After stealing some kind of idol from a temple, Indiana Jones style, the temple’s guardians awake, and they’re really freaky skull-faced monkeys who want to give you a good thrashing. You must escape, or attempt to anyway, by hoofing it through the most impossibly long and complex, physics-defying temple of all time. Rather than the more traditional side-scrolling runner, the camera is behind your character in a 3-D environment. You’ll frequently hit “T” intersections, and must swipe left and right to pick your path on the fly. Tilting the device left and right will make your character move within the confines of the path, allowing him to collect coins and avoid pits, and you also have to swipe up and down to jump over and slide under obstacles and hazards, respectively.

The cruel joke is, of course, that there’s no end to this nightmare. However, doing well will net you lots of coins, which you can take into the shop to buy upgrades. The primary upgrades involve the various power-ups. After purchasing one, it will randomly appear during gameplay for you to grab, and upgrading it simply improves its effects. These include coin magnets, bonus coins, boosts, and even the ability to become temporarily invincible, letting you pass through hazards and walk over spirit bridges. There are also consumable power-ups, such as extra life angel wings or beginning boosts. On top of all that, you can now buy entirely new characters to subject this torment to, though they’re very expensive, and I’m not sure how much they impact gameplay. In-app purchase coins are available as usual.

The simple 3-D graphics make use of a very distinguishable color palate for a unique look. The drum-based-tribal music definitely sets the right tone. Completing bonus objectives for a higher multiplier just to go for an even longer run is a fun and vicious cycle. This game is a mega hit for a reason. I definitely would not call it a perfect game. It can be exceedingly frustrating at times, especially as you turn the corner and die on hazards before you even have time to react. It doesn’t happen all that often, but regardless, the game will have you coming back for more, over and over and over again. Temple Run is available entirely for free, and you should definitely see what all the fuss is about.

[appbox googleplay com.imangi.templerun]