It's hard to deny that Rayman isn't a popular character in the console world - he might not be Sonic but the disjointed little fella certainly has a kind of Gaelic charm and I wont have a game belittled just 'cos it's cute.
Racing a limbless creature might cause certain problems in other circumstances but in Rayman Rush its pleasantly easy, too many games take forever to learn just the controls. It's fantastic to find a game to just pick up and play.
There aren't too many platform based racing games on the market at the moment, which makes Rayman Rush have an air of distinction. Rush might imply a supersonic blast, though in the four familiar environments (to Rayman fans at least) and the 12 courses, its more of a fast amble. Blue speed arrows on the ground to pass over tempt you to feel the need for speed but you aren't looking at an uncontrollable power surge as in Wipeout, more of a post Lucozade buzz.
With eight characters to choose from, four to be unlocked as the game progresses, it's a shame that there isn't much difference between them. You cant get much different looking than Globox, Razorbeard and Henchman 800, but you'd think the peg legs of one and the iron gait of another might lead to some change in movement, sadly not. Hence unlocking the characters isn't a main aim of the game play - memorising the courses is though!
Each course is packed with obstacles and switches and with three laps to circulate you start to learn that jumping as soon as you turn right saves walking into a wall or exploding barrel, giving you the chance to keep up with your AI opponent. Despite having a nicey-nicey exterior the AI opponents will actually encourage dirty game play, as using a stungun approaching the finishing line might be your only way of winning.
Single Player mode is divided into five segments. Championship mode sees head to head action against the console, and winning the round opens up new options in the rest of the game. Similarly winning the speed attack, lums mode and eventually target mode sees more alternatives being released. Lums mode and Target mode add a new element to the game and you have to hunt down glowing fairies or shoot down butterflies as well as beat your opponent around the course. Both are very similar though and if you cant make some of the jumps by the power of your 'copter head gear (or ears) you will struggle to collect them all. For practise though, there is also a valuable Training Mode.
Real fun is predominantly in the two-player manner, it will see even the more hand eye co-ordinationally challenged friends becoming quickly competent and vastly competitive as the game thrives on simple racing frolics.
Perhaps having so little skill involved will make Rayman Rush a short lived addiction but luckily the music doesn't become too irritating and its definitely one for those that like cute and friendly titles. Mates that you may have beaten for years at more complicated racing games can suddenly thrash you on this one and this will keep Rayman Rush's two-player mode a regularly playable challenge.Overall score: 7 out of 10
Publisher: Ubi Soft
Recommended Price: £19.99