Review: Rayman Fiesta Run (Xbox Live)


And so, it's a welcome return to a beloved character. Known by many, but enjoyed by only a few, it's been a long time since we saw him around these Windows Phone parts. So it's a 'hello, where have you been?' to Xbox Live. Because Ubisoft's latest platformer release on Microsoft's mobile platform comes under the Xbox Live banner. With so many big names having skipped the Redmond retainer and gone it alone, I wonder why Ubisoft has stuck with the plan? No matter the reason, Xbox Live integration is a cherry on top of a fantastic arcade game that is very well suited to a mobile touchscreen device.

Author: Ubisoft

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Rayman Fiesta Run

If you were a fan of Rayman Jungle Run (which we have reviewed here on All About Windows Phone) then you will know exactly what to expect. While Fiesta Run goes for a bigger, better, and slightly tweaked approach - as a good sequel should do - it hasn't damaged the core game. Everything you loved about Rayman in his last Windows Phone incarnation, you will find here. It also means that there is little to appeal to those who passed over the original title for whatever reason. This is a title that is playing to the home crowd.

Rayman Fiesta Run takes a very pragmatic approach to the platform genre. Deciding that a mobile device is not the platform for a large number of controls, Rayman is an automatic running game. Once the dismembered French hero starts a level, he's going to keep his little legs running as hard as he can until the end of the level... or death.

In the first few levels of the game, the one control you have is 'jump', which is activated by a tap anywhere on the screen. This jump has a number of modes - you can be jumping from the ground; you can be jumping from a cliff or wall to do a vertical jump backwards; or you could be doing a 'double-jump' in the air. That actually gives you a lot to deal with in your head, and then the true nature of Rayman Fiesta Run becomes clear. It's a twitch/mental game.

It's relatively easy to get through to the end of each level. All you need to do is remember everywhere that you can die, and avoid this. Given Rayman is a 'one life' based run (with the occasional bonus heart to pick up and let you survive some pain), you'll be running through levels rather quickly, dodging with ease. Eventually.

Rayman Fiesta Run

Of course just getting to the end is not enough. You should be collecting lumens along the way - there are 100 per level - and the more you collect the more jewels you gather per level. Collect enough and later levels are opened up for you to play. And to get the perfect one hundred you'll need to memorise all the death traps, the alternative paths when jumping, which walls to jump from and which to slide down.

It's all fascinating design - and remember you start off with just the 'jump' key. As you progress you get extra controls and options, but all based on tapping, double tapping, or tap-and-hold on the screen to use different platforming powers.

Fiesta Run's improvement over Jungle Run can be put down to the level design. It is even more intricate and full of choice than the older game. This is aided by the use of the third dimension. In Jungle Run, all you had were trampolines that shot you up in the air. Now you can be thrown around into the screen or out of the screen to reach a different 'plane' of the game with more platforms and differing layouts. It adds to the variety, it racks up the options open to the level designers, it increases the mental challenge, and it looks really, really impressive.

Rayman Fiesta Run

Not only does Rayman play incredibly well for a mobile game, it also looks fabulous as well. I know that many people throw the phrase 'console quality' around for graphics, but Fiesta Run really does deserve that moniker. There are a lot of sprites being thrown round the screen, the scrolling speed is very high, and there is almost zero lag, even when the game goes through one of its many sudden changes of directions.

Lay some crisp sound effects on top of the controls and the graphics that give you more than enough mental clues to the environment and the actions you are taking in the game, and you have an arcade title that works on so many levels that it deserves to be a smash hit.

And in a sense, Rayman Fiesta Run already is, through the releases on iOS and Android. Once more Windows Phone is a little behind the pack, but at least we do have the game in the end. I would love a simultaneous release, but I can see the financial and management decisions that force a staggered release schedule.

That doesn't mean I have to like it.

Rayman Fiesta Run

So what about the much vaunted Xbox Live integration? It's worth pointing out that the biggest advantage, even with Xbox on Windows Phone in the diminished state that it is in, is the positioning in the Windows Store (and on your device) that being an XBLA title offers. In a busy and packed store, the legtimacy offered and the positioning in the search listing results will help Rayman Fiesta Run be discovered by more players.

Truth be told, the XBox Live extras are an online leaderboard you can use to compare your progress to your friends, and the various achievements that you can unlock. These are pretty standard, keeping an eye on the overall numbers of lumens collected, to monsters killed, critters rescued, and how far you have actually run. As long as you can finish the game, you should collect the 200 Gamer points on offer here without too much extra effort.

Rayman Fiesta Run

Rayman Fiesta Run is a cracking little arcade game for Windows Phone. I don't think there is a single major flaw anywhere in the design or the coding of the game. There may be some minor flaws, but I think these are more down to personal preference and individual playing style. This Rayman title is highly recommended, and it's great to see that when a company focuses on the gameplay, there's still scope for a mobile game to really redefine a genre.

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