After a very successful stint on the iOS, Temple Run is finally available for Android and best of all it is completely free to play. The game is an action packed endless chase with your intrepid explorer having to escape the clutches of some nasty demonic monkeys who are hot on his (or her) heels. The game opens with your explorer exiting the temple with the monkeys in hot pursuit and from there it is up to you to avoid obstacles, collect coins and get as far away as possible before inevitably succumbing to some sort of peril.
Like the best arcade games, the idea behind Temple Run is very simple but it is addictive enough that you will keep coming back for more. As fearsome as the monkeys that chase you look, they are actually the least of your problems. If your reflexes are good enough to guide your character past any tree roots that might cause them to stumble you will barely see the monkeys at all. The real problem is the other hazards that litter the endless path that your character is sprinting down.
The game is played by holding your screen in the vertical position so you can see ahead far enough to spot any upcoming obstacles. Your character is constantly running and you cannot cause them to stop or slow down so your job is to guide them safely along the path for as long as possible. Of course, the path is not just a straight line but features plenty of sharp turns, which has to be navigated with a left or right swipe across the screen unless you want to go hurtling into piranha-infested waters. Swiping upwards causing your character to jump which is essential for getting past gaping holes in the ground. Swiping downwards causing your character to slide which is the only way to get past low hanging obstacles in your path. While running you can collect coins that is reached by tilting the phone left or right to guide your explorer into position for grabbing these.
The controls are very responsive so I never had any problems with guiding my explorer along the route. The game gradually speeds up and some areas of the path start to go missing forcing you to manoeuvre your character a bit more deftly in order to avoid coming to an unfortunate halt. It is also possible to take the wrong turn in the heat of the moment but you will always be able to see in advance which turns are dead ends. To soften the blow of dying you receive a humorous depiction of your characters demise and Imangi Stuidios actually went through the effort of making these unique for all the characters.
The game is completely free to play and does not even feature any obtrusive ads. Instead, all the power-ups and extra characters are purchased with coins that can be bought for real cash. This is just for the impatient however as you can simply collect the coins while playing the game as normal as well. It might take you a bit longer but there really is no reason to spend any real cash to get the most out of this game. Temple Run is one of those games that never end so it is all about putting up the highest score. While it can become a bit repetitive, the game is undeniably addictive so it really is fun to play occasionally even after you have become tired of it. There are loads of objectives to aim for and plenty of new characters and power-ups to purchase, which prevents the game from becoming boring.
Visually the game looks good but not outstanding. The 3D characters and environments are pretty basic but everything moves at a nice speed so you don’t exactly have time to stop and examine the texture detail. Although the playing field is randomized so you will not be running down, the same path every time the game could have benefited from some more variety in regards to the environments. The audio consists mostly of some tribal sounding drums and the screeching of the monkeys if they manage to catch up with you. Apart from that, you will be hearing the grunts and groans of your explorer as they hurtle over, under and past all the obstacles in their way.
If you are an Android owner that has yet to experience the thrills of Temple Run then there really is no excuse anymore. This is definitely one of those games that will stay on your phone long after some of the others have been uninstalled. The fact that it is not riddled with adverts is definitely a plus as well.
*Review originally published 2012.