With 170 million downloads since its release in 2011, Temple Run is one of the most popular – not to mention addictive – mobile games the world has seen. And since developer Imangi Studios knows you can never get enough of a good thing, it’s finally produced a sequel, rather imaginatively called Temple Run 2.
While the likes of Angry Birds have tweaked storylines and environments, Temple Run 2 sticks fairly closely to its predecessor, with the same basic storyline alongside the same simple controls. Starting off as Guy Dangerous, you are running for your life through a jungle environment having stolen an ancient idol, jumping and dodging obstacles as you go. Instead of the horde of monkeys from the first game, you’ve got a single mega monkey on your tail, who’ll be keen to make you his breakfast if you slip up.
Controls are much the same as the original Temple Run – swipe left or right to turn, down to slide under overgrown tree roots or up to jump over broken bridges or gaps in the road. The longer you run, the quicker you’ll get, making it more and more difficult to react on time. As you go you have to collect coins – these go towards upgrading your abilities in the shop or unlocking one of the three other characters available, namely Scarlett Fox, Barry Bones or Karma Lee.
That's the first big change in Temple Run 2 – these characters are not just cosmetic, each has their own unique power-up. Once you've collected enough coins to fill up the power meter on the left-hand side of the screen, you can activate your chosen runner's ability by double tapping the screen. Other characters can find these power-ups as one offs throughout the levels, but your character will be able to use their unique power-up whenever the power meter is full.
Another new feature is the introduction of gems. These are scarcer than coins, but can be used to restart your game from where you last died, or for boosting power-ups. Like coins, these can be bought through in-app purchases, though we didn’t find that we needed to do that to enjoy the gameplay – somewhat refreshing for a freemium game.
As with the original Temple Run, you have objectives to fulfil to move up the levels and win coins and gems for doing so – everything from running a certain distance without dying to collecting a certain number of coins. There are some new additions to levels too, with ropes to slide down and mine shafts to navigate, tilting your phone to move it successfully onto the right track without crashing into dead ends. It’s nice to see some new mechanics added into the gameplay to keep you on your toes – it’s certainly a section of the game that takes some practice.
There's also quite an improvement in the graphics over the original Temple Run – everything is crisper and the environment feels more vibrant and exciting.
Temple Run 2 follows its predecessor's well-worn path – and that’s no bad thing. The graphical tweaks and new gameplay mechanics change up the forumla enough to pose a challenge to even the most dedicated Temple Runner, while still remaining simple enough for newbies to pick up the game with ease. One thing is for sure – it's the gold standard for freemium games.