Rayman Jungle Run
AndroidAlso available on iPad and iPhone
Rayman has always been one of our favourite gaming characters, although criminally overlooked in favour of the likes of Mario and Sonic, we've always found Ubisoft's platforming hero to be the star of some solid and hugely playable games. The recent Rayman Origins was a stunningly good return to form, bringing the 2D platforming goodness right up to date with some gorgeous cartoon visuals and brilliant gameplay, so our hopes were high that this trimmed back but no less beautiful handheld version of the game would be something special.
Disappointed we're not - Rayman Jungle Run is downright stunning to look at - the best looking Android (and iOS) game we've played. It may be a simple auto-runner at heart, but that doesn't matter when we have the fiendish yet addictive level design on show here. The game has the simplest of controls - mostly just involving single taps and holds of the screen; it's the perfect juxtaposition of platforming controls onto a touchscreen platform.
Full marks to Ubisoft for not skimping on one of their flagship characters. This isn't a cash in, but a game crafted out of real love and respect for the genre and tailored to fit the devices it's coded for like a snug glove. Split over forty levels (we can definitely expect more going forward), the learning curve is gentle at first - but as new features and control options are introduced the difficulty dial is turned up so that by the halfway point you'll be replaying levels a number of times to find the perfect solution and it's a sign of great level design that these solutions are in plain sight yet still satisfyingly challenging to achieve; the moment you complete a level with a perfect cache of collectibles is exhilarating in the extreme.
The tablet experience improves things even further with the beautiful characters and backgrounds scaling to higher resolutions with no drop in quality and the larger screen giving more visibility to help you find your way through the levels.
Smartphone and tablet gaming is really becoming a viable alternative to handheld gaming platforms - and with increasing power the likes of the 3DS and Vita really have a fight on their hands to stay relevant. With gaming of this quality now hitting devices most of us already own, what reason is there to invest in proprietary platforms? Ubisoft have done us proud - this is everything that a mobile Rayman game should be.