The last two Rayman games to grace Android, Rayman Jungle Run and Rayman Fiesta Run, are some of the best examples of the genre on the Play Store. Now the developers are branching out by bringing Rayman back to his platforming roots. The third game in the series, Rayman Adventures, allows for more direct control of the 2D characters as they run around the screen. That makes stages bigger and less linear, encouraging players to explore every nook and cranny. You know, like an adventure.
The core of the game, in which Rayman or one of his chums runs endlessly when your fingers are off the screen, is intact. But now you can swipe in the opposite direction to get Rayman to run the other way. Swipe again in the direction he's facing to perform an attack, tap once to jump, and swipe down for a standard Mario-style butt slam. It's an interesting way to translate a conventional platforming experience into a touchscreen where the old d-pad standard doesn't always hold up. That said, it definitely takes some getting used to, especially if you're accustomed to the usual "run right until you die" setup.
As always, the Rayman series is positively bursting with original character designs, colorful and unique stages, and fantastic music. Ubisoft's UbiArt engine is strutting its stuff again, and the high-resolution 2D graphics and fluid animation make for a pleasurable experience. That said, Rayman has finally decided to go full free-to-play. Jungle Run was a premium game, and Fiesta Run had an up-front price and quite a few elements that encouraged players to pay to access new stages and characters. Rayman Adventures is free to download with in-app purchases that go almost all the way to $100, and features no less than five currencies.
There doesn't appear to be a "power" system (where frugal players have to wait to advance), but without paying you'll have a hard time accessing the creature-based powerups and all the unlockable costumes and other goodies. The whimsical graphics and unique controls make Rayman Adventures worth a definite look, but you might find yourself tiring of the demands for gems, ads, and social media pushes before long.