Mobile September – Temple Run & Canabalt (Old Review)


Here we have another mobile game that, whilst not as popular as the likes of Angry Birds, is still popular enough to spawn its own clones, and not in a good way (but seriously, all those games and it’s getting a sequel, what is this the mobile equivalent of Street Fighter?). Temple Run, developed and published by Imangi Studios. The game was first released in 2011 for iOS devices, Android devices in 2012 and Windows Phone in 2013.


The game is an endless runner game and was the game that defined the once unknown genre. The game was produced, designed and programmer by a husband and wife team, Keith Shepard and Natalia Luckyanova, with the art made by Kiril Tchangov.


So you play as a character that went into a temple, stole a statue and is chased by demonic monkeys…because he ain’t got nothing on Indiana Jones. The aim of the game is to simply…run. You can move left and right by tilting the phone, swiping up to jump and swiping down to slide to dodge incoming obstacles. You also collect coins, and these coins can be used to buy upgrades and even characters. And most importantly, don’t fall, don’t burn, don’t trip, don’t bash your head in, just…try to survive. And that’s it, just try to collect as much coins as you can and just survive, though the game gets faster the longer you’re playing. It’s one of those games that are easy to play but hard to master when the game decides to make the character run at supersonic speed.

The game was a success, it’s had over a billion downloads. The series got two spin-offs, Temple Run: Brave and Temple Run: Oz, and even an official sequel Temple Run 2. The one thing that annoys me is that whilst the two Temple Run games are free, the licensed ones cost money. How does that work?

But because Temple Run was a success, the endless running genre was a perfect genre for mobile games and everyone made their own version; shockingly though became as popular as Temple Run. Games like Subway Surfer, Sonic Dash and remember Pitfall, one of the most legendary platformers for the Atari 2600? Well his latest game is an endless running game that actually looks like an actual rip-off of Temple Run with even worse graphics.

Oh Canabalt, you were the OG of the revitalisation of endless running games. A 2D flash game created by Adam Saltsman and was released in 2009. And that game was great, a man running on top of buildings away from an unknown threat; you can jump in windows and roofs. I know this is 2D and not 3D like Temple Run, but I kind of prefer this version because it’s much simpler and more challenging. But no matter what dimension it is, there are copies after copies of the same game with very small changes for some and no changes for those who don’t give a darn. But there’s one massive problem with endless running games: Repetition. Just run, maybe do something and don’t mess up, the more you play it, the old it gets very fast, and that’s why I don’t like the mobile market, because there’s no limits to what you can submit and you can add a game that rips off a popular game, sometimes with worse mechanics. And that’s what I think of endless running games, with Canabalt however, its simplicity, it’s vague art style and it’s challenge that feels like a genuine challenge, I recommend it much more. Heck, it even got a Commodore 64 port and still plays great.

Rating for Temple Run: 3/5 Rating for Canabalt: 4.5/5

P.S. So Warner Bros. Pictures picked up the rights to make a Temple Run movie. At least you can make a forgettable movie about it, one viewing and back to playing some real games…ON A CONSOLE!


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