Like a senior citizen whose mind remains agile but whose limbs are frail, Rayman 2: The Great Escape is a bright game with stiff working parts.
Much has been lost in this iPhone and iPod touch adaptation. The creative game design of the original console release remains unaltered, but sticky controls and an uncooperative camera undermine the overall experience.
It's a frustrating situation because the adventure has all the components of a great platformer: challenging levels, varied scenarios, and lots of collectibles wrapped up in a colourful, downright bizarre world.Stretch it out
The control scheme takes the proper approach. A virtual analogue stick sits in the lower-left corner opposite a blue 'jump' button and red 'attack' key to the right. Adjusting the camera is a matter of swiping a finger anywhere on the screen.
Unfortunately, the controls lack precision and responsiveness: specifically, the analogue stick and camera. The analogue stick fails to provide the precision necessary for the exacting platform challenges presented here, whether it be hopping across lily pads on a toxic pond or carefully gliding through air currents using Rayman's ears.
You're never given the sense that you have full control over Rayman, and that lack of confidence prevents the game from being fun.
The simplest of jumps are fraught with tension because you don't know if the analogue stick might move Rayman a tad too far off a ledge or the angle of your jump may not be quite right. Expect a lot of mistakes and plenty of deaths.Cramps
The camera exacerbates the issue. It's as though it works against you, fighting any perspective shift when you slide a finger across the screen.
Part of the problem lies in the game's use of enclosed spaces within which the camera struggles to move. You can usually position the view to your liking, but fiddling with the camera takes effort that detracts from the gameplay.
Both camera and control issues affect combat. The game's multi-touch targeting system is completely unintuitive, having you gesture out and in to target and deselect. What's odd is that you start locked on even after defeating an enemy. Tapping to target or an automatic soft-targeting mechanic would be better.Rayman 2: The Great Escape doesn't feel at home on iPhone and iPod touch. The controls, while sound in principle, don't provide the finesse and flexibility demanded here. There's some bright game design here - some of the most creative of its time - but without flexible controls the gameplay ends up stiff.