Subway Surfers

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Subway Surfers
Developer(s)Kiloo, SYBO Games
  • Kiloo Games (2012–2020)
  • SYBO Games (2020–present)[1]
Platform(s)iOS, iPadOS, macOS, HarmonyOS, Android, Web browser, Windows 10 Mobile, Windows Phone 8, Amazon Fire Tablet
ReleaseMay 24, 2012; 11 years ago (2012-05-24)
Genre(s)Endless runner

Subway Surfers[a] is an endless runner mobile game which is co-developed by Kiloo and SYBO Games, private companies based in Denmark. It is available on Android, iOS, HarmonyOS, Amazon Fire Tablet, and Windows Phone platforms and uses the Unity game engine.[2] In the game, players take the role of young graffiti artists who, upon being caught in the act of "tagging" a metro railway site, run through the railroad tracks to escape from the inspector and his dog. As they run, they grab gold coins, power-ups, and many other items while simultaneously dodging collisions with trains and other objects. They can also jump on top of the trains and surf with hoverboards to evade capture until the character crashes into an obstacle, gets caught by the inspector, or gets hit by a train, at which point the game ends. Special events, such as the Season Hunt and others, can result in in-game rewards and characters.


Screenshot of gameplay in the "Mexico" theme of Subway Surfers

Subway Surfers is an endless runner video game. The game starts by tapping the touchscreen, while Jake (the game's starter character) or any other character sprays graffiti on a subway, and gets caught in the act by the inspector and his dog, who starts chasing the character. While running, the player can swipe up, down, left, or right to avoid crashing into oncoming obstacles especially moving subways, poles, tunnel walls, and barriers. By swiping rapidly as speed increases, more points can be acquired. A crash results in a game over, but the player can continue running by using keys or watching an ad. The player can collect various items such as coins, keys, score multipliers, super sneakers, jetpacks, magnets, mystery boxes, and power jumpers. A power jumper provides combustion by launching up the character, a jetpack gives the ability to fly, a coin magnet attracts coins on the track, super sneakers give the ability to jump higher, and a score multiplier multiplies the rate at which the score counts. Items, such as a hoverboard (which could be used by double-tapping on screen), allow the character to avoid collisions and last about 30 seconds.

Daily Challenges and Season Hunts give rewards for unique movements throughout gameplay. In daily challenges, the player needs to collect letters that constitute a word related to the game, such as "score" and "jump"; also known as "word hunt".[3][4] Missions have various tasks measured by player accuracy. Up to 18 characters can be unlocked using coins, keys, in-game purchases, collecting specific items, or connecting to a Facebook account. Most characters have up to 2 different outfits. Meanwhile, up to 17 hoverboards can be unlocked with the same methods. Each has different abilities that can assist the player. When the game updates to a new location, a new character, and hoverboard will be available temporarily until the next update.[citation needed]

Releases and downloads[edit]

Subway Surfers was released on 24 May 2012[5] with updates based on seasonal holidays. Since January 2013, updates have been based on a "World Tour" theme, which updates the setting of the game every three (or four, usually for seasonal holidays) weeks.[citation needed]

In March 2018, Subway Surfers became the first game on the Google Play Store to cross the one billion downloads threshold.[6] In May 2018, Subway Surfers crossed the two billion download mark.[7] App Annie reported Subway Surfers as the #2 downloaded game of all time in iOS App Store.[8]

In December 2019, SYBO Games announced that Subway Surfers, according to AppAnnie statistics, crossed the 2.7 billion download mark. Subway Surfers was the most downloaded mobile game of the decade from 2012 to 2019.[9][10]


Subway Surfers received mixed to positive reviews. Critics praised the game's visual style and entertaining gameplay but criticized it for its monotonous world and unresponsive controls. Review aggregator website Metacritic gave the game 71 out of 100 based on 8 reviews.[11]

Dan Griliopoulos of Pocket Gamer gave the game a score of 5 out of 10, praising the game's fun gameplay and free access, but criticizing the game's controls and parsimonious game design.[13]

