Rayman Raving Rabbids
Rayman is a collection of minigames on consoles, but a platformer on mobile? Weird...
Rayman Raving Rabbids is one of the best mobile platformers I've played, but it still reaffirmed by belief that the mobile medium still isn't quite ready to do the genre justice. This mobile translation is fun, but I can't help but think that a collection of crazy minigames (like the source material) would have made for a better mobile package.
The game features longtime Ubisoft mascot Rayman, but the true stars this time around are the genuinely hilarious invading "rabbids." Their blank stares, buck teeth, and vaguely rabbit-like appearance are literally strokes of genius. What's great is that you can drop these guys into any situation and it will lead to grins. Pirate rabbids. Bomber rabbids. Giant boss rabbids. It's all great. A big part of my motivation to keep playing level after level was to see more rabbids - how often does that normally happen with enemy design?
The platforming action itself is very heavily inspired by Sonic the Hedgehog. Rayman with spin through loops, bounce of spring-loaded platforms, and whiz through most of the first half of the game. The 2nd half is made up of more technical platforming and just isn't as enjoyable, thanks to the game's complicated control scheme, and a steep drop in the quality of the level design.
It seems all mobile 2D platformers follow a variation of the exact same control set-up, even though the developers have to know by this time that it simply just doesn't work very well. 4 and 6 move Rayman left and right, and 5 attacks. 1, 2, and 3 are used to jump left, up, and right, respectively. Rayman's quick responsiveness and perfect amount of inertia/momentum allows this set-up to work better than in other mobile platformers, but it still isn't ideal. I successfully navigated the entire game with just one thumb, which is a testament to Gameloft, but I have to ask - should 2D platformers be designed with one-thumb play in the first place?
As I touched on earlier, there is a steep drop in the quality of the levels about halfway through. It makes me wonder if the title was even finished. The first four levels feature numerous boss encounters, as well as other imaginative bits - Rayman will be shot out of a cannon into the background itself, have to tame and ride a wild pig, and more. The latter four levels contain... none of that. They're pretty much straight platforming. This was never more apparent than the final stage. I got to the end and was greeted with a "congratulations! You won!" message. This struck me as being especially odd, given the creative boss fights found in the first (and only the first) half of the game.
So the end result is a product that's funny and charming, but a little on the short side with a minor case of missed potential. It represents real progress for mobile mascot platformers, but it isn't yet quite up there with the best mobile releases.
What's Hot: Imaginative action. Good sense of speed.
What's Not: Overly complex controls. Loses steam towards the end.