Did Temple Run need a sequel?
A recent discussion on the Giant Bombcast posited the need for sequels to classic Atari games. The panel ultimately agreed that games in the vein of Pong are so pure in their nature that there is little room for improvement or iteration in their formula. While the original Temple Run boasted more complexity than Pong, it is still a game with simplistic mechanics. Both the original and sequel ask players to execute a series of directional swipes and tilts to avoid environmental elements as the character continuously runs forward. While there are coins to collect and powers to use, the game is largely a graphical interpretation of Simon says.
Temple Run 2 makes several stylistic and mechanical additions to Temple Run, but the core of the game remains largely the same. Temple Run 2′s “sky temple” environment is beautiful, and the level of detail in both textures and animation help to make this sequel feel like a more visually refined experience. The game features sections where the character rides a mine cart. Mine cart segments are a small change of pace that essentially swap the “swipe to turn” mechanic with “tilt to turn.” New characters and powers are added to the player’s arsenal, all of which are unlockable via the in-game currency- which means it is also purchasable with real-world money. Temple Run 2 is playable entirely for free, so these paid additions are more than reasonable.
Also new to Temple Run 2 are “gems.” Gems are collectibles that are doled out to the player at a much slower rate than coins, but are also available for purchase with real-world money. These gems can be used as currency, but can also be used to resurrect the player mid-run. Each time the player fails, the option to spend gems is hovered on screen for some time. This is a more heavy handed implementation of the resurrection wings from the previous game, and can be used to play for what I assume is an infinite amount of time. This would get pretty expensive, as each successive resurrection costs double the amount of gems.
The implementation of gems is unfortunately the most noticeable mechanical change to Temple Run. The developer is well within their right to ask for the player’s money, but the constant option to spend gems at the death screen can become an annoyance. Gems also have poor implications for what someone’s in-game score means, at least when it comes to comparing your personal best to those of others.
If you don’t consider yourself a “serious” Temple Run player, the option to buy your way to the top shouldn’t be a nuisance. I mostly play endless runners for some distraction while waiting for the train, not to reach the top of the leaderboards.
Some quick housekeeping notes: During my time with Temple Run 2 I encountered several bugs which involved me instantly dying. There are strange graphical anomalies involving water, and the game’s draw distance on a new iPad is distractingly short.
Temple Run 2 is a good endless runner game, better in some ways than the original, and in other ways worse.
Temple Run 2 is available on the App Store for Free