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- Developer - Imangi Studios
- Publisher - Imangi Studios
- Device tested - iPhone 4
- Release date - iOS (out now), Android, 24 January
- Price - Free
Temple Run 2
It's hard to know why Temple Run 2 even needs to exist. With its insipid new features, barely optimised graphics and slightly-slicker-than-before control scheme, it feels like the mobile equivalent of a new Modern Warfare or FIFA. A cynical, minimal update, it's only tangible purpose is to make more money for Imangi. No evil thing when you're running a business, but quite boring to write about...
An endless runner, similar to Line Runner and Canabalt, you play an Indiana Jones-esque explorer who's just nabbed an artefact from an ancient temple guarded my monsters. Fleeing the scene, you need to swipe upwards on the iPhone screen to jump obstacles, swipe down to slide under them and tilt the phone left and right to shimmy over catwalks and collect coins. You can collect upgrades, like a magnet which automatically attracts any coin you run past to you, and use your accumulated points to buy upgrades and new character skins from the main menu.
New to Temple Run 2 are jewels, which you can either find in-game or purchase from the App Store for 69p. Using a jewel lets you revive after missing a jump or hitting an obstacle, allowing you to keep your score and keep running. The idea, you see, is to rack up as many points as possible; you'll always lose eventually, but the competition is in beating the high-scores posted online, like this maniac who racked up 31 million points (!) on Temple Run 1.
Feats like that will be a bit trickier with this second game, though, since what's also new to Temple Run 1 is a much steeper difficulty curve. Along with the standard running, which gets faster the more points you collect, there are these finicky mine cart sections that demand quick reflexes and a lot of tilting. The pitfalls aren't so clearly telegraphed either and it's much easier to run off the edge of the course than it was in the first game.
Along with that, the visual design is somewhat improved, with smoother textures and animations. Where Temple Run 1 resembled an overgrown ruin in a swamp, Temple Run 2 is more fantastical, with chunks of rock floating in the sky and weird symbols on everything. It feels cold and airy, a bit like the monastery from Uncharted 2, and includes new obstacles (though they serve the same function) like rivers and jets of fire.
Really, though, it's a hard game to get excited about. If you've played Temple Run already then this is more of the same; if you haven't, it's a totally pedestrian endless runner the likes of which are everywhere on the App Store. There's nothing inherently bad about Temple Run 2 - it's technically more polished, perfectly playable and suitably distracting for a long bus journey. It's just unnecessary really, a blithe reiteration with no greater or lesser ambition than its predecessor.
Temple Run 2 is fine, it works. But where similar sequels usually earn the recommendation "if you like the first one, get this" it's hard to say that about Temple Run 2. Instead, it's more like "if you like the first one, just play the first one" because Temple Run 2 is barely worth mentioning.
Overall score: 6/10
Read what our review scores mean here.