Temple Run 2 hands-on review

Running the gauntlet for the mobile gaming top-spot

In the last few weeks, mobile gaming has seen a new competitor for the most popular gaming download. And the good news for everyone is that it's absolutely free. Since its release just a short time ago, Temple Run 2 has become the fastest-growing mobile game ever. With an impressive 50 million downloads in just thirteen days, it has smashed through the previous record held by none other than Angry Birds Space. Promising an exhilarating thrill-ride through a variety of jungle-based levels, its developers hope that it will build on the success of the original Temple Run. But is it really better than its predecessor, or is it all just monkey business? Here's what I think of this record-breaking app.

Run for your life

If you've never played Temple Run, don't worry… it's a fairly simple concept. Taking the role of a hapless explorer who stumbles upon a cursed relic amidst the ruins of an ancient temple, it's your job to escape the clutches of the demonic monkeys who protect it. Very little has changed in Temple Run 2 - the adventurers are back, the relic is once again in your possession and the monkeys are still hot on your heels… or rather, one enormous monkey who looks a whole lot angrier this time around. But don't be fooled - while Temple Run 2 is incredibly similar to the original, there have also been plenty of improvements.

Pilfering ancient relics has never looked so good

I have to admit, Temple Run 2 is a beautiful game. The graphics have come on in leaps and bounds and it just feels a lot more polished. The animations are smoother, the textures are a lot crisper and the scenery is infinitely more diverse. There are a lot more 'levels' to enjoy in Temple Run 2 and the gameplay, no matter how simple, has been refined. Controlling your character is much the same as the original - swiping the touchscreen to jump, turn or slide under obstacles. But the inclusion of new obstacles (such as the zip-line and mining cart) offers a much more enriching gameplay. If you've ever wondered what it'd be like to live a day in the life of Indiana Jones, you'll know exactly what I mean.

But is it as good as they say?

To be honest, Temple Run 2 hasn't changed an awful lot since the original game, but what little they've added has made a really big impact. The inclusion of all-new power-ups adds an interesting twist to an otherwise repetitive game. Don't get me wrong, the levels still go on and on and on… but these interesting new additions make up for the endless, rolling game-style. But the real improvement is in the graphics. For a mobile game, the 3D rendering is truly impressive and the all-new artwork is just beautiful. With twists and turns and dips and hills, the levels have a lot more depth. Something that's truly appreciated in a game that repeats itself over and over.

Temple Run 2 is a welcome update and vastly improves upon its predecessor… just don't expect any ground-breaking new gameplay. While it certainly adds a new twist to the original game, the levels soon become just as repetitive. It might look a whole lot better, but it plays almost identically to the original. So if you're a fan of mobile gaming (or a fan of the original Temple Run) you'll want to have a go at this superb-looking runner. Just don't expect anything revolutionary - you might go bananas looking for it.

What do you think of Temple Run 2? It might be free, but is it worth the effort to download?