Look ma! No limbs!
Rayman 2 the Great Escape made its first breakout in 1999 on several platforms including Dreamcast. It’s this version that provided the groundwork for this week’s iPhone release. Historically, ports of any game are often of questionable quality when pitted against their originals; Rayman isn’t anywhere close to being an exception to this rule.
Of course, one should expect the iPhone platform to induce limitations, even on games over a decade old originally made for consoles with comparable specifications. The problem here is that almost everything that might make Rayman 2 the Great Escape still enjoyable all these years later is not just hampered by the platform, but near enough ruined.
Not a minute of my experience with the game’s awkward and inaccurate controls was free of frustration. The on-screen ‘analogue stick’ is imprecise and unreliable, and some other interactions such as “pinching enemies” wholly impractical. The camera follows you tightly enough to be considered reliable, though invariably at the expense of some much needed versatility. This is a deep flaw in a platformer, and one which I find entirely unforgivable given how integral it is to enjoying the game. This isn’t the only limitation introduced by the hardware, though. If you have an iPhone, the chances are quite high that you might use it to make and receive phone calls or text messages. If this is the case then you may as well be playing in arcade mode because whenever you quit the App in the middle of a level, you lose your progress for it regardless of checkpoints. This prevented me from progressing far in the game, and repeating levels isn’t really what I look for in pick up and play experiences.
Compound the fiddly controls with the unforgiving save system, and even the most devoted fan will develop at least a mild resentment towards the game, and quite possibly tarnish memories of days gone by where Rayman 2 might have been the best thing since Super Mario 64. It’s certainly a faithful representation of the original, but I’m not sure this is a favourable observation given how poorly it has stood the test of time. Nostalgia might well be enough to turn this into a positive, and if that’s enough for you then you’ve still got the whole escapade there in its former glory with plenty of ‘Lums’ to collect and prisoners to free on your travels.
Rayman 2 bleeds antiquated 90’s game design from every corner; at least back then we could take control of it and not try extract from it some superficial replacement for enjoyment. Long-time fans who find on-screen analogue sticks less difficult than myself may consider this a worthwhile purchase at £3.99, as there is a big adventure waiting to be unfolded and the music complements the vibrant and quirky worlds – although they are now devoid of visual appeal due to the aged assets.
We love 90’s games here at AppGamer, but there’s nothing we like seeing more on iPhone than a freshly approached game that feels like it was truly built for the device. Rayman 2 the Great Escape should stay on platforms akin to those for which it was intended, because this is essentially locking it back up behind bars to reminisce about sitting on the floor in front of the TV with a joypad in its magical floating hands.
- Sound: 5
- Graphics: 4
- Gameplay: 2
- Longevity: 7
Page 1 of 1