Rayman 2 is a trial to play on the iPhone. It’s a highly-praised 3D platformer from the Nintendo 64-era that translates poorly to the buttonless, small screen of the iPhone. Watching yourself play Rayman 2 on the iPhone is like watching an elderly person play videogames for the first time. It’s hard to do even the simplest of things.
We’re not convinced the iPhone was built for games like Rayman 2. It’s an extreme disadvantage to not have a real analog stick and tactile buttons. Assigning a section of the screen to those functions is not an adequate substitute.
Nobody loves Rayman.
The movement stick is the standout problem. The touchable area is a bit too small, meaning your thumb slips off completely. Also, Rayman responds a bit too strongly to any movement of the stick, which means keeping him on a platform is a chore, with cheap falls and missed jumps numbering in the bazillions.
Targeting, which would have been handled by the N64′s “Z” button, is delegated to spreading your fingers on the screen. It’s awkward in and of itself, but it also forces you to take your hand off the jump and fire buttons, leaving you vulnerable when the old school version wouldn’t have. Strangely, the swimming sections are where Rayman is the most controllable, because there’s no place to fall, resulting in less room for error.
There’s another problem with placing the controls on the screen: it obscures a great part of your already small viewing area, making the game feel claustrophobic. That’s a big problem for this platformer, since so much of the game is about seeing where you have to go and being able to analyze your environment. This version of Rayman 2 seems like a lazy port, a cash-in on an old product.
In Rayman, fish takes a bite of you!
Rayman 2 was originally made over 10 years ago, during a time when developers where still figuring out how to properly use 3D. The camera is the worst culprit. It’s clumsy, and often doesn’t deliver when you need it to. Forget trying to see what’s in front of you if your back’s to a wall, because the camera will just bounce off of it. And since the screen real estate is so small, the swiping you do with your finger to move the camera will sometimes accidentally hit the movement stick, sending you off a cliff.
The upside is that Rayman 2 does have a nice colorful look, and a neat story that tries pretty hard to be funny. It could be fun if you’re into playing games for nostalgia or retro appeal. There are some brilliant sections, if you can ever get a hold on its finicky controls, like jumping from rickety bridges as they’re collapsing.
It’s an old game on a device that doesn’t suit it, but could be worth playing if you’re willing to struggle through its shortcomings. We say buy with caution, because like Rayman himself, this game is dangerously close to falling off into a “1 out of 4″ pit.