Who would have thought that outrunning demonic primates in an endless Amazonian jungle as a ginger man named Guy Dangerous could be so addictive.
That is exactly the premise of Imangi Studio’s superb offering on iOS. Temple Run is a free game currently available on the App Store and on the Android Market from February. Belonging to the ever-popular “endless running” genre, Temple Run has been trending on Twitter consistently since its release last August with gamers updating their highest scores for all to see.
The aim of Temple Run is to keep protagonist Guy sprinting for as long as possible from a chasing horde of demon monkeys. Whilst the game takes care of the running, your job is to manoeuvre Guy down a series of randomly-generated platforms and bridges whilst collecting coins and power-ups. Should you fall off a platform or hit an obstacle the game is over and the apes chasing your swift-moving derriere will help themselves to a nice spot of “endless runner” lunch.
Essentially, the longer you run for and the more coins you collect, the higher your score. As the game wears on Guy will run faster, the platforms will get narrower and the obstacles will become more frequent; keeping the player on their toes and ensuring that boredom at proceedings is simply not an option.
The controls in Temple Run are relatively simple. To turn left or right you swipe on your device’s screen accordingly. To avoid obstacles you can either swipe up to jump over them or swipe down to slide Pete Townsend-style underneath them. Timing is of the essence; turn too early and you may well find yourself running head-first into a tree. Mistime a jump and you could well find yourself in the murky green water below. Tilting your device allows your character to run down the right or left side of a platform, an action which will be necessary to collect a decent amount of coins, but tilting too far will see you catch the side of the platform and allow your pursuers time to catch up.
Temple Run is surprisingly atmospheric. The scenery is well-designed and the character’s actions and movement are realistic but also slightly exaggerated, allowing for an almost cartoon-like feel to proceedings. The background music is a steady, looped jungle drumbeat which ensures a tense atmosphere as you continue onward in your quest for coins.
These coins can be spent in the in-game store for collectible power-ups (which are picked up whilst embarking on your next run), new characters and even Temple Run wallpapers. Of course none of these options come cheap and you will be expected to punish yourself in your anti-monkey sprints before you can buy yourself any assistance. You can also spend your real-life golden coins to unlock power-ups but after a few hours of game time you will have amassed more than enough in-game cash to trade.
The beauty of Temple Run lies in its almost unlimited replay value. Much like its fellow “endless running” titles the appeal lies in encouraging you to beat your previous best score. It is easy to see why Temple Run is such a popular title and why so many gamers, myself included, just can’t get enough of jungle running.
There are a few minor grumbles. The scenery, despite the atmospheric look, doesn’t really change as you run further and further into the game, making the scene look somewhat repetitive after a few minutes. The lack of a multiplayer mode is disappointing given the potential on offer (though there is an option to view the high scores set by Game Centre friends) but as I say, these are just minor complaints and both can certainly be rectified in future updates.
Temple Run is a well-made and genuinely addictive game. The responsive controls and the atmospheric look and sound of the game make for an extremely fun experience. The game itself remains a simple premise but offers a great challenge: an essential combination for any good game on the casual market.
The “endless running” genre consists of many excellent titles, with the likes of Tiny Wings, DoodleJump and Grim Joggers receiving high acclaim. Temple Run goes above and beyond, offering gamers a superb, addictive experience throughout.