Another delicious helping of platforming fun
Rayman has always been one of gaming’s true platforming greats, and not only has he managed to help define the genre of running and jumping in its early console days, but he’s also been able to perfectly adapt to every change of the times along the way. Last year’s wonderful Rayman Jungle Run was a brilliant adaptation of a platform-runner on mobile, and is easily one of my personal favorite handheld games even to this day. I think many others would also agree: which is why it’s so amazing to find that its incredible sequel, Rayman Fiesta Run, is pretty much better in every single way.
For one thing, the graphics in Rayman Fiesta Run are a huge step up from the last game, if you can even believe that, since Rayman Jungle Run already looked so good to begin with. The influence of the recently released Rayman Legends on home consoles is immediately apparent, and every character design and environment has a gorgeous painted feel to it. The namesake Fiesta theme is in full force here as well, with many levels alternating between spicy fire and chilly ice environments, and a smorgasbord of food-based elements for Rayman and friends to interact with. Prepare to be bouncing off of lime wedges and plump little sausages, swinging along vines made up of countless chili peppers, and running through a level that’s made entirely of cheese. The fiery soundtrack is just as lively as ever, and serves as the perfect background for you to dance with your disembodied feet.
The different level designs in Rayman Fiesta Run are absolutely top-notch, and the variety between them will always keep you platforming in exciting new ways. Most levels will have you running to the right and jumping over gaps as per the usual, but then other ones will throw a monkey wrench into the mix by making you run left the entire time, shrinking you down in size and pitting you against a vastly enlarged and grotesque obstacle course, and even fleeing from a boss monster that’s constantly nipping at your heels. While things start out simply enough (Rayman will always run forward automatically, and a simple tap on the screen will cause him to jump), it won’t be long before you begin to unlock new move sets that should be familiar to fans of Rayman Jungle Run, including Rayman’s punch attack, air gliding, and the ability to run up walls.
Another welcomed new addition to Rayman Fiesta Run is an expansive world map that houses every level along a winding and imaginative blue trail. The way you move along this trail is directly related to how well you perform in the many levels that sit along it: for instance, collecting all 100 yellow Lums in a level lets you free four of the Teensies, which then corresponds to four new segments opening up on the path through the map. Smaller selections of like-levels are grouped together within their own unique little emblems on the map, and various milestones you traverse will come with their own respective rewards as well. These rewards include opening up new characters for purchase (including Globox, a Teensie, and different skins for all), the aforementioned move sets, and even a bonus Lum reward, just because.
As you move through the game, completing levels and freeing more Teensies, every yellow Lum you collect is added to your bank, which you can then use to purchase additional characters or gallery unlocks, or if you really need it, special boosters or power-ups that should make the going a little bit easier, like an extra heart or a golden boxing glove that lets you shoot extended punches at your foes from a distance. While all of these things attached to the Lum currency are completely optional, the game is so liberal with the amount of Lums it throws your way at every turn, that you won’t be able to keep yourself from indulging in all of the fun bonus content at regular intervals. Better yet, if you have a Rayman Jungle Run save file already on your device, then you’ll get a generous currency bonus right at the start, which for me, was over a whopping 5,000 Lums.
In terms of difficulty, Rayman Fiesta Run is a much more brutal beast than its timid-by-comparison predecessor, with many levels requiring the utmost precision of button taps and dozens of retries to collect all 100 Lums and make it to the end flag in one piece. Yet despite how challenging the game is, it never feels cheap in its many harsh demands, and usually when you mess up, the blame is going to be on you, not the game. The best part though is that after you complete each level, a demonic “invaded” version of that level then becomes available for you to play, although these are more appropriate when looked at as completely new levels in their own right, as most of the layouts are extremely different from the originals, and the amount of added challenge is simply paramount to anything you might have seen before: seriously, it’s going to take a lot of skill and dedication to achieve 100% completion on this one.
But despite how perfect the Rayman Fiesta Run experience is overall, there are still a few minor issues that I have to be nitpicky about right here for a moment. For one thing, the touch controls on the map screen can be incredibly finicky at times, and seem to have a mind of their own when trying to zoom in on various areas or even start up the next level. The whole concept of the unlockable gallery pictures was a little confusing to me as well, as whenever I clicked on one after I bought it, the game would close out and take me to a web browser page with a blurry rendition of the image in question. I suppose this is so you can download the picture as a wallpaper for you mobile device, but I think a better explanation or smoother integration certainly wouldn’t have hurt. And finally, you’ll sometimes be greeted with an unavoidable full-screen ad while you play. The frequency of these ads seems to oddly differ from user to user, but given that Rayman Fiesta Run comes with an initial price tag, their overall inclusion will definitely raise a few eyebrows.
Nevertheless, Rayman Fiesta Run is the pinnacle of a console-quality platforming game completely built for the mobile platform, and it deserves a spot among the best apps that you have on your device. The amount of fun and enjoyable content packed in here is truly astounding, and that’s without even mentioning the endgame levels that are set in The Land of the Livid Dead, and stand as a true test of your mobile platforming skills. In the end, Rayman Fiesta Run is a platforming game that’s all about food, and not only is that food incredibly delicious and 5-star restaurant superb, but we’re all going to be gorging ourselves on it for quite some time until we’re no slimmer than our old pal Globox.