The perfect mobile game shouldn’t try to replicate a console or PC experience. There are exceptions, like the amazingly deep XCOM: Enemy Uknown and Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition, but the most successful iOS games are easy to pick up and play, with bright and appealing graphics, and a huge amount of content and depth. Rayman Fiesta Run matches all of these criteria, making it another Must Have platformer.
The sequel to last year’s Rayman Jungle Run (our pick for 2012′s Game of the Year Award), Rayman Fiesta Run offers much of the same automated run-and-jump gameplay that made the first game such a fast mover. Rayman (or one of his many selectable sidekicks) will run through the levels on his own, while you time the jumps, wall-jumps, punches, glides, and other acrobatic moves by pressing buttons on the screen. But unlike high-score games where the only goal is to survive, in Rayman Fiesta Run you also have to collect 100 firefly-like “lums” to obtain a perfect score.
This simple concept was polished to a bright sheen in Rayman Jungle Run, but Rayman Fiesta Run goes several steps further by adding a sprawling map for you to explore. Instead of unlocking levels from a basic menu, the map in Rayman Fiesta Run reveals new levels and bonuses depending on how successful you are in earlier levels. For example, if you rescue most of the lums in a level, you’ll free four Teensies (the little Smurf-like critters) and advance four spaces on the map. This might unlock new levels, playable characters, or artwork that you can purchase with lums.
The highly interactive level select screen completely changes the dynamic of Rayman Fiesta Run. Now you can rush through early levels, or take your time to replay them and unlock more of the map. If you rescue all 100 lums on a level, you’ll immediately unlock a much harder “shadow” version, which gives you access to more challenging levels sooner than Rayman Jungle Run.
Rayman Fiesta Run also introduces a new power-up that some players might consider to be a bit of a cheat. For 80 lums, you’ll be able to project a perfect-run pathway in front of you, sort of like Donnie Darko’s time tunnels. This will tell you exactly where to jump and punch in order to receive all 100 lums. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of each level, since hidden lums won’t be hidden anymore, but it’s still tough to time every move perfectly. We think this ability is incredibly useful, and essential to perfecting certain levels.
We’re also glad to confirm that the outstanding visuals, music, and level design from the original game are all intact in Rayman Fiesta Run. On each level, the animation and backgrounds pop with perfect cartoon clarity. The music from series composer Christophe Héral is incredibly goofy and expressive. And the levels are as fast-paced and varied as we could possibly want, with winding pathways and moving parts that make you feel like you’re caught in a giant machine.
Rayman Fiesta Run is the ideal combination of high-quality production values and thoughtful game design, with a range of challenges that scale along with the player’s skills. It’s a high-energy party, well worth the price of admission, and one we’ll be enjoying and talking about for a long time.