The reason Rayman is so versatile? Brilliantly nuanced controls. They seem like a stock platformer set-up on intial touch (walk, run, jump, float), but some practiced play reveals something more akin to the set-up of a good fighting game, with almost every action capable of adapting, cancelling or transforming the properties of Rayman’s movement in some way. Combining the precision after-touch of Mario, the bendable momentum physics of Sonic, and the subtle tweakability of Ryu or Chun-Li, there’s a wealth of context-sensitive control mastery to be found underneath Rayman’s seemingly simple gameplay.
A jumping attack can lead to triumphant, foe-demolishing rampage of glory in Rayman’s sprinting levels, but if you mess up your timing and momentum it can stall you (literally) dead. Though sometimes an improvised air-brake is exactly what you need. Wall-jumps are fairly straight-forward, but when you work out how to scamper up sheer surfaces, your traversal will get just that bit sharper. Some of the ‘Invaded’ time-trial levels will seem physically impossible at first, but by seeing through the Matrix of level design and control ‘hacks’ you’ll eventually smash them with seconds to spare. Mario and Sonic both provide deeper levels of control to the dedicated player, but not on this level.