|Engine||Temple Run engine (iOS)|
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 Temple Run 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. The game took a total of four months to develop. 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 quick game 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 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. 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 aliens from Max Adventure as placeholders. 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. 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. 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. 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.
The game was released on the App Store on August 4, 2011. The game was originally for 99 cents to download, but was switched to freemium prior to December 2011. After the release of its sequel Temple Run 2, the game renamed to Temple Run: Classic. 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. The game was released on Google Play on March 27, 2012, a month later than expected. 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, occasionally caused devices to overheat, and drained battery life extremely quickly. This led to generally unfavourable reviews. On March 27, 2013, the game was released for Windows Phone 8. An Arcade version was developed by Coastal Amusements and released on 2012. The arcade version was discontinued some time after.
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.
Popularity and accolades
Since its initial release on the App Store, the popularity of the game has soared, to the point that Imangi Studios became more popular than Zynga. In the iTunes Store, the game was included in the top 50 most-downloaded apps in December 2011, and eventually became the number one free iOS app in the Store. It also reached the position of the top grossing iOS app. The Android version was downloaded one million times within three days of its release. As of June 2014, Temple Run and its sequel have been downloaded over 1 billion times.
The Arcade version won the 2013 BOSA Awards bronze medal for Videmption Arcade Games.
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, and 84% on GameRankings, based on 7 reviews. Phillip Levin of 148Apps praised 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." AppSpy's Andrew Nesvadba was more impressed, 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." TouchArcade's Nissa Campbell 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."
Gamezebo's Art Green called it "an instant iPhone classic," and writing "addictive doesn't even accurately describe the game. Enthralling gameplay as the game speeds up. Objectives add goals that keep you playing." Slide to Play's Andrew Webster 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."
IGN's Justin Davis praised 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 give each session a frantic feeling [...] Gamers craving a new iOS time waster should give Temple Run a long look."
In the wake of Temple Run success, other developers created games of a similar style, such as Temple Guns, Temple Jump, Piggy Run, Zombie Run and Pyramid Run. 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. This led to many of the copycat games from indie developer Anton Sinelnikov being removed from the App store.
Sequels and spin-offs
Temple Run was followed by several sequels and Spin-offs, becoming the first game in the Temple Run series. The second entry in the series is Temple Run: Brave and is a spin-off based on the film, Brave. It was released on Android and iOS on June 14, 2012. The third entry in the series is Temple Run 2 and serves as the direct sequel to Temple Run. Temple Run 2 was released on iOS on January 16, 2013  The fourth entry is Temple Run: Oz and is the second spin-off in the series, now based on the film, Oz the Great and Powerful. Temple Run: Oz was released on  The fifth entry in the series is Temple Run VR and released for the Samsung Gear VR headset on December 23, 2014.
- "Imangi Studios - About". Imangi Studios. Archived from the original on September 19, 2012. Retrieved February 3, 2012.
- nsxdavid (March 26, 2012). "Temple Run for Android SHIPS!". Unity Community. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- "Temple Run (iOS)". IGN. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
- "Temple Run (Android)". IGN. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
- Angela Moscaritolo (March 27, 2013). "Temple Run Launches on Windo". PC Magazine. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- "Temple Run: The Rough Road to a Runaway Success Story". GameSpot. March 27, 2012. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- "Temple Run developer shares a behind the scenes look at making a runaway hit iOS game". VentureBeat. February 6, 2012. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
- GDC 2014: A Look At 'Temple Run' Prototypes as it Evolved From 'Max Adventure'. TouchArcade. March 19, 2014. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
- Chris Kohler (March 28, 2012). "Temple Run and the Rise of the Free, Profitable Videogame". Wired. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
- "Temple Run 2 (iOS)". Slide to Play. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
- "Temple Run: Classic". App Store. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
- "Timeline Photos". Facebook. January 13, 2012. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- Anndrew Vacca (March 6, 2012). "Temple Run for Android to be released on March 27". Android Central. Retrieved March 7, 2012.
- Tim-o-tato (March 30, 2012). "Temple Run for Android Updated, Fixes Crash Issues and Adds Support for the DROID RAZR and Bionic". Droid Life. Retrieved January 11, 2012.
- Eric McBride (March 30, 2012). "Temple Run For Android Reportedly Making Devices Overheat?". Android Pit. Retrieved January 11, 2012.
- Sara Yin. "Temple Run (for Android)". PC Magazine. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
- Tatiana Siegel; Borys Kit (November 12, 2013). "Warner Bros., David Heyman to Bring Video Game 'Temple Run' to Big Screen". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 14, 2013.
- "Egmont Runs Away with Rights to Temple Run Fiction Series and Activity Books". Egmont Publishing. June 24, 2014. Archived from the original on December 15, 2014. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
- "App adventure Temple Run helps draw readers". School Zone. November 24, 2014. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
- Peter Chubb (February 21, 2012). "Temple Run To Smash Records". InEntertainment. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
- Brian X. Chen (March 1, 2012). "How Temple Run Became More Popular Than Zynga Games". The New York Times. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- Nicole Loiseau (December 3, 2011). "Temple Run becomes popular throughout the app world". MSD Eagle's Landing. Archived from the original on April 21, 2012. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- Josh Constine (January 15, 2012). "Mobile Game Design: How Evil Monkeys Chased Temple Run To App Store #1". TechCrunch. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
- Michael Crider (March 30, 2012). "Temple Run for Android Gets A Whopping 1 Million Downloads In Three Days". Android Community. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- Joshua Topolsky (June 4, 2014). "'Temple Run' has been downloaded over 1 billion times, and most players are women". The Verge. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
- "Temple Run for iOS (iPhone/iPad)". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- "Temple Run for iPhone/iPad Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- Justin Davis (August 17, 2011). "Temple Run Review". IGN. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- Campbell, Nissa (August 3, 2011). "'Temple Run' Review – Indiana Jones and the Endless Runner". TouchArcade. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- Slater, Harry (August 11, 2011). "Temple Run - Review". Pocket Gamer. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
- Phillip Levin (August 8, 2011). "Temple Run Review". 148Apps. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- Andrew Nesvadba (August 15, 2011). "Temple Run Review". AppSpy. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
- Art Green (January 11, 2012). "Temple Run is an instant iPhone classic". Gamezebo. Retrieved June 24, 2012.
- Andrew Webster (August 13, 2011). "Temple Run Review". Slide to Play. Archived from the original on October 19, 2013. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
- Sara Yin. "Temple Run (for Android) review". PC Magazine. Retrieved June 24, 2012.
- Laarni Almendrala Ragaza (May 25, 2012). "Mobile Apps to keep Kids Occupied and Happy". PC Magazine. Retrieved June 24, 2012.
- Sinan Küstür (June 16, 2012). "Pyramid Run review". Great Apps Review. Archived from the original on August 18, 2012. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- "Imangi Studios: Temple Run clones are both 'flattering' and 'frustrating'". Pocket Gamer. August 3, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
- "Apple removes several iOS copycat games from one offending developer". Gamasutra. February 3, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
- "Temple Run Brave (iOS)". Slide to Play. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
- KS Sandhya Iyer (June 8, 2012). "Temple Run: Brave coming to iOS, Android on June 14". NDTV Gadgets. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
- "Temple Run 2 released for iOS, Android version hitting Google Play next week". T3. January 17, 2013. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
- Nelson, Randy (February 4, 2013). "Temple Run: Oz the Great and Powerful (apparently) landing this month on iOS". TÚAW. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
- Jordan, Jon; Editor, Contributing. "Temple Run goes first person as it supports Samsung Gear VR". pocketgamer.biz.