Developer: Imangi Studios
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Playtime: Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Well, that came out of nowhere. Temple Run 2 has suddenly burst forth from the temple and on to our iPhones. The sequel is largely just full of minor tweaks that mostly improve the experience while leaving the addictive core untampered.

The goal is the same as it was before: players try to survive as they outrun what is in this case one giant evil monkey, tilting left and right to collect coins and dodge obstacles, swiping to turn, jump, and dash, and picking up powerups. Collected coins can be spent on upgrades to make powerups more effective, helping to extend runs and achieve higher scores.

What’s new? Well, there’s new zipline sections where players jump to ride them, and can tilt to swing to a side and collect points. As well, there’s mine cart sections where players tilt in the direction they want to go down a path and avoid walls, along with trying to ride a single rail in some dangerous sections. These single rail sections can be particularly devious to try and survive. The game has shifted from the forest to a floating jungle in the sky, and it looks gorgeous. There’s a more vibrant display of colors and the 3D modeling is much improved, though there’s a curious amount of draw-in on the iPhone 5.

There’s a two-currency system now, and while that’s usually a reason to groan, this is handled in a way more akin to NimbleBit’s games than most other free-to-play titles. Coins can still be collected, but now there’s gems, which appear infrequently throughout. These can be used to revive when dead, replacing the system of buying them before the game. The cost to revive goes up each time, though there is an upgrade to make it cheaper. As well, they can be used to temporarily power up the permanent player ability for one game. It’s actually very well handled, and prevents abuse of the revive system like in the original, as certain people were wont to do.

What is this permanent player ability, though? Well, in the original, earning coins would cause players to earn a big coin. Now, earning coins charges up an ability that can be unleashed by double-tapping on the screen. This means that a powerup like a shield or magnet can be deployed instantly whenever the bar fills up. These abilities can’t be bought outright, they have to be earned by unlocking characters or advancing to a certain experience level.

Most importantly, playing Temple Run 2 is a simple reminder of why the original was such a hit, and why it stnads above all imitators. Its mechanics are still pristine. Its controls are still pretty much immaculate. The formula has been tweaked, and I think it has come out for the better. It’s evolution, not revolution, but it’s still Temple Run and it’s sitll a lot of fun.

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