Get ready for Rayman Jungle Run, coming to Xbox Windows Phone 8 later today

Windows Phone 8 gamers who held out hope that N.O.V.A. 3 would be released in May will be disappointed to know that Gameloft’s sci-fi FPS definitely won’t make it out of the gate this month. We understand it's still undergoing Xbox Live certification and will release as soon as it passes. But it’s not all bad news. We do get a high-profile Xbox release for Windows Phone 8 today – this one from Ubisoft rather than Gameloft. Yep, the awesome platformer/runner Rayman Jungle Run launches later today!

Ubisoft quietly announced Rayman Jungle Run was announced back in February alongside the pretty good Monster Burner and probably much less enjoyable Rabbids Go Phone Again. Since Monster Burner came along at the beginning of the month as a Windows Phone 7 game, most of us expected Jungle Run and Rabbids to run on Windows Phone 7 as well. But nope, Jungle Run will be a Windows Phone 8 game, probably because it already came to Windows 8, making for an easy port.

Check out the Windows Phone 8 trailer after the break!

Legs and arms are overrated

Rayman Jungle Run is a platformer based on Ubisoft’s phenomenal Rayman Origins console game. It plays like an endless runner in that Rayman run automatically, so players only need to use a single finger to control his jumping and other moves. No virtual stick here! But unlike endless runners, the game is broken up into distinct level sets. Your goal is to not only complete every level but also collect as many Lums (floating collectibles) as possible while doing so. Get them all to receive a tooth. Once you get enough teeth you'll unlock super tough Land of the Dead levels.

Rayman starts out with only one ability: jumping, which you make him do by tapping the screen. Subsequent worlds give Rayman new moves like floating, running up walls, and punching. Punching actually introduces an on-screen button, but that doesn’t overcomplicate the game. Later level get more challenging as well, thanks to hazards like spiked vines and enemies.

Five worlds of fun

Rayman Jungle Run iOS

The iOS version of Rayman Jungle Run received an update last month that added 20 new levels to the game. Considering that the Windows 8 version still hasn’t gotten that update yet, and Xbox games spend several months in certification before release, the new levels won't be included when the Windows Phone game shows up today.

But Jungle Run will launch with five worlds containing 50 levels and some challenging Achievements (a couple of the Windows 8 game are nearly impossible), so you’ll still get your money’s worth even before the update comes along. Let's hope that all four playable characters (Rayman, Dark Rayman, Globox, and Globox Rayman) will be included for free, just like the Windows 8 game.

Rayman Jungle Run costs $2.99 on iOS. It will cost either that much or $4.99 on Windows Phone 8. We’ll know in a few hours.

Thanks to Mark Tepper, Marcel, and Claven for the tip!

Paul Acevedo

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!