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Popular Temple Run jumps gap from iOS to Android, worth the wait

by Phil Hornshaw

Android users have been waiting for Temple Run for a long time. The causal endless running title has been available to iOS players since last year, but over on the other side of the fence, it’s been a story of waiting and avoiding imitators with less-than-quality products.

Today, Temple Run sprinted onto Google Play, and is available for free for devices carrying Android 2.1 or higher. The game is exactly the one that’s available for iPhone and iPad which is a good thing – Temple Run brings the quality running experience that made it extremely popular on Apple’s devices, with the same free-to-play setup.

Like most endless running games, Temple Run is all about timing and reflexes. Players take on the role of a treasure-hunting adventurer fleeing an ancient temple guarded by some vicious apes, kind of like the premise of Congo. The object is to stay alive as long as possible, swiping up to jump over obstacles and down to slide under them. The longer you keep it together as the game picks up speed, the higher your overall score.

A different take

Probably the reason Temple Run has become so popular is that it innovates the endless running formula just enough to provide an experience other games don’t. Rather than put players in a side-scrolling game, running from the left side of the screen to the right, Temple Run positions the camera behind the player like 3-D titles seen on consoles games. That adds another layer to the gameplay, because players consistently are hitting junctions where they have to pick a direction, swiping left or right to keep moving.

Temple Run also throws a lot of collectible coins at players, which can be snagged for more points and to unlock power-ups and additional characters in its in-game store. Coins are positioned in different areas along the route, and to grab them, players often need to tilt their devices to shift their character to one side of the path or the other. There are also obstacles that can (or must) be avoided by tilting, throwing in an additional component to the gameplay that both forces players to think differently from comparable titles, and gives them the ability to solve some of the game’s obstacles their own way, because shifting to one side can often give players more options.

But while gamers are likely to be excited that the real Temple Run has finally hit Google’s devices, it’s not without its problems, according to some. User reviews have reported crashing bugs and other issues with the game. We gave Temple Run a go on a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, though, and encountered no such issues, so if Temple Run does have issues, they’re probably device-specific.

A solid port

In fact, Temple Run felt just as good on Android as it did on the iPhone, with the caveat that the controls seemed a touch less responsive on the Galaxy Tab than on the iPhone. The tablet experienced notably less graphical choppiness, though, and the control issue could probably be chalked up to the differences of playing the game on a larger screen, where swipes tend to get larger and take longer.

Even with the bugs some players seem to be experiencing, it seems developer Imagni Studios has done a nice job porting its game over the Android devices. It’s a good thing, too, since players have been looking for the title since it hit big on iOS, and other less-honest developers have been more than happy to capitalize. On both Apple’s platform and Google’s, a number of knock-off games with titles similar to Temple Run have cropped up, apparently in hopes that users would find and download them by mistake.

With the real Temple Run hitting Google Play at last, unwitting players should be able to avoid that particular booby trap, at least more often than before. And it’s a run worth taking, as the time and work Imangi Studios put in to bringing the game from one platform to another seems to have paid off.