A platforming classic arrives on the iPhone, better than ever
On its original release in 1999, Rayman 2:The Great Escape was hailed as a huge leap forward. Its graphics were unparalleled, and its Gallic sense of humour was a breath of fresh air in an increasingly dull 3D platforming space. And now we have a brilliant and accurate port of it on our phones. If we didn’t have so many other games to play, we’d take a moment to reflect on that.
The one area where this iPhone version of Rayman 2 suffers is, as is so often the case with console ports on Apple’s handhelds, is in its controls. The lack of an analogue stick and physical buttons is always going to be a problem for these games, we fear, but Rayman 2 does a fair job of coping without. The virtual stick works acceptably, and while you might lose the on-screen buttons in the heat of the moment, they’re well sized and spaced out enough to minimise the hassle. There seems to be enough leeway built in to ensure that even the precision platforming sequences aren’t too frustrating without the feedback of a physical joystick and buttons. Not ideal, then, but the best we can hope for on the iPhone.
That aside, though, the game has held up well. It’s a bold and beautiful-looking game that runs remarkably well on all iPhone OS hardware — those without a 3GS or later-model iPod touch aren’t left in the cold here — and, in gameplay terms, it’s as good as it’s ever been. Ubisoft was rightly praised on its original release for the variety on display alongside its visual brilliance, and it’s easy to see why: aside from the standard 3D platforming you’ve got races, flying sections, underwater sequences, water-skiing, surfing… you won’t want for something to do in this game, that’s for sure.
Rayman 2 is a game that’s difficult not to like. From its irreverent humour to its striking visuals, it’s the kind of game that we don’t seem to get all that much any more, and iPhone owners can now enjoy it in as good a form as it’s ever been.