove which is unlimited. These items all cost anywhere from 10 to 80 lums (as of writing). It’s literally a fee-to-pay game, where you purchase the game for £1.99 at the start and then have to pay to get through levels.
Rayman Fiesta Run is a fantastic sequel in its own right, and manages to get the same tight platforming feeling of the original so well. What lets Fiesta Run down is its reliance on purchases before levels, and it’s over-zealous use of social networking features, which makes for an otherwise frustrating game. If you enjoyed the original then by all means buy this one, but be warned; the constant social media drove me crazy.