You know a game is a global phenomenon when it’s a top trend on twitter and has a number of the nations major sports personalities tweeting their top scores to boast to their team mates. Manchester United superstar Wayne Rooney was quick to post his latest top score, tagging in his team mates in a gloating fashion. With nearly 50 million downloads from Apple’s App Store and unanimous critical acclaim across the web, Temple Run has finally hit the Google Play Store.
To set the scene, picture a young Indiana Jones being chased by a pack of rabid monkeys and you’re pretty much there. Why our character is running and where he’s trying to go is a mystery but this game certainly doesn’t rely on a storyline to keep you hooked.
The controls are simple and not entirely dissimilar from previous Android hits such as Wind-up Knight and Diversion. Your character runs automatically and you need to perform a series of manoeuvres in order to negotiate the precarious temple. You can tilt your phone to swerve, swipe the screen up to jump, swipe down to slide and swipe left or right to, well… turn left or right! Sounds simple right? Not exactly, the obstacles become steadily trickier to navigate through as tree stumps follow pits and you’re faced with one sharp bend after another all whilst trying to collect as many coins as possible. There is no end goal to the game, the objective is to keep on going for as long as you can racking up distance, points and coins. You only have one life so as soon as you plummet over the edge or bang into a wall it’s game over.
The game features an in-game store in which you can exchange your hard earned coins (or real cash if you prefer) for additional characters or power-ups. Power-ups can increase your multipliers which will subsequently improve your high score and ensure you climb that leader-board. For such a simple premise, the tension of making sure you avoid a silly mistake as you approach your personal best is what makes the game so much fun. One wrong move and you’re back to the beginning with it all to do again!
The UI is simple and easy to navigate. There are only a few options in the menus and it’s easy to pick up and play right away. Graphics are crisp and bright and I noticed no obvious stutters or lag running the game on my Galaxy Nexus. As mentioned previously, controls are simple meaning the game is easy to play but difficult to master. I did encounter the occasional force close error, particularly when attempting to ‘run again’ after plummeting to an untimely demise. Not the end of the world but a little irritating and something I’m certain will be addressed in an update.
The mobile gaming market has sky-rocketed over the past few years with mobile devices having a huge impact on sales of dedicated gaming devices such as the Nintendo 3DS and Sony Playstation Vita. Whether you’re a casual gamer or a seasoned pro, you’ll find everything from stunning visual spectacles such as Dead Space or Shadow Gun to simple puzzlers like Tetris and Bejewelled. As technology advances and we see true HD screens, quad core processors and copious amounts of RAM, it’s inevitable that we’ll see the quality and complexity of mobile gaming move on to the next level. All of that said, this writer is of the belief that for mobile gaming, particularly if it’s on a handheld touch-screen device, it’s at its very best when it’s kept simple, and Temple Run achieves this perfectly. The visuals are sharp enough to please the eye, the controls are simple enough for your average toddler to grasp yet the game-play is sufficiently challenging to keep you coming back for more. You can play it for 2 minutes or 2 hours and that, for me anyway, is the mark of a great mobile game.
Try it out for yourself by clicking the links below, but be warned… it’s addictive!