Temple Run is an instant iPhone classic
The sign of a very good game is one that makes you say “just one more”. The most addictive games in the industry all had this going for them: How many times have you said you would play just one more game of Modern Warfare? Civilization? Complete just one more quest in World of Warcraft? Temple Run might not have the deep gameplay appeal of those video game classics, but it has their addictive qualities in spades.
Like many of the best mobile games, Temple Run is a stunningly simple concept. You control what appears to be a ginger Nathan Drake (of the Uncharted series fame) through a labyrinth of ruins. The character’s movements are automated, aside from your ability to quickly swipe him up, down, right or left to manage tight corners or obstacles; as well as the ability to use the iPhone’s accelerometer to move him left or right to navigate the small corridors to pick up coins as you run. The controls are extremely responsive, and you never get a sense that you failed because the game didn’t register your movements correctly or there was a disconnect between your input and the game responding to it.
Temple Run is a straight survival high-score game. Gathering coins will garner you points, and you will continually gain points as you continue to stay alive. As you run, you can also pick up power-ups that will help you on your high-score quest. For example, there is a magnet power-up that will allow you to pick up all nearby coins (which will really boost your score, especially when you’re far enough along to have double and triple value coins), another that boosts you ahead hundreds of meters, and more. Everything is randomly generated as you go, so the paths will never seemingly repeat themselves (though, I’m sure more elite players will be able to pick up on patterns) and it is simply down to you reacting to circumstances in front of you to stay alive.
Each game could take anywhere from a half-a-minute to a couple minutes, which makes it easy to convince yourself that one more game wouldn’t be the end of the world. Additionally, the coins you collect are added together and can be used on upgrading the effects of power-ups, as well as buying additional characters, wallpapers, and game items. You can also purchase coins if you are the lazy type, but nothing is terribly expensive and can be purchased within a couple of good runs. Upgrading the power-ups has a great dual-effect; they give you a target to work towards, which keeps you playing (allowing you to get better) and then the upgrades themselves can make your score go through the roof. The game also includes leaderboards, which will likely give you an additional objective to keep playing.
Perhaps the best part of the game is its price-tag: free. Even better, it is currently completely ad-free (though I can’t imagine that’s going to continue, given the games popularity). This is a game that you will likely be playing for quite some time, and to offer it for free actually makes me feel bad that they didn’t charge $0.99 for the app—even at that price it is a steal. All told, if this game isn’t on your phone, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice.