To help market their upcoming film, legendary animation studio Pixar has teamed up with Imangi in the hopes of making the next viral mobile hit. Temple Run: Brave attempts to do this by capitalizing on the success of the original, but in the end just doesn’t offer enough.
Temple Run: Brave is nice looking game, a very welcome improvement over the original. Textures are fairly detailed and colors are vibrant this time around, though the grey haze remains. While it is essential to keep an element of surprise to the gameplay, it ruins what could otherwise be a very lush and beautiful setting.
Unfortunately, this setting never actually changes. The whole time you’re running, you’ll be simply cycling through forests, then forest-like swamps, then back to forests. While you are usually too focused on actually playing the game to notice this, a little variety would've gone a long way, especially when there are so many beautiful locations to choose from from the film.
The only character model you really see, Merida, is nicely done, featuring fairly realistic animations. New outfits for her to wear can be unlocked in the store, but these are merely cosmetic, in no way altering the gameplay.
The one song played during the game is luckily a very good one, taken from the original score of the film itself. It is enjoyable to listen to, making the game feel much more like an adventure, even if you are just swiping your phone’s screen.
Things go downhill from there, but never below simple mediocrity. Merida occasionally drops a line of dialogue, which can get somewhat annoying, though I am impressed that the voice is done by Kelly Macdonald, who does the voice in the film.
Sound effects serve their purpose well, from the increasing pitch of coin-collecting to the whooshes and hums of activating power-ups. Again, they’re nothing special. The one shining exception of this, however, is the thumping of Mordu the bear’s paws as he gallops after you, creating a great sense of urgency when you make a small mistake.
Gameplay is the only real emphasis and selling point of Temple Run: Brave. All you do to play is tilt the device to collect coins (a non-intrusive use of accelerometer and gyroscopic controls), swipe across the screen to turn, swipe up to jump, and swipe down to slide. Occasionally an archery section, the only real gameplay addition over the original Temple Run, will come up, allowing you to shoot at targets along the side of your path in order to get more points. This isn’t an innovative feature at all, barely effecting the core game mechanics, but for what its worth, it’s there. A few helpful power-ups are spread throughout your journey to aid you, but other than that you just collect as many coins as you can and run as long as possible.
Since gameplay is what Temple Run: Brave is relying on to get your attention, the important question is whether or not it works. I am happy to confirm that it does. In fact, it really works. The constantly increasing speed makes it a rush to play as you make dozens of split-second reactions at literally every turn. Once you meet your end, you instantly want to feel that speed once more, encouraging you to hit that replay button.
This is one of those games that you hate that you enjoy it so much. “Addicting” is an over-used word in regards to mobile casual games, but it really does apply here. While it doesn’t offer a whole lot of depth, it does offer a great game to pick up and play for a few minutes at a time. In that regard, it definitely fulfills its goal.
On top of this addicting nature of the game discussed above, there is also a system of improving your power-ups using the coins you collect. This lets you personalize Temple Run: Brave to fit how you prefer to play by making your favorite power-ups even more helpful. Even with this store, the vast majority of Temple Run: Brave’s replayability comes from, like most casual games, your desire to play it over and over again and continuously beat your high score.
At this time, there are no GameCenter leaderboards in the iOS version of the game. These will certainly be added later, but it is worth noting.
Temple Run: Brave is a good time-waster, but not too much beyond that. It is certainly well made and fun to play, but there is one very big catch to it - its price. When you get down to it, barely anything new has been added. The game is certainly worth $1, but I cannot justify even a tentative recommendation when it is essentially a reskin of a free game. Any fun you have with Temple Run: Brave can be had playing the original at absolutely no charge. I highly recommend you go download Temple Run, but unless you’re a die-hard Pixar fan, give its unambitious spin-off a pass.
|Sean Capdeville is the official mobile game reviewer of ScrewAttack.com. A cynic and aspiring film editor, his favorite games include Skyrim, Link's Awakening DX, and NOVA 3. In his spare time, he likes to reference Casablanca.|
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