By Beau Yarbrough
“Temple Run 2,” the sequel to the ubiquitous mobile game, is also the fastest mobile game to reach 50 million downloads, doing so in just in 13 days since the sequel’s release on Jan. 18.
It’s not hard to see why. The original game has been downloaded more than 170 million times, according to franchise developers Imangi Studios. They’re free and, unlike many “free” games, the in-app purchases – extra coins in the original and coins and gems in the sequel – aren’t required to enjoy the game. I’d even argue that buying the extras probably makes the games a little less fun. (Don’t worry about Imangi making their money back: They’ve turned the brand into a franchise, leading to board games, card games and branded spin-offs like Temple Run: Brave along with the inevitable t-shirts and so on.)
The game – and its sequel – are simple. Remember the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, where Indiana Jones has to run for his life, trying to escape a giant rolling stone ball trap? That’s the game, although Temple Run replaces the iconic stone ball with skull-faced gorillas (a pack of them in the original, a single gigantic one in the sequel).
Along the way, your hero – a red-headed Indiana Jones look-alike named Guy Dangerous – has to leap over and duck under obstacles or cling to precarious ledges. If he runs into too many obstacles or stumbles too many times, his pursuers will catch up to him and devour him. He always loses in the end, but the fun is in seeing if you can get just a bit further the next time, or if you can collect enough coins to unlock better or more frequent power-ups.
Temple Run 2 dramatically improves upon the original’s graphics and trades running through ruins in a tropical rain forest for gorgeous ruins seemingly based on Machu Picchu, high in the Peruvian Andes. (Machu Picchu has traps that shoot jets of flame and giant rolling cylinders covered in spikes, right?) The player will also have to help Guy leap over mountain streams and sheer drop-offs, run along narrow cliffs and duck under logs and chunks of fallen masonry. The sequel also adds ziplines for Guy to slide down and an occasional mine cart sequence that has been my downfall more often than not.
The game runs best on mobile devices released in the last year or two, but should run OK on all but the oldest devices. (And if it doesn’t run well, the original almost surely will.) This is a no-brainer of a download: It’s free, playable in quick 30-second bursts while waiting in line or for an appointment, but is addictive enough to swallow a whole Saturday afternoon if you let it.
The hero’s name may be Guy Dangerous, but this is easily the best Indiana Jones adventure since that business with the Holy Grail.
Temple Run 2
iOS/Android/Amazon (Reviewed iOS)