How do you follow up a surprise hit game that saw 170 million downloads? Well, if your Imangi Studios you release a follow-up sequel that stays true to the original design. At least that’s the approach they took with Temple Run 2, the sequel to their smash hit Temple Run.
In Temple Run 2, like its predecessor, the goal is to follow a random generated path while collecting coins and avoiding obstacles. You run, and run, and run some more. That’s the simple, yet addictive goal of an endless runner. It worked in the original, and it works in Imangi’s sequel. Unfortunately, Imangi stayed a little too true to the original path with Temple Run 2.
The simple fact is, in terms of gameplay, not much has changed with Temple Run 2. Of course, that’s not necessarily a bad thing as its predecessor was both entertaining and polished. Temple Run 2 features that same fast-paced, addictive gameplay that sees you swipe your finger across the screen to perform a series of actions in order to dodge obstacles. You swipe left or right to turn, swipe down to slide under things, and swipe up to jump over trees and rivers. It’s fun, but definitely not anything we haven’t already seen.
While the gameplay is entertaining, it does get repetitive — especially since we’ve done most of this in the first game. There’s the addition of underground mine carts, which serves as a nice change of environment, but really just plays out like any other section. Why not change things up a bit and expand upon the swipe mechanics?
It’s not that Imangi didn’t make improvements on Temple Run 2, though. In fact, when first booting up the game, you’ll immediately notice the enhanced graphics. Temple Run 2 is clearly a much better-looking game than its predecessor, with carefully detailed and more varied environments.
Gone is the limitation of a foggy jungle filled with blocky objects and jagged textures. Now you can actually make out the different plants and environmental features. Your character and the demonic ape (which has now replaced the group of evil creatures chasing him/her) are now more recognizable. In Temple Run 2 you’ll now run, zip line, and mine cart your way through a more mountain-y sanctuary.
Occasionally, by chance, you’ll happen into the game’s new underground mine section. Like I mentioned above though, aside from visual changes, gameplay rarely changes. The same applies to the zip lines. It’s cool to slide down this rope over a sharp drop, but aside from leaning left and right it’s pretty simplistic. You don’t actually have to dodge anything, creating a fairly lackadaisical experience.
So aside from the environment and improved graphics, what exactly is new in Temple Run 2? To start, each character now has individual abilities that can help you through your run — though these abilities are hardly noticeable. As in the original, coins allow you to purchase ability upgrades, such as increasing coin value after you travel a certain distance, or unlocking additional characters and their respective power-ups.
While each character can grab the random power-ups throughout the map, they each come with one pre-assigned power-up that can be triggered by double-tapping the screen after you fill a meter by collecting coins. While cool in theory, the lack of meaningful abilities and even the option to swap abilities between characters make this system nothing more than an illusion of player choice.
To be clear, Temple Run 2 is not a bad game by any means. For all intents and purposes, it’s a solid follow-up to a game with already solid mechanics. In fact, it’s a better version overall. However, I can’t help but feel Imangi missed out on a few opportunities. With the addition of the mine cart and zip lines, I would’ve liked to see some more gameplay options added, even if it’s just a few more swiping actions. If you’ve never played the original game, skip it and play Temple Run 2. To put it simply, it met my expectations, but didn’t exceed them.