Honey, I shrunk the guy with floating arms
Rayman is one of those series that I’m glad never died.
So many mascot platformers were unceremoniously killed off (seriously, where’s my Jersey Devil and Aero the Acro-Bat remasters?), but Rayman endured, even with new management. Origins, Legends, and even the mobile runners like Jungle and Fiesta were worth playing, and Mini is the latest attempt for the little guy to make yet another comeback.
Rayman Mini (iOS)
Released: September 19, 2019
MSRP: Part of Apple Arcade ($4.99 a month)
It seems passé to tack yet another “runner” (but not endless!) to the Apple Arcade launch when we’ve seen so many of them in the past, but Ubisoft manages to exercise restraint here when coupled with the “full game without microtransactions” mantra of the Arcade itself.
Full stop, this is ostensibly a platformer where the protagonist just so happens to automatically run. Just like past Rayman mobile games, the art style perfected in Legends translates well to a smaller screen, as Ubisoft has managed to wring out every nuance on top of all of the color that this universe brings.
Best of all, there’s full controller support now. In an instant, you can connect a PS4 or Xbox One remote to your iOS device and have at it with precision, or opt for the already fine touch scheme that uses quadrants of the screen to jump and slap. I really dig how there’s a seamless swap between the control methods if you so choose (I found myself changing things up every few levels), as not every Apple Arcade game supports that: this is how it’s done.
Although Rayman has run before, the whole “mini” angle (in which he and his friends are shrunk down to size) is enough of a gimmick to carry a full sequel. Although it’s very easy to forget the scale for a number of stages, the development team mixes enough surprises in to keep you guessing and remind you that yes, you are very small indeed. This does mean that sometimes, it’s an excuse to throw more hazards into the mix to compensate and add a grander sense of scale (which leads to a sparing sense of trial and error).
That said, it also opens up the level design a bit with optional paths, all of which lead to a higher score, more costumes, and a 100% completion rate. The runner formula is on full display here, including the frustration involved when you have to redo an entire level just to practice a tough sequence, but that comes with the territory (in one section I had issues with an enemy that you naturally feel inclined to dive bomb into, but falling into them led to more air to clear a gap).
Rayman Mini is yet another successful foray into the mobile arena for the series, and best of all, it isn’t muddled by microtransactions. It’s sad this isn’t the norm, right? I can’t stress enough how much cleaner the whole subseries is without IAP (in-app-purchases), to the point where it feels more in line with Rayman proper.
[This review is based on a retail build of the game through an Apple Arcade subscription purchased by the reviewer.]