Temple Run: Escape the Demon Monkeys!

About a week or so ago, all of a sudden, I started receiving an onslaught of people asking me “What’s your high score on Temple Run?” I’d never heard of the game, but the sheer mass of people enquiring about my standing made me think it was something significant, so I decided to download it and give it a whirl.

Temple Run is a very simple, casual game that fits into the same category as blockbuster time wasters Angry Birds and Doodle Jump. It’s an endless runner, where you’ll try to escape a team of demon monkeys by navigating a network of pathways in a state of disrepair.

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An average Temple Run scene.

Temple Run doesn’t have an extensive backstory, but we can assume the player has been exploring the temple pictured in the menu and is now trying to escape, even though the threat of a small army of demon monkeys eating him/her is very real. The game consists of the player’s avatar running through a network of pathways trying to escape, while avoiding traps, obstacles and other dangers.

The network of paths is not straightforward, and the player will have to regularly swipe to the left or the right to get their avatar to turn, in order to follow the path without falling off the edge. Similarly, since the paths are in a state of disrepair, players must jump over gaps left by swiping up on the screen. These are some very basic and natural controls that are incredibly easy to pick up on, although you might end up thinking you’ve swiped left when the game actually interprets it as a upwards gesture.

There’s a handful of different obstacles in your path when you go for a run. You’ll encounter fire traps which will you burn and kill you, small treat roots which will trip you up and large, overgrown trees which will simply block your path so, unless you jump, you’ll become a┬ábona fide tree hugger.

Throughout the game, you’ll also encounter power-ups which provide some very different perks. For example, one perk will give you a bonus deposit of coins, whereas another will “magnetise” your avatar so you can pick up coins without running through them. There’s also a booster, which will speed up and act like an autopilot, and an invisibility mode which’ll allow you to ignore all the dangers in your pathway for a short while (although you’ll still need to navigate to pick up coins and avoid falling off the edge of the path). These perks are a nice bonus throughout the game which should hopefully boost your point score up.

The invisibility perk enabled in Temple Run.

Each perk has five levels, and you start out at the bottom. By picking up coins in-game or buying them as in-app purchases with real cash, you’ll accumulate a balance that can be spent on upgrading these perks. They will provide a noticeable enhancement on your performance.

As you get further through the game, your avatar will speed up which brings increased chances of you falling off the track or being hit by upcoming obstacle. By purchasing a set of wings for 500 points each (one time use only, although you can buy multiple ones at a time), you’ll be able to double tap in game to have automatic resurrection for 30 seconds. This means if you end up falling off the edge or encountering another unfortunate fate, you’ll be brought back to life without any type of reset. Also available are boosts, which you can use to jump ahead a certain distance at the start.

The upgradeable perks available in Temple Run. As you can see, I've already upgraded all mine to the maximum level five.

By purchasing with coins, you’ll also be able to unlock new playable characters and wallpapers for your device.

Temple Run’s competitive aspect is fuelled by the points system, and you’ll enjoy trying to better your friend’s scores. In fact, if you’re logged into Game Centre, your friend’s scores will be shown as milestones on the map, so you can identify when you’ve beat them. Once you have met death, you can tweet out your score with the button attached to the panel presented at the end of the game. If you feel like points aren’t enough for you, there are also objectives for you to try and meet as you progress through the game.

Graphics & Audio

Temple Run has a very┬áthematic soundtrack which isn’t too annoying, and won’t distract you from the fast-paced action of the game. Likewise, the feedback when you collect coins just feels satisfying. Characters feel alive too, with grunts and pants as they make their way past obstacles or after jumping. You won’t lose out if you decide to play with it on mute, however.

The graphics aren’t anything special or stand out, but they do a good job at depicting the scene. The game has a strong Indiana Jones-esque look and feel about it, and you’ll appreciate the detail in some elements of the scene. While you won’t be blown away by them, the game’s graphics are certainly not the worst looking thing on the platform.

Part of a scene in Temple Run.

Final Thoughts

Temple Run certainly isn’t the most addicting game I’ve played on the platform, but it’s becoming a popular pastime for me thanks to its adoption by many friends. That competitive aspect will keep you up until the early hours of the morning trying to better your score but, when you’re top, there’s little else to play for.

Temple Run is available for free, so there’s no excuse not to get in on the craze. Not only is it available on your iPad, but you can also play on your iPhone or iPod touch.


Temple Run is somewhat of a racing game where players must accumulate points by running away from demon monkeys, all the while collecting coins and avoiding dangers.