Regular readers of gametaroo! may remember the high-score furore that Imangi’s endless-runner, Temple Run, caused at my place of work last year, and if so probably won’t be surprised to hear that today’s launch of Temple Run 2 caused a small buzz of excitement to sweep the office.
Though my interest in the original did wane with time, I was still intrigue to see how the Washington D.C. based developer would follow up a bona fide smash hit. After a short amount of play time with Temple Run 2, the answer appears to be…more Temple Run with a few twists throne into mix; mine cart-rides, death-slides and the ability to use gemstones to extend your play-time upon death among them.
A new addition in Temple Run 2 is the deathslide - initially it just looks like window dressing, but you can actually swing from side to side to collect those…er….square coin thingies.
The aesthetics have also been reworked, with the organic browns and greens of the first games jungles being replace with fiery mines and an almost ethereal sky-temple of sorts with the hint of drug-fuelled haze creeping in around the edges.
The resulting game is every bit as playable at the original (though, in its current state, there are few frame-rate issues) and for Temple Run fans wanting more of the same I’m sure it will tick all required boxes. But…well…have you played Pitfall!? It’s a reworking of Activision’s 2600 classic that, for my money, makes Temple Run 2 look a little undernourished.
Though based on a title released in 1982, there’s no question that this new Pitfall! has borrowed from Temple Run; in fact, in gameplay terms they are near identical. As with Imangi’s game, Pitfall is an endless runner in which your hero must survive for as long as possible while running through a jungle, ducking and diving over obstacles.
Pitfall! visuals really shine when you see them in motion; the animation is fluid, the colour palette striking and hero, Pitfall Harry, is everybit the action hero.
Unlike Temple Run, however, Pitfall strives for a far more cinematic - and dare I say it, far more dynamic - experience and sports some of the best visuals I’ve seen on the iPad to date. It’s also far more varied, you have the ability to whip enemies, there are mine-cart rides (the mechanics of which Temple Run 2 borrows…what goes around, comes around, eh?), motor-bike sequences and moments where you get to ride on the back of a panther.
I know what you’re thinking - ‘But Temple Run is about the purity of experience, there’s no bells and whistles, and that’s what makes it so engaging’, and while I would agree with you, Pitfall! does not sacrifice gameplay to ram the various modes of transport and power ups down your throat, being every bit as taught and mesmeric as its endless-running stable-mate. And yet, no one I have spoken to seems to have heard of it, let alone played it.
So, while I’ve got nothing against Temple Run 2 and will in fact be spending some more time with it in the coming days (I could well be I’m missing something!), I would actively encourage you to seek out Pitfall! as a wonderful (and similarly free) alternative. It’s one of the best games I’ve played on iOS/Android, and I’m genuinely surprised that it hasn’t spurred Imangi to be far more ambitious with the Temple Run sequel.
Pitfall!’s minecart rides - what’s good enough for Indy, is good enough for Harry (and, is obviously good enough for the ginger Temple Run Dude)