Review - Temple Run 2
It occurred to me a few days ago that this will technically be the third Temple Run game I’ve reviewed. I covered Temple Run: Brave a while back, and while you guys never saw it, I reviewed the original Temple Run as an example piece when Jared was putting together the reviews team. Yet even after extensively playing three of these games, I have not grown tired of them, which speaks volumes about the series. The newest entry, the official sequel to one of the biggest mobile games of all time, doesn’t ask for any of your money, but does it deserve your attention?
Temple Run 2 received a desperately needed improvement in the graphics department. Most importantly, the unattractive, muddy, and brown tone of the original has been replaced with a beautiful, clear, and golden one. The number of different environments has also expanded from one to three, which is at least a start. The textures throughout the game have seen a slight increase in detail, not to mention the implementation of basic lighting effects. Even the player character models no longer look like he or she is from a PS2 game, and the monster that chases you is intimidating. Finally, much to my delight, the grey fog of unnecessarily limited render distance has been lifted, and while there is the occasional pop-in, this is a small price to pay. Once again, I would advise against marveling at the scenery, for any distractions will most likely claim your life.
As most casual gaming is done sporadically throughout the day on the go, rarely involving headphones, few will actually pay attention to the audio in Temple Run 2, and it certainly feels like Imangi Studios knows that. I don’t mean to say that they didn’t put in any effort in the audio department, but like most mobile games, it’s all simply passable. The music has a nice light bongo drum rhythm, helping out the mood of pursuit, the power-ups sound like you’d expect, and the sound of collecting coins is nice. It shows that the standard of sound in mobile games, especially casual ones, needs to be raised. Again, it isn’t bad, it just lacks ambition. Oh and can we PLEASE get more than one set of grunts for jumping and landing for each character?
Temple Run 2 plays almost exactly like the original Temple Run, which certainly isn’t a bad thing, though a few minor improvements have been made that add up to be fairly significant. For those that don’t know, Temple Run is an auto-runner, the goal of which to survive as long as possible and get the highest score using a series of simple swipes of the screen and tilt of the device. The controls work just as fluidly as ever, the snap decisions the game forces you to make a breeze to execute. Scattered throughout your adventure are power-ups, which are incredibly helpful items, giving you a temporary boost, draws in all coins around you, etc. Unfortunately, not only are they all from the original, but they are fewer in number. Hopefully a few brand new ones will be included in future updates.
Now onto the new things that were added. What you will notice right away is that you are no longer running down completely straight paths, instead most of them are curved. This might be jarring at first if you are used to the other two like I was, causing you to be a little disoriented for a few minutes, but it doesn’t take long to adjust to. And while this sounds like an incredibly minor cosmetic change, it actually enhances the sense of speed of the game quite a bit. The other major improvement is the addition of mining cart sections. Focusing even more on split-second reactions, the mine cart sections have you primarily tilt as you guide your cart through a set of tunnels. There is far too little variety for this to be its own game, but as is, they’re a great change of pace.
The only addition to Temple Run 2 that I question is a separate system of upgrades involving characters. There are four characters to unlock, each is really just a different skin (they all play exactly the same), save a single special manual power-up. These power-ups can be used in-game at any time as soon as your coin meter fills. This is a really good idea, except that the unique power-ups are actually the normal power-ups that only one character can use manually. Except that every character can use it as their manual power-up once you unlock the character it belongs to. You also have to use gems, the most valuable currency in the game, to upgrade these, but only for a single run. This was clearly supposed to be a next step in the franchise, but it just wasn’t really thought out or given enough attention.
In terms of gameplay, the only real replayability Temple Run 2 has is its undeniably addicting nature. There are a few challenges that you can try that will earn you a little extra, but they’re not terribly enticing. There is, however, quite a bit of depth in the game’s store. Temple Run 2 has two separate currencies: coins and gems. Coins are used to upgrade power-ups and other passive bonuses and are collected constantly while running. This is a good system, as it lets you make the power-ups you like better. Gems, on the other hand, are only found every once in a while. Since using them to upgrade your manual power-ups isn’t worth it, as I mentioned earlier, gems are used solely to give yourself another chance. When you die, you have a few seconds to hit a “Save Me!” button, which will let you continue your run for a single gem. The price of your resurrection increases exponentially every time you use it, though it resets every time you start a new run. A nice touch is the ability to use coins to permanently lower the amount of gems needed for a second life, which, combined with more and more helpful upgrades, helps you get a better and better high score over time, which is very encouraging.
To put it bluntly, everyone with a mobile device should get Temple Run 2. Not because it’s the best mobile game
ever--because it certainly isn’t--but because it’s free and just a ton of fun. It’s the kind of addicting that you don’t mind spending time indulging in, a rewarding experience that will keep you coming back for hours upon hours. Its fairly small file size also ensures that it’ll stay on your phone for whenever you want to pick it back up. And while it is very similar to the original Temple Run, fitting the “make the same game, but different” theme Craig and Nick claim sequels fit nowadays, I would argue that Temple Run 2 fits into a slightly different, more superior category of “make the same game, but better.”
7s are very fun and have solid appeal. They have obvious issues that stick out, but can still be enjoyed by anyone.
|Sean Capdeville is the official mobile game reviewer of ScrewAttack.com. An aspiring filmmaker, his favorite games include Skyrim, Link's Awakening DX, and NOVA 3. In his spare time, he likes to reference Casablanca.|