Most popular mobile game ever, 170 million+ downloads, yada yada yada. It’s impossible to talk about Temple Run 2 without first mentioning Temple Run, so there was my obligatory intro sentence. Now that we’re past the Temple Run, let’s talk about the 2.
One of the most obvious additions this time around is the decidedly nonlinear gameplay. Instead of dreary left and right, now you’ll be rolling around gently curving cliff sides and through winding forest paths, all while maintaining essentially the same simple mechanics. And instead of an endless swamp, the game has been revamped with an open sky environment — like a cross between Uncharted 2 and Twilight Princess‘ City in the Sky.
The graphics are also better (as they should be). I was pleasantly surprised by the flowing rivers the first time I decided to drown myself in them. And then there were the God Rays, which admittedly were probably only a texture overlay. But still, they look nice, don’t they?
You’re also gifted with some new gameplay additions: zip-lining and mine-cart-riding (Nathan Drake and Indiana Jones inspired, respectively). Zip-lining is cool because not only do you get to relax and fully admire the wide open sky you’re soaring through, but you can usually score a huge coin string without any effort. Mine carts are another matter: they’re much faster than simply running, and often there’s absolutely no time to react.
At the expense of all these additions there is a price: lag. Now, I’m not necessarily talking about frame-rate lag, because the game usually runs silky smooth even while I’m multitasking. However, the procedural engine sometimes can’t keep up with what I’m doing. In the first game things were always just there when I rounded a corner, making me feel like the world was as concrete as it’s supposed to be. But in Temple Run 2, more often than not I get this:
No big deal, I suppose, but it does break the magic a bit. As for the rest of the game, there are marked improvements to the UI and menu system. Character selection is a bit more important this time around, since choosing the right character affects what powerups you can grab. There’s also a neat new Gem system. Gems function to increase your powerup strength as well as resurrect you when you die (for a price), and they can be found in-game at random intervals. I like to stockpile 30 or so gems and then waste them all on a run where I can resurrect myself 4 or 5 times in a row.
Unfortunately, Imangi has also succumbed to the horrors of modern app design, such as prompting the user for every little thing. For example, once you get 2500 coins you can buy and use a Head Start as soon as you start running. Too bad I didn’t know that when I tapped the screen more than once, causing me to lose a good portion of my cash for no particular reason.
A few old problems are still not resolved in the sequel, the biggest of which is procedural content placement. Every so often there’s still a big spiky wheel thing right after a big gap in the path, meaning instant death no matter what you do. And I swear I once ran into a mine cart path where both forks in the road were barriers (also instant death).
Okay, so the big question: is Temple Run 2 better than Temple Run? Answer: yes. As it’s still free, I don’t see why anyone would want to pass up getting it. While the series may only be getting better incrementally, and the sequel won’t come anywhere close to the success of the original, it’s still a polished and solid game.
Rating: 8.5/10 Get It: Yes