The general Hang Glider resembles its typical real-life counterpart; it has a thin frame covered with sailcloth to form a wing reminiscent of a triangle and a harness suspended from the airframe to carry its pilot. Details varies between games.
In gameplay, the Hang Glider allows the player to travel through midair, usually for crossing bottomless pits or reaching out-of-reach pathways. To begin riding a Hang Glider, the characters simply have to touch it. While using them, the player can control their movements to evade midair obstacles.
In gameplay, Hang Gliders can be used in non-obligatory ways. However, to gain sufficient momentum for the flight, players must run into the Hang Gliders with as much pace as possible. While riding the Hang Glider, the player can press left on to go up and right to dive. However, the latter will make the Hang Glider slow down, and if the player loses too much speed, Sonic will fall. At occasional points in Sky High Zone Act 2, the player can catch the Act's local updrafts on the Hang Glider to increase its altitude. To get off it, the player has to press /.
Outside the game, Sonic riding a Hang Glider is featured prominently on many of the box and cartridge designs for Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
Sonic Rush series
In Sonic Rush, the Hang Glider is wider and its sailcloth is more arrow-shaped with an orange and yellow coloration. In this game, it is a gimmick exclusive to Altitude Limit.
In gameplay, the Hang Glider serves as the obligatory mean to crossing expanses of open sky. As the characters start riding the Hang Glider, the player's perspective switches to a forward-oriented 3D view. The player can then press up on to ascend, down to descend, and left and right to sheer to avoid Flappers or gather Rings. Eventually, the game returns to its usual 2D perspective and the player will leave the Hang Glider behind.
In gameplay, the Hang Glider will automatically fly to the right at the speed which the characters made contact with it. While riding it, the player is even able to use the Super Boost/Fire Boost. The Hang Glider slowly descends while using it, but the player can gain a sudden burst of altitude by pressing up on . To release the Hang Glider, the player must press /. Sometimes, blue arrows in the background will tell the player when it is appropriate to increase altitude.
Touching enemies without boosting will both damage the characters and wrestle them free from the Hang Gliders. Similarly, touching the ceiling will cause the player to lose the Hang Glider. Machine Labyrinth's steam jet gimmicks will also make the player lose the Hang Glider as the characters get blown away.
In Sonic Rivals 2, the Hang Gliders are more slender, but still arrow-shaped. Their sailcloth is as well red with blue and yellow patterns. They are only encountered in Blue Coast Zone Act 3.
In gameplay, the Hang Gliders are used for swift travel above a section of the track, meaning they serve no obligatory purpose. While in midair, the player can move the Hang Gliders up and down with the directional buttons or control stick. Upon touching the ground or reaching past a certain point in the section, the characters will dismount off the Hang Gliders.
In the Nintendo DS version of Sonic Colors, the Hang Gliders have sharp red wings with a yellow frame and a totem head on the front. They are only encountered at the end of Tropical Resort Act 1.
In gameplay, the Hang Glider serves the same purpose as in Sonic Rush and works much in the same way. Like in Sonic Rush, the player's perspective turns to a forward-oriented 3D view when Sonic starts riding it. The player can then move left and right with to avoid floating bombs or gather Rings. Eventually, the game returns to its 2D perspective and the player will release the Hang Glider.
In this game, the Hang Gliders are not used in gameplay. Instead, they appear during the cutscenes at the end of Flying Batter Zone and the beginning of Press Garden Zone, where they are used by the playable character to travel between the two aforementioned Zones.