Temple Run

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Temple Run
App icon
Developer(s)Imangi Studios[1]
Publisher(s)Imangi Studios[1]
Artist(s)Kiril Tchangov[1]
SeriesTemple Run 2 Edit this on Wikidata
EngineTemple Run engine (iOS)
Unity (Android)[2]
Windows Phone
  • WW: August 4, 2011[3]
  • WW: March 27, 2012[4]
Windows Phone
  • WW: March 27, 2013[5]
Genre(s)Endless runner

Temple Run is a 3D endless running video game developed and published by Imangi Studios. The player controls an explorer who has obtained an ancient relic and is running from evil demon monkeys who are chasing him. The game was initially released for iOS devices on August 4, 2011, and later ported to Android systems and Windows Phone 8.

The game was a commercial success with positive reviews from critics. The success of the game led to a sequel Temple Run 2. Collaborations with Disney to create Temple Run: Brave and Temple Run: Oz, and a third spin-off in development by Scopely titled, Temple Run: Treasure Hunters as a match-three video game. Temple Run also received activity books and a board game, with Warner Bros. Studios talking with Imangi Studios of a possible film adaptation. The success of the game also inspired many similar games that take their own twist but also copycat games that copy the exact gameplay and iconic brand of the original.



In Temple Run, the player controls either Guy Dangerous, an explorer, Scarlett Fox, an escape artist, Barry Bones, a city cop, Karma Lee, the fastest runner in the Far East, Montana Smith, the "second greatest explorer ever" (referring to Indiana Jones being the greatest explorer), Francisco Montoya, a Spanish conquistador, or Zack Wonder, a football star. The character chosen will embark on an adventure to seek an ancient and valuable golden idol from an Aztec temple. They will not realize that the temple is inhabited by a family of demonic monkeys who want to devour them. As the game is an endless running game, there is no end to the temple; the player plays until the character collides into a large obstacle, falls into the water or is overtaken by the demon monkeys.

While the character is running, the player can swipe left or right to move the character to either side of the screen to collect coins and/or avoid obstacles. There are three types of coins to be found while the character is running: gold, red, and blue. A gold coin will only add one coin to the player's total number of coins. Red coins are worth two coins, while blue coins are worth three. The coins can be used to buy and then upgrade power-ups and/or other characters. Coins can also be bought by the player through in-app purchases with payments of actual money. When the player needs to turn left or right, the touchscreen can be swiped in the corresponding direction. If the player wishes to jump over an object, the screen can be swiped upwards; if the player wishes to slide under an object, the screen can be swiped downwards.


Temple Run was designed, programmed and produced by husband-and-wife team Keith Shepherd and Natalia Luckyanova with art by Kiril Tchangov.[1] The game took a total of four months to develop.[6] Development began after the financial failure of Imangi Studio's previous game, Max Adventure and used that game to prototype Temple Run's controls. Imangi Studios wanted to make a game with quick with simpler controls in contrast from Max Adventure's dual analog controls. Keith started the first prototype with making a game where the character is always and running and can be controlled by rotating the environment from a top-down perspective. This idea was scrapped due to causing extreme dizziness during testing. To fix the problem, constraints were added so that players can only make 90° turns and perspective be fixed behind the character.[7] When it came to the game's aesthetics, multiple ideas were conceptualized but ultimately settled for the character to running on a pathway resembling the Great Wall of China or Aztec temple. After the temple design was solidified, Imangi Studios questioned the player character's motivation for constantly running without any breaks and came up with the idea of having something chasing him. Imangi Studios originally had the alien's from Max Adventure as placeholders.[8] Kiril created the design of evil demon monkeys and gave them skull masks due to his desire of adding skulls in games he's involved in.[6] Natalia initially didn't like having evil demon monkeys chasing the player character and found them terrifying. Keith and Kiril, however, liked the evil demon monkeys and convinced Natalia to remain in the final product.Natalia later admitted that they were right and that it added immediacy and adrenaline.[7] The coin and gem mechanic was originally different colored gems where player would receive different bonus depending on what combination of gems were obtained, similar to Poker hand rankings but was proven too difficult to achieve and was scrapped.[8] Natalia mentioned coins and Gems were particularly frustrating to add into the game that at one point were removed during development, but were added back due to the team missing them.[7]


The game was released on the App Store on August 4, 2011.[3] The game was originally for 99 cents to download, but was switched to freemium prior to December 2011.[9] After the release of its sequel Temple Run 2, the game renamed to Temple Run: Classic.[10][11] On January 12, 2012, Imangi Studios announced on the Temple Run Facebook page that the game would be released for the Android platform in February.[12] The game was released on Google Play on March 27, 2012, a month later than expected.[13] As Temple Run was originally released with a custom, flexible engine on iOS, there were some difficulties when it was ported to Android, primarily related to the use of the Unity game engine. The game frequently crashed,[14] occasionally caused devices to overheat, and drained battery life extremely quickly.[15] This led to generally unfavourable reviews.[16] On March 27, 2013, the game was released for Windows Phone 8.[5] An Arcade version was developed by Coastal Amusements and released on 2012.[17] The arcade version was discontinued some time after.[18]


Temple Run: Brave[edit]

Temple Run: Brave
Temple Run Brave logo.png
App logo
Developer(s)Imangi Studios[1]
Publisher(s)Disney Interactive Studios
SeriesTemple Run 2 Edit this on Wikidata
EngineUnity Edit this on Wikidata
Platform(s)iOS, Android, Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows Phone 8, BlackBerry 10
ReleaseiOS & Android
Windows 8 & Windows RT
  • WW: May 10, 2013[21]
Windows Phone 8
  • WW: June 7, 2013[22] BlackBerry 10
    • WW: April 3, 2014[23]
Genre(s)Endless runner, action

In June 2012, it was announced that Imangi had teamed with Disney to promote the film Brave via a Temple Run-style game titled Temple Run: Brave. The game was released on June 14 for iOS and Android.[19][20] As with Temple Run when it was initially released, Temple Run: Brave cost 99 cents to purchase.[24] After Temple Run: Brave's release on the App Store, the game topped the charts as the most-downloaded paid game.[25]

Temple Run: Brave is set in the highlands of Scotland. The default character is Merida, and as in the original game, the objective is to keep running, avoiding the dangers along the way in an effort to achieve the longest time possible, while being chased by the demon bear, Mor'du.[26]

The new feature for Temple Run: Brave is archery. During the run, archery symbols appear with some dots above them, acting as a signal that there will be bullseyes at which to shoot. The dots are the number of targets in the area. On the left and right sides, the player will then find archery targets, and by touching the screen, an arrow is shot accurately at the upcoming target. When the player finishes hitting all targets in the area, they get a coin bonus, and must then wait for another area with archery targets.[27]

In an update, Temple Run: Brave received a new power-up, the "Will-o'-the-Wisps", which appear in the game randomly. When the player grabs it, they are transported to a "dark" version of the game world, where glowing wisps appear in the player's path. The player has to grab as many as they can, while still navigating the turns and jumps.[28]

In 2013, Temple Run: Brave was ported to Windows Phone 8,[22] and both Windows 8 and Windows RT (via Windows Store).[21] In 2014, it was ported to BlackBerry 10.[23]

Temple Run: Oz[edit]

A second spinoff game, called Temple Run: Oz, based on the Disney film Oz the Great and Powerful, was released on February 27, 2013, for iOS, to coincide with the release of the film.[29] On August 28, 2013, Temple Run: Oz was released for Windows Phone 8.[30]

Temple Run: Treasure Hunters[edit]

In late 2016, Scopely soft-launched a match-3 spin-off of Temple Run, titled Temple Run: Treasure Hunters, in select countries.[31] Treasure Hunters was planned to be released sometime in 2017[32] on iOS and Android, with the Google Play Store accepting pre-registrations for the Android version.[33]

Related media[edit]

In November 2013, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Warner Bros. Pictures and producer David Heyman were in talks with Imangi Studios to make a movie version of Temple Run.[34]

In July 2014 a Temple Run fiction series and an activity book was published by Egmont Publishing. The series is called Run For Your Life, with the first four titles called Jungle Trek, Doom Lagoon, Arctic Rescue and Pyramid Peril. The series is a "choose-your-own-ending" series aimed at fans of the game and books like Beast Quest. The activity book, Temple Run Downloaded is shaped like a tablet and includes Temple Run info, character profiles, mazes and brain teasers.[35][36]

Reception and legacy[edit]

Popularity and accolades[edit]

Since its initial release on the App Store, the popularity of the game has soared,[37] to the point that Imangi Studios became more popular than Zynga.[38] In the iTunes Store, the game was included in the top 50 most-downloaded apps in December 2011,[39] and eventually became the number one free iOS app in the Store. It also reached the position of the top grossing iOS app.[40] The Android version was downloaded one million times in under three days of its released.[41] As of June 2014, Temple Run and its sequel have been downloaded over 1 billion times.[42]

The Arcade version won the 2013 BOSA Awards bronze medal for Videmption Arcade Games.[43]


Aggregate scores
Review scores
148Apps3/5 stars[47]
Gamezebo5/5 stars[49]
Slide to Play4/4[50]
TouchArcade4.5/5 stars[51]
Shorty AwardsNominated

Temple Run has been generally well received. The iOS version holds an aggregate score of 80 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 10 reviews,[45] and 84% on GameRankings, based on 7 reviews.[44] Phillip Levin of 148Apps rated it 3 out of 5, praising the gameplay but criticizing the backgrounds; "my big qualm with Temple Run lies in the fact that the majority of the game's scenery looks the same. Yeah, the scenery does change here and there, but most of the time, gamers are running through ruined, temple pathways that look consistently the same. It all starts to blur together after a while."[47] AppSpy's Andrew Nesvadba was more impressed, scoring it 4 out of 5, and writing "Temple Run tightens up and polishes the endless-runner for the 3rd dimension, giving players a unique and fun challenge that controls like a dream."[48] TouchArcade's Nissa Campbell scored the game 4.5 out of 5, praising its move away from the "one button jumping control system" of most endless runners, as well as the game's milieu; "Any endless runner worth the name will give you high-tension situations and that "one more time" compulsion. But Temple Run is probably the only one that also makes you feel like a daring archaeologist with a penchant for deadly situations."[51]

Gamezebo's Art Green scored it even higher, 5 out of 5, calling it "an instant iPhone classic," and writing "addictive doesn't even accurately describe the game. Enthralling gameplay as game speeds up. Objectives add goals that keep you playing."[49] Slide to Play's Andrew Webster also gave the game a perfect score, 4 out of 4. He praised the upgrade system, 3D graphics and controls, concluding "Even if you think you're sick of automatic runners, Temple Run proves there's still much life left in the genre. It matches the sheer thrill and intensity of Canabalt, but with a completely new theme and perspective. We've all wanted to be Indiana Jones at some point, and now's your chance."[50]

IGN's Justin Davis scored it 7.5 out of 10, praising the game's depth and upgrade system, which he felt distinguished it from other endless runners, such as Canabalt and Robot Unicorn Attack. He concluded that "Temple Run is a fast and frenzied iPhone experience. The combination of swiping and tilt controls gives each session a frantic feeling [...] Gamers craving a new iOS time waster should give Temple Run a long look."[46]

PC Magazine's Laarni Almendrala Ragaza called the initial Android version "crisp", with "snappy" navigation.[52] They also included it in their "Mobile Apps to keep Kids Happy" list.[53]


In the wake of Temple Run success, other developers created games of a similar style, such as Temple Guns, Temple Jump,[37] Piggy Run, Zombie Run and Pyramid Run.[54] Imangi Studios co-founder Keith Shepherd found it flattering that developers were inspired by the game to create interesting games that make them unique. However also found it frustrating when developers took exact gameplay, iconic branding, and use assets from their original game.[55] This led to many of the copycat games from indie developer Anton Sinelnikov being removed from the App store.[56]


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