Back in 1995,Ubisoft Montpellier released the original Rayman on PlayStation. Created by Michel Ancel, the character was the star of the first ever game for the studio, which would go on to work on Beyond Good & Evil and ZombiU.
And he’s a curious little chap, originally conceived as a small round body with floating appendages and bonce, running and jumping around a colourful world that would be familiar to anyone who played a platformer in the 90s.
Rayman did the fashionable thing for his 1999 sequel, adding that third dimension to keep up with the crowd. and even landed his own TV show but the 2000s were less than kind and an attempted 2006 revival soon changed its focus to those Raving Rabbids.
But the best was yet to come, as 2011 saw a return to the platform genre AND that 2D side scrolling perspective for Rayman Origins, one of the best run and jump and hit things games of the year. The art was amazing, the controls were fluid and the story was completely barmy - Rayman was back!
And he’s still got it, returning for Rayman Legends earlier this year and also taking a serious step into the mobile market. First was 2012’s Jungle Run and now Fiesta Run has joined the party.
First things first - yes this is another runner game. Your character will move onscreen for you, giving you the chance to focus on just jumping and striking at the appropriate moment. In the strictest sense of the word, the amount of game here is fairly limited, but Rayman Fiesta Run works hard to make that distinction less of an issue.
Partly, it achieves that through charm. Your frantically running onscreen friend is full of character, with detailed animation (despite appearing particularly tiny) and and appealing level of mid-jump flail. The near hand drawn graphics are a joy to behold, with glorious backgrounds that whip by at speed and a host of inventively crafted enemies which can be bounced on or biffed at will.
For the most part, you’ll just jump and punch, with the aim of the game being to collect as many Lums (the little smiley yellow things) as possible to help release the incarcerated teensies. That’s really all you have to know, Fiesta Run doesn’t try to lump in a story in the way the full fat Rayman titles have, and its all the better for it.
You’ll progress through the world map by picking up Lums, with each collected unlocking more of the game world. New levels can be reached this way, as well as new skills, characters and collectibles. It’s simple, fluid and did I mention utterly gorgeous.
Lums also act as currency, letting you unlock level perks, character art and other things. The perks are particularly useful, letting you take a hit without failing or even giving you hints on where to jump to help clear a level. They’re also well priced too, giving you the freedom to drop some currency without feeling like you’re being forced towards a pay gate.
There are in app purchases in Fiesta Run but they’re only really for the impatient - you can easily progress just by doing a decent job a the levels, and you can always go back to pick up more Lums. A perfect score in a level will unlock an ever harder version, adding up to more satisfaction when you clear it.
You’ll also find more intense chase levels with an enemy hot on your heels, bringing still more variety to a very generous handheld package. And the levels themselves vary massively from world to world, though they’re generally themed around some kind of food. Playtime is also short, only a minute or so per level - making it ideal for the morning commute and effectively negating the frustrating repetition of most runner games.
It can’t be stressed enough, this isn’t just another title where you start at the same point every time, trying to beat your current score by legging it through familiar scenery. There’s a huge amount of content around every delightfully animated corner - and there’s a good chance free DLC will arrive in the coming months.
There’s even a decent level of challenge (for a mobile game) and certainly more than you would expect from a title which can be played with two fingers. Plus the music is jolly, the characters are wonderfully zany and the artistic style of the console version has been gloriously retained.
One issue I've been reading about mentions slow down and framerate issues. I haven't noticed any problems with performance running on a GoogleNexus 4 but if you have drop a line in the comments below.
If you’ve been looking for a mobile game to while away the commuting time, RaymanFiesta Run comes highly recommended.
Rayman: Fiesta Run is available right now on iOS and Android for around €3.