Temple Run‘s quite the mobile phenomenon, with over 1.5 million reviews between Apple’s App Store and Google Play. The game’s been downloaded over 10 million times, and its popularity continues to grow. With the plethora of other free games available on the mobile market, is this one worth the download? Absolutely.
Temple Run places you in the role of an adventurer pillaging lost ruins in search of treasure. But this game lets you skip all the map-finding, torch-lighting, cave-digging nonsense and jump straight to the excitement; touching the start button places the temple idol in your hand, beginning the inevitable chase out of the temple. Controls are simple; swiping to the left or right will turn your character, and running is done automatically. You’ll have to swipe up to jump over tree roots and chasms in the path, while you’ll have to swipe down to slide under low-hanging stone barriers and lines of fire. Tilting the device to the left or right will let you move slightly along the path as you pick up coins floating on the path. Making a slight mistake in timing will cause your explorer to trip, placing a pack of wild animals hot at your heels waiting to devour you. One more mistake, or running into any obstacle on the path will make a quick end of you.
The game holds a deceptive amount of addiction. The game feels fast and frenetic from the first play, almost too much to handle, but the speed keeps the excitement level on high even after playing the game multiple times. Each round you can collect coins which can be traded in for power-ups in between rounds. Temple Run‘s power-ups range from invisibility that makes you immune to obstacles to coin magnets that draw all coins to you. The prices on power-ups are pretty reasonable; many games try to exploit the free-to-play model by creating a barrier to entry to a certain point of game, requiring so much in-game currency to get to it that you have to shell out some real dough. Though obtaining some of the bonuses is easier after purchasing in-game cash, I’ve never felt a necessity to throw money down in the game. Considering the game is free in the first place, even spending a couple dollars on bonus coins is a pretty fantastic deal.
One of the best facets of this game is its achievement system, which allows you to add multipliers to your score for each one you obtain. They start off easy but gradually grow in difficulty, providing great inspiration to keep playing. Increasing your multiplier makes it easier to post scores up on the leaderboards, but doesn’t remove any of the challenge from the game. The score bonus provides great incentive to try for even some of the game’s more harrowing achievements like scoring half a million points, or collecting a million points without power-ups.
Overall, Temple Run is one of the most addictive games I’ve played in a long time, and I’ve spent far move money to play far worse games. Though the graphics look great on an iPad (which my play time has been done on), the tilt controls can feel a little unwieldy on a tablet, so my recommendation is to pick this up for your iPod/iPhone or Android smartphone. Combining great graphics, smooth animations, tons of unlockables, stellar controls, Temple Run is a game you definitely should have on your Android or iOS device.