Ever since Imangi Studios launched the endless running game Temple Run for iOS and Android, it made sure that we never stopped running. The game has seen 4 versions since the original release in August 2011, with the sequel, Temple Run 2 launching earlier this year in January. The game has not just been appreciated, but went on to break the record of Angry Birds Space clocking in 50 million downloads in just 13 days.
Of these 4 versions, two are spin-offs released in association with Disney. While one was Temple Run: Brave, based on the animated Disney/Pixar movie Brave, the more recently launched Temple Run: Oz is inspired form the upcoming Disney movie Oz: The Great and Powerful. We started running in the new environments to find out if it continues to keep us just as addicted as the original game.
Temple Run: Oz stays true to the game's tradition of non-stop running as well as turning, jumping and sliding to avoid hurdles and collecting coins. But since this version is based on Disney's movie, it incorporates a lot of elements such as new environments, objects and characters. You run as The Great and