In a year that’s already blessed us with the amazing Rayman Legends comes a second treat with Rayman Fiesta Run, the sequel to last year’s mobile endless-runner phenomenon Rayman Jungle Run. It’s a fiesta, all right, a fiesta of food! You’ll race past hot chocolate falls, sausages being happily roasted, juicy watermelon slices, pasties, and even swordfish tuna cans on your quest to achieve 100 Lum perfection on every level.
Fiesta Run assumes you’ve not only mastered Jungle Run but wanted more, throwing you right in the thick of things through its 70+ levels of racing, jumping, sliding, wall circling, and sausage bouncing joy. Well, that’s probably true, isn’t it?
And as with Jungle Run, Fiesta Run trims its platforming thrills to their base elements and super quick reflexes. Basic gameplay boils down to run, jump, punch and hover, often juggled at the same time. Tapping anywhere on the screen enables a quick jump (tap-hold to hover) while a second virtual button lets you bash enemies and objects with impunity. There’s even a few concepts from Legends in the mix, like Super Punch, shrinkage, multi-planed levels, and loads of aquatic ballet.
There’s now a gigantic pinch-zoom world map, complete with cascades of levels and paths that become unlocked the more you play. Another nice addition are the helpful pre-level purchases like flying punches, heart protectors, and even cheats that lead a path to victory. Like everything else in the game you’ll spend precious Lums snagging them, but they’re a low-cost solution to help avoid short-term frustrations when a small boost is needed.
Speaking of difficulty, snagging all 100 Lums on a level unlocks a more challenging “Invasion Mode”, which drastically remixes the level with more ominous colors, extra enemies, and more challenging objectives to help bump the level count (and replay value).
While the game plays a bit with the very concept of endless-runners with its platforming hijinks, less successful are the attempts to give more granular control over characters’ actions. At times double-jumping results in changing your direction, which doesn’t always play to your advantage. There were times I found myself running in the wrong direction (pushing endlessly into walls or platforms), leading to certain death and an umpteenth (unintentional) play-through.
Visually, Fiesta Run is even more impressive than Jungle Run, thanks to the UbiArt Framework engine and the massively talented artists who clearly have deep love for 2D artwork and illustration. It’s incredible how much milage they get from palate-swapping the few interactive elements, like turning a swinging vine into dangling tonsils (shifting yet again into masses of red jelly) or even with the several playable characters. Certain levels now employ a slight 3D perspective shifting while you’re blistering by, though the bulk of the game is still 2-dimensional joy.
The game’s few tunes are equally awesome, though its a shame there’s so few of them (and that they still play randomly). Not that I minded hearing the whole baritone mix of “La La…la la la la” play through a few times…
Now let’s talk about the biggest bugaboo in the butter: in-app purchases. This a premium paid app, yet I never felt pressured to spend real currency to unlock goodies like new characters, artwork, extra Lums and more. To be fair, the game features one of the most generous in-game currencies I’ve ever seen, showering you with Lums to spend at every turn, even bestowing loyal Jungle Run players a nice booty after first turning on the game. You’ll most likely never need (or want) to spend real cash to unlock everything without earning it honestly.
Rayman Fiesta Run is very much a sequel to Jungle Run, spiritually picking right up where that game left off and never looking back. The central premise of endlessly running through some of the most creative and wacky levels in the Rayman universe is intact, with added bits that make everything feel as fresh and thrilling as ever. Ultimately, the game may serve to remind players just how indescribably good Rayman Legends is, or what they might have missed the first time around. And if playing Fiesta Run drives more players to pick up its bigger console cousin, all the better.