When I did my Best Games of 2012 round up, one of the obvious games to make the list was Temple Run. The game is simple to learn, easy to control, and a lot of fun, not to mention Android users were clamoring to get their hands on the game since it’s iOS release. Last week, Temple Run 2 came out and I decided to give it a whirl. Can the sequel live up to the reputation set by the first game? Let’s find out.
It’s obvious from the start that Temple Run 2 has the familiarity of the first game in a lot of aspects. The controls are all the same- tilt and swipe your way through a maze of terrain. The graphics are similar looking so you’re already acquainted with the world. Also, you’re running from something.
In this case what you’re running from is a single, giant evil monkey, but the idea is the same: run for your life. You run through obstacles, collect coins, and get power-ups. However, there are a lot of cool changes the developers made in-play, and out.
First of all, there are a ton of improvements to the graphics and UI in general. The menus are designed much better (and easier to navigate in my opinion), the representation of the different characters, power ups, and add-ons are a lot cooler, and everything looks better.
The extra features are also a lot more integrated into the game. When I played the first Temple Run, I didn’t think about the extras at all (I didn’t even know there were other characters!) and the power-ups weren’t something I used or even saw, really. That’s all different in this game! The power-ups appear earlier and more often, and you can upgrade them with coins. Each character has a special attribute for more diverse gameplay (they include speed, health, coin collection, and score boosts).
You can also level your characters, which gives you score bonuses, helps you achieve objectives, increases your power-ups, and allows you to unlock new powers. You also get gems throughout the game and when you level.
Gems can be used for a couple of things. The first, and most obvious use, is to “save” yourself so you can continue your current run. When you’re stopped by one of the elements or caught by the evil monkey, you can use 1 gem to save you the first time, then 2 gems after that. If you do that, you’ll start right where you are, with your score, coin, and power-ups all in tact. I thought this was a really cool addition to the game as it’s incredibly frustrating when you are really far to have to start over. It’s also such a fast paced game that if you’re distracted, even for a split second, that could mean certain death.
You can also use gems to booth your power-ups, making them [harder,] better, faster, stronger. With our first character, Guy Dangerous, has a shield as his power-up attribute, meaning that when it’s activated, he’s protected against the elements. Using gems, you can make the shield last longer.
All of this makes Temple Run 2 more immersive- more RPG like. You play and complete objectives. level your characters, and unlock more skills. This also means the game is a lot more fun. But that’s not all.
More than Just Running
That’s right! You do more than run in this game. You’re still escaping, sure, but in Temple Run 2, you also get to slide down ropes and travel through mine shafts in a wooden cart. In both cases you can tilt (and with the cart you have to not to die), and with the cart you can also duck to avoid low hanging support beams.
Now that I’ve taken you through the game a bit, I’m sure you’re wondering what I think (or maybe not). In short: I think the game is really great and very addictive. This review took a little longer than intended to write because I kept playing it “for research.” There are a lot of excellent additions to Temple Run 2 from the improved graphics and added elements for escaping, so you’re not just running. The ability to level your characters and unlock new skills keeps you playing and honestly, I think a bigger monkey is a little scarier; it takes up more of the background so if you fall behind, it’s a little more challenging to see and I think that’s good. It keeps the game interesting.
There are also a bunch of new menu items to view, from Objectives, to Free Stuff, and my personal favorite, Stats, which gives you some cool info on your best run and overall runs. Temple Run 2 isn’t perfect though.
While these are really more like small annoyances, I think they are worth mentioning. The first is that it’s too easy to accidentally spend coin. There is no confirmation on the skills screen, so if you you tap a skill without meaning to, you just spent some money. There are also times in the game when a flashing message will show up with a bonus skill and a coin amount. I didn’t realize this was happening the first time and spent 2,500 coin by accident.
The objectives are also interestingly executed, though I’m not sure I like them. They aren’t all available at once- they are reaveled three at a time. Only when is an objective revealed can you complete it. For example, one objective is to use “Save Me.” If you use it before the objective is revealed, it doesn’t count. In other words, you can only complete an objective when it’s specifically listed for you to complete. I can see why the developers did this, but it’s a little frustrating sometimes when something pops up that I’ve already done.
Temple Run 2 is a fantastically fun game with a lot of great improvements to something we already know and love. The game is a lot more immersive and addicting. Aside from a couple of small annoyances, this game is rock solid!