Gamezebo's Dant Rambo scored the game 3.5 out of 5, writing "It makes little attempt to stand out from other endless runners, but it's hard not to appreciate the polish of Subway Surfers. The controls are responsive, the gameplay is addictive, and it doesn't try and force you into spending cash on in-game items."[12]

Other reviewers were not as critical. 148Apps and TouchArcade gave the game 4/5.[15][14]

The game was nominated for "Action Game" and "Family & Kids Game" at the 2019 Webby Awards.[16] It was the most downloaded mobile game of the decade.[10]

Subway Surfers: The Animated Series[edit]

On 1 June 2018, a series of animated shorts debuted on SYBO Games' YouTube channel.[10] The 10 x 4-minute episodic series is scripted by Brent Friedman and Francesca Marie Smith, and produced by Sander Schwartz. Chris Bartleman is the supervising director and Michael Hegner is the director. Denmark's William provides post-production services.[17] The series has 11 episodes.[18]

Use in sludge content[edit]

The game has been a favorite among "sludge content" creators, possibly due to its highway hypnosis-like visuals.[19][20][21][22][23]


  1. ^ (Danish: Undergrunds surfere)


  1. ^ "Miniclip will acquire Subway Surfers maker Sybo". VentureBeat. 24 June 2022. In 2020, Sybo took over the publishing role itself.
  2. ^ "Lords of the Underground - Subway Surfers by Sybo and Kiloo". Unity. 19 September 2012. Archived from the original on 24 March 2019. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  3. ^ "UrGameTips: Subway Surfers: How to Complete Daily Challenges or Missions". Archived from the original on 17 July 2022. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  4. ^ "My Word Hunt progress has reset. Why? - Subway Surfers FAQ". Archived from the original on 24 January 2022. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  5. ^ "Subway Surfers". IGN. Archived from the original on 24 August 2020. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  6. ^ "Subway Surfers gets record 1 billion downloads on Google Play Store". AndroidAuthority. 16 March 2018. Archived from the original on 24 August 2020. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  7. ^ Harris, Iain (30 May 2018). "Subway Surfers sails past the two billion download mark". Archived from the original on 4 August 2022. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  8. ^ "Facebook tops most downloaded apps of all time". Archived from the original on 15 November 2021. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  9. ^ "Subway Surfers is the top mobile game of the decade by downloads". 16 December 2019.
  10. ^ a b c Meisenzahl, Mary. "'Subway Surfers' was the most downloaded mobile game of the decade. See the top 10 here". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 26 June 2020. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  11. ^ a b "Subway Surfers for iPhone/iPad Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  12. ^ a b Rambo, Dant (30 May 2012). "Subway Surfers Review". Gamezebo. Archived from the original on 15 November 2021. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  13. ^ a b Griliopoulos, Dan (1 June 2012). "Subway Surfers Review". Pocket Gamer. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  14. ^ a b Berthelson, Talor (5 June 2012). "'Subway Surfers' Review – Endless Running Refined". TouchArcade. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  15. ^ a b Kubba, Sinan (28 May 2012). "Subway Surfers Review". 148Apps. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  16. ^ "2019 Winners". The Webby Awards. 22 April 2019. Archived from the original on 21 August 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  17. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (25 May 2018). "'Subway Surfers' Series Makes YouTube Debut June 1". Animation Magazine.
  18. ^ "Subway Surfers | the Animated Series - YouTube". YouTube.
  19. ^ "TikTok's Subway Surfers Videos Signal Demise of Our Attention Span". Bloomberg. 3 February 2023 – via
  20. ^ Weaver, Jackson (18 January 2023). "Sludge content is consuming TikTok. Why aren't we talking about it?". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 1 July 2023.
  21. ^ Castello, Jay (24 March 2023). "TikTok's sludge content isn't just for short attention spans". Polygon.
  22. ^ "' Sludge content' is the latest form of escapism on TikTok". NBC News. 26 April 2023.
  23. ^ "A strange new TikTok trend called 'sludge content' has Gen Z hooked". Yahoo Finance. 28 April 2023.