Welcome to 'Temple Run 2,' released a little more than a year after the original blockbuster game.
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While many may say, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," this is not true for Temple Run 2. The original was a smash hit, downloaded more than 170 million times across iOS and Android devices, but there remained a lot to be improved upon in the game.
Temple Run 2 [iTunes link] represents those improvements, proving that the development team of Imangi Studios took a lot of time to add more depth into this mega-addictive endless runner.
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First off, the game is far more beautiful than its predecessor. Imangi cofounder Keith Shepherd said they added two members to the team specifically to make Temple Run 2 as beautiful as possible. The effort paid off: The game takes place in as lush of a game world as you can get on an iPhone, and it definitely takes advantage of Retina displays. The cloud-swathed, floating temple is surrounded by the pink sky of the "golden hour" that occurs before sunset.
The environments are also more varied, along with the obstacles. As soon as you start mastering the early terrain, Temple Run 2 switches it up on you, driving you deeper into dense woods full of ill-placed spike traps. Further down still is a perilous mine shaft, and you'll have to keep racing through to escape. Each area is interesting and full of nicely illustrated detail.
Even the menacing monkey chasing you has benefitted from a graphical upgrade. Instead of a pack of tiny primates, you're now being chased by one giant ape. Seeing his figure behind you as you race and turn is good motivation to keep going.
While many things have improved, the simple control scheme didn't, and that's a great thing. The best thing about the Temple Run franchise is it's easy to pick up, yet hard to master the game. It's the key to what made the original such a success, and it will help propel the second to great heights.
Temple Run 2 also beefed up the characters available to the player. Shepherd said they found there were enough fans who wanted a real differentiation between all the avatars, so the developer obliged by adding different power-ups to each. They don't add as much depth to the gameplay as advertised, but still are nice for players who favor one character over another.
The characters and power-ups can all be purchased with real money as well as in-game currency. This is something we've come to expect from freemium games. My one gripe, representative of the freemium formula being taken too far in Temple Run 2, is how the game handles your eventual death. Now, when your character falls off the edge or smacks his head into a wall, a small dialogue box appears, crying "Save Me!" Reviving your character costs one gem, and while they are sporadically available as you race through the game, five can be purchased for just 99 cents. It's an easy way to cheat death, but it could also easily be an addictive way to stretch your runs just a little farther. Just let me buy the game for a dollar so I don't have to see this, please?
Despite this drawback, I can see Temple Run 2 reaching the same success as the first game based on its improvements. I'm looking forward to seeing every mobile screen on New York's subway taken up by this game -- a real sign of its success.
For the price (free), iOS gamers cannot skip this one.
Images courtesy of Imangi
This story originally published on Mashable here.