“Take the Idol if You Dare!”

Temple Run is a rather simple, but thoroughly addicting and enjoyable game for mobile devices. It is a free game, though in many respects operates on a free-to-play model (FTP) in that you can purchase coins and upgrades via the built in store. Fortunately, these upgrades can also be achieved by playing the game (sometimes a lot!); so the payment options are not completely necessary to get the full experience of the game.  

The general concept of Temple Run is simple. You are a character who is being chased by monkeys, presumably because you stole the “idol” from the “sacred temple.” These quotation marks come as no surprise, as plot in this game is non-existent. Gamers have been provided with a general set-up, but the actual gameplay is very different then this absurd starting point. Fortunately, the gameplay is much more fun than thinking about how a story could make this game more amusing.

You control your character by moving your phone from side to side, and scraping up on the screen to jump; and scraping down on the screen to slide. This is a very simple control scheme, and works very well on mobile devices. To put it shortly: the controls are very intuitive, and feel very natural. I played this game on an Apple iPhone, and found that it was very sensitive to my actions; which made the game experience all the better.

Essentially, you have three primary goals in Temple Run. The first is to run as far as you can. The game keeps track of how many meters you run, and even has a statistics page to view this information in more depth. The second is to collect coins and other miscellaneous power ups (such as speed boost and temporary invincibility cloaks). These coins can then be spent in the game’s store towards new power ups, players, and even wallpapers you can use on your mobile device’s main screen.

On the sound front, the game is pretty nice to listen to (especially for a free game). It actually reminded me heavily of Crash Bandicoot (from the first Playstation console) in that it featured some absurd sounds, a crisp coin collection tone, and the sound of tribal drums. Ultimately, the sound elements are not the selling point of this game, but they certainly do not detract from the experience in any significant way.

All in all, Temple Run for mobile gaming systems is a fun, albeit not very deep, video game experience. It’s producers did not exactly take any risks, but if you are looking for a game to pull out and amuse yourself with from time to time; or potentially get addicted to (like my girlfriend and I have!), then you will have a great time with this free mobile game.