I consider myself a gamer. I’ve had most consoles and like playing most genres, although I tend to favor deep engaging experiences. Even so, I’m always open to enjoying a good casual game, especially those that instantly grab your attention and that keep you playing for far more than you initially intended.
Temple Run was one of those games. When it released a bit more than a year ago, it brought along a kind of gaming experience that, while not unheard of, certainly felt novel and right at home on the iPhone, iPad and other iOS devices.
This first game was an overnight success and really capitalized from its “freemium” model and the great reviews that spread mostly via word-of-mouth and every major social networking site. All of this led to Temple Run being downloaded an impressive 170 million times and for the developers to (naturally) start working on a sequel.
Now Temple Run 2 is here and while the game remains fun and entertaining, it does little to improve on the original formula.
For the uninitiated, Temple Run 2 follows the same story of the original one: You control an archeologist being pursed relentlessly by some sort of ape-demon (it was a bunch of small monkeys in the original) that is forced to hop and glide while he runs for his life.
The mechanics of the game are simple: Swipe up to jump, swipe down to slide, swipe left and right to turn to each side and turn your iPhone slightly to make your character lean to the sides of the track to save himself from certain death and sometimes to also pick up some nice loot.
For those who played the original, Temple Run 2 offers a much prettier set of graphics, with detailed textures that depict beautiful environments no matter where you go. You run through a series of paths and alleys, climb on ropes, hop into carts and leap over bottomless pits, all with the goal of .. well… reaching a further point than your previous run.
In the way you will collect several coins that will allow you to buy upgrades, gain more abilities and even change your main character.
Additionally, you can also gain or buy “gems” which are another (also costlier) form of currency that allow you to do things that its predecessor wouldn’t, like restart from the spot where you fell for example. In theory this might sound like fun, but I actually found it very discouraging and even sad.
Call me a purist, but buying your way to a higher score is just plain greedy on the part of the developers and completely undermines any efforts that skilled players put in the game.
Still, the game is and will remain fun for anyone who loved the original and wants more of the same. If however, you are like me and were expecting something more (at least a set goal or something), you will be disappointed, although by a much prettier game that is!
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