My hands are tired from all this running. The mobile market is saturated with endless runners, an ever expanding litter of Canabalt children that dominates this side of the business as thoroughly as side-scrollers did in the NES days and first-person shooters do today with consoles. With all that running comes almost endless tapping, tilting and swiping. They’re digitized mini-marathons for your hands.
Temple Run 2 probably isn’t the latest game in the genre. It came out three weeks ago, so probably about 100 more have hit iTunes and the Android Marketplace since. It might be the most successful—it was downloaded over 50 million times within two weeks of release. It’s the Usain Bolt of these things.
There are better games than Temple Run 2. There are better games in this genre than Temple Run 2. That doesn’t mean Temple Run 2 should be ignored, especially since that initial download is free.
It’s a little stripped down compared to games like Jetpack Joyride, which tosses out dozens of perks and a variety of obstacles, and Punch Quest, which combines perpetual motion with punching and RPG-style upgradable skills. The third-person perspective is unique, though, and relying on tilt-sensitive gyroscopes adds an element of interaction lacking from most endless runners.
But as an endless runner, it’s exactly what I expected. My intrepid adventurer rushes ever forward, dodging left or right to avoid obstacles and jumping over sliding when I swipe the screen. Occasionally he or she ziplines over wide chasms or rumbles through rickety mineshafts. The road often forks and I have to quickly swipe right or left to turn. A giant ape monster is hot on my trail the entire time, and if I hit too many obstacles he grinds my bones into powder. Along the why I maneuver my avatar to collect coins that can be spent to improve various power-ups, expanding the length and utility of shields and coin magnets or increasing the value of coins after traveling a certain distance. It’s a constant loop of minimal rewards that I quickly and easily got hooked on.
It’s not as addictive as Jetpack Joyride or such runner mash-ups as 10000000 because there aren’t as many power-ups to acquire or objectives to meet. It’s also a little bit easier, perhaps because the third-person perspective makes it easier to see what’s coming and react accordingly. Unlike the side-scrolling Joyride, where enemies can strike from any direction, I only have to worry about what’s in front of me. Even the monster on my tail only catches up when I stumble over too many obstacles. Temple Run 2 may not make it to the endless runner podium, but it doesn’t stumble out of the gate, either.
Temple Run 2
Platform: Android / iOS
Developer: Imangi Studios
Publisher: Imangi Studios
Release Date: 1/17/13 (iOS); 1/26/13 (Android)