Pokemon + Picross = $$$. That's the general tone of this game. While the puzzle aspect is fun and the game does a good job of holding your hand through the early stages, it's the free to pay aspect that rubs me the wrong way.
The usual 'spend energy to play this puzzle' is out the window and has been replaced by the more insidious 'use energy for every touch on the screen'. Players have 100 energy as their base amount and when puzzles are regularly 10 x 10 squares you can easily understand having to use most of your energy on one puzzle.
Worse than that, you can run out of energy during a puzzle and have to wait a certain amount of minutes to finish it. That's ok (apparently) because they've conveniently made a secondary currency available that you can spend to help you out along the way. The Pokemon Company has artificially created a game that you can only play for short periods.
As far as updates go, there's a feature in the game where players can enter a password which takes them to a secret level where you might be able to catch a legendary Pokemon. Some codes have come out since release, but otherwise there's nothing new here.
Should You Play It?
If you like Pokemon and puzzle games then it's right up your alley. Just go in with the expectation of free to play shenanigans (which still aren't the worst I've seen. That honour goes to Angry Birds 2).
If you like Rayman games then you know exactly what to expect here. The art style is beautiful, the touchscreen controls work well enough, each level has a 1 to 3 star rating, and it's an auto-running jumping and punching affair.
The storyline is a familiar one having seen it not long ago in Ori and the Blind Forest. Our hero must save the day by restoring the giant tree and the surrounding area to it's former glory blah, blah, blah. When it comes to mobile games and ones in this franchise in particular, I'm not expecting a Witcher 3 depth of storytelling so while it is serviceable it certainly isn't a driving force behind finishing the game.
Averaging between 4 and 4.5 stars in user reviews across both iOS and Android, Ubisoft have put out yet another solid title in the franchise. It's hard to believe that this is the first Rayman game in almost two years, but I suspect console and PC fans might be waiting that long again for a title on the bigger platforms.
Updates since release:
- Several new costumes to celebrate each of the holidays (Christmas, Easter etc)
- 20+ New Levels
- Daily Missions
- Numerous rounds of polishing and bug fixing
Should You Play It?
It's Rayman, so yes.
I thought it might be interesting to take another look at some of the trophies given out at The Game Awards at the end of last year, considering any new updates or DLC that might swing the winning vote.
Best Family Game - Super Mario Maker
Nintendo was never going to lose this category when the other options were all toys-to-life money machines. In a choice between Mario Maker and Splatoon I'm glad they went with the former. While I personally am not a huge fan of Splatoon, I do think that Mario Maker has the longevity and classic Mario aesthetic to make it a winner.
The surprising thing is this category is the withdraw by Disney from video games all together last month, marking the immediate end to Disney Infinity and possibly the beginning of the end for similar brands Lego Dimensions and Skylanders Superchargers. Depending how the market reacts to Disney's decision, this category could be very different come the end of 2016.
Best Sports/Racing Game - Rocket League
To think that Rocket League won this award before I had even gotten my hands on it is odd to me. Being primarily an Xbox gamer, the release of this game earlier this year marked the beginning of a new obsession. I've gone on to play the game almost every day since and the addition of PC/Xbox cross-play has only added to the amount of games I can get in whenever I have a spare hour or two. I don't think any game was more deserving of the award than Rocket League.
Game of the Year - The Witcher 3
I wholeheartedly agree with this even more than 6 months ago. The constant support shown to this game by CD Projekt Red as well as the recent Blood & Wine DLC only help Geralt and friends extend their lead to the other nominees.
While I think Fallout 4 mods being added to consoles could drastically change the perception of that game, console players only make up a portion of the fanbase and mods have been a thing for months. That and Thomas the Tank Engine won't win you game of the year.