Rayman Jungle Run was a real treat. It was a bouncy, buoyant, knockabout platformer that worked perfectly on touchscreens.
And Rayman Fiesta Run is, by and large, the same game. Rayman still automatically darts through hand-painted obstacle courses, leaving you to tell him when to jump, punch, and sprint up walls.
He also eventually gains the ability to glide, as in the first game, which means Rayman Fiesta Run also loses some of its elegant, one-tap immediacy and lightning pace.
But Rayman's got a pair of new powers. He can now swim, and he starts certain levels by being shrunk down to microscopic size.Jumping jamboree
He's still bounding across an abstract collection of disconnected platforms, slides, swinging vines, and scattered spikes. Some stages do away with reality altogether, as the level's building blocks magically snap together in front of you.
The backgrounds are all new, though. The game takes you through an indulgent, high-calorie wonderland of Pop-Tarts, chocolate chunks, and giant doughnuts.
There are carnival levels with cocktail umbrellas, fireworks, and piñatas. Kitchens where you slide and swing from strung-up spices. Paradise beaches where the platforms are made from ice cubes. And the gastric maze of a dragon's belly.
Some stages are shown in silhouette, and some see you ping-ponging between the background and foreground. Sadly, the epic musical levels from Rayman Legends didn't make the transition.Punching party
Like before, getting from one end of the stage to the next is not a huge challenge. The real goal is to collect all 100 Lums, which forces you to memorise the layout of each level, have a few practice runs, and then put everything together into a tense, tightly choreographed, triumphant final performance.
But that's not all. Collect all the Lums on one level and you'll unlock an ultra-hard remix of that stage. It's ostensibly the same layout, but now with extra enemies and obstacles, some of the platforms removed, and tiny dragons or fire licking at your heels.
Getting to the end in one piece is tough. Getting all the Lums on all these levels will be a Herculean feat.
Rayman Fiesta Run also adds boss stages. In these, you're chased through the level by some big baddy. They're nothing earth-shattering, but they inject a welcome difficulty spike after every few normal stages.Bouncing bacchanalia
Rayman Fiesta Run is often more difficult than its predecessor, then. And to make up for it, you can now use the Lums you've collected to buy boosts before every level. And, yes, you can buy more Lums with real-world cash.
Boosts include hearts, which protect you from one hit; flying punches, which take out far-away enemies; and a racing line, which shows you exactly where and when to jump in order to collect every Lum.
You certainly don't need to use these boosts. But like any in-app purchases their very existence will have you second-guessing the balance of each stage. And where Jungle Run would give you a complimentary heart on the harder levels, you're left to balance the difficulty by yourself in this sequel.
If you're worried about these boosts affecting the leaderboards, you needn't fret. Ubisoft has kept these boosts out of the four rock-hard Night of the Livid Dead gauntlet levels, which are the only stages with Game Center leaderboards.Festival fun run
You can also spend your cash on new characters (they're largely just aesthetic changes or, in some cases, literally the same hero but with a new colour scheme). And iPhone wallpapers, if you've never heard of Google Images before.
Rayman Fiesta Run is just as good as last year's Jungle Run. And while it might seem a little too familiar, the extra challenge in the boss battles and remixed Invasion stages will be welcomed by Jungle Run veterans.
All in, it's still a spunky, joyous, addictive gem. And however you might feel about IAPs, you'll be relieved to know that they haven't taken the shine off Rayman Fiesta Run.