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iPhone App Video Review: Temple Run 2

by Andrew Koziara

After an unexpected explosion of popularity way past the original Temple Run’s release date, Imangi Studios have probably been swimming in Scrooge McDuck piles of gold, and a sequel became an inevitability. That sequel is now here, but have there been enough changes? I’d say so. Set in a new Temple with new obstacles and all the rest, Temple Run 2 just barely avoids stagnation. Let’s break it down.

We’re now running on a magnificent mountain sky temple instead of a foggy old swamp, with one large demonic skull-faced gorilla to outrun instead of several small ones. Your pathway is no longer completely straight, either. Dips, rises, and bends mixed in with normal obstacles and ledges, often obscure obstacles from view until the last second. The more dynamic mountain paths are much more pleasing to behold, and now that obstacles aren’t always straight ahead, the developers didn’t have to rely as much on blinding speeds and constant turns to create a challenge. What this means is less of a sense of speed, but I’d say that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Joining normal running segments are the zip-line rope segments and mine cart segments. Rope segments are free of obstacles, and serve as a brief respite from the chaos accompanied by a soaring feeling as you fly past bottomless drops, tilting to collect coins. Mine Cart segments offer more of the same running, dressed up as something new, tilting to keep the cart on broken single rails and turning to avoid dead ends. The power-ups and upgrades have also been reworked. Now, alongside random power ups that litter your path, you’ll have one power up that you can activate at any time, once the meter has been sufficiently charged by collecting coins. Unlocking new characters also unlocks new pocket power-ups, but really, the only ones you’ll need come from leveling up and the cheapest character, Scarlett Fox. Still, this lets you employ a bit more strategy as you try to mix and match upgrades to accrue as much money per run as possible. Plus, you can upgrade pocket power-ups with the green gems, the other major new addition to the game.

More specifically, they’re large green gems that act as a kind of premium currency, but don’t let that send you running. You can actually pick gems up pretty often during runs, and are awarded several for completing those famous objectives. The objective progression seems a bit odd though. Immediately after collecting 5000 coins, I was tasked with collecting a paltry 750. Not much rhyme or reason to them. Anyway, now, when you die, you can use one gem (or more gems after consecutive deaths) to revive and keep going. These replace the old angel wing retries, which had to be activated at the right time to be used, and thus could be wasted. Likewise, you no longer hoard and stock up on head-starts whether you use them or not, but are prompted to buy and use them at the start of your run.

The new locale and backdrops are simply gorgeous, with more varied architecture, lovely forest waterfalls, etc. The soundtrack, while noticeably different, sounds very much the same, with similar sounding drums. The game is a little bit buggy too, mostly due to visual pop-in and glitched ledges that often lead to deaths. Also, if your sprint runs out while you’re zip-lining, you’ll keep that speed up once you’ve landed and are sure to careen off a cliff to your squishy demise.

You probably won’t notice the more important, nuanced changes to the upgrade store until you’ve experimented with the game a bit. Despite this new depth, if you’re just generally burned out on runners, Temple Run 2 doesn’t really give you much reason to rejoin the crowd. Imangi tried to keep things simple, without making too many bold changes, and generally played it safe. Luckily, they were working with a winning formula. I would have liked to see a bit more genuine change, but I’m still fairly hooked on this one. With completely inoffensive in-app purchases and solid, familiar gameplay, you should feel free to download Temple Run 2.

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