Release Date: January 17
Platforms available on: iOS, Android (coming soon)
Publisher: Imangi Studios
Genre: Endless Runner
The phenomenally-popular Temple Run is one of the biggest success stories of the tablet and smartphone age we currently find ourselves in. Imangi Studios' endless runner has racked up more than 170 million downloads across the iOS and Android platforms, so following it up with a satisfactory sequel is quite the challenge for the studio.
For obvious reasons, the development team had a bigger budget to play around with this time, and it shows. Temple Run 2 is graphically richer and larger in scope, but little has changed beneath the surface. This is the same ongoing runathon as before, with an extra coat of polish and some new bells and whistles.
It's immediately apparent where the additional funding has been invested. Temple Run 2 is a vastly better-looking game than its forebear, boasting more lifelike animation, detailed environments and varied level design.
There are some gameplay and content enhancements too, some more impactful than others. For instance, our athletic archaeologist is now chased by a giant mutant ape, rather than a bunch of smaller ones, heightening the sense of urgency as you leap over chasms and swerve deadly traps.
The environments you race across are also more varied than before, with gradients, ziplines and minecart escapades to make this feel like a fresh experience in the short term. However, these new elements are merely surface-deep additions.
Temple Run 2 sports the same interface and basic premise as the original. Players guide a poor man's Indiana Jones on an eternal run across an Aztec-themed labyrinth, using swipe, tilt and tap gestures to avoid hazards and activate power-ups. There are treasures and special items to collect along the way, which can be invested in prolonging your next run.
Gems are new collectables that enable you to continue your run after you have perished. They can be collected during the game or purchased through in-app transactions, which essentially means high scores can be bought with real-life currency as well as skill, thus cheapening the experience.
Like its predecessor, much of Temple Run 2's appeal lies in its sheer addictiveness. When your run comes to an end, there's always the sense that you could make it that bit further in your next attempt, making the game near-impossible to put down. There are also challenges and unlockables to further its longevity.
Challenges range from reaching a certain distance to collecting a set number of coins, while the most notable unlockables are additional playable characters. There are four adventurers to unlock, each coming with their own range of special abilities. None of these powers have a game-changing impact, but it's nice to have something to work towards.
Temple Run 2 is dazzling on a Retina display-packing iPhone or iPad, but the technological enhancements cause it to stutter slightly on older hardware. While it still looks impressive on a first-generation tablet, the marginal lag makes it easy to misjudge obstacles and usually results in your untimely demise.
Many of Temple Run 2's biggest-selling points are the same as its predecessor's - the adrenaline-fuelled gameplay, sheer addictiveness and simplistic controls make this a decent game in its own right, but it feels more like a remake or deluxe edition of the original than a fully-fledged sequel.
Temple Run was by no means the first endless runner on the mobile scene, and its success paved the way for an influx of worthy competitors. With this in mind, Temple Run 2 feels like a trek across well-trodden ground, albeit a scenic one, rather than a substantial expansion of an existing formula.
Copyright: Imangi Studios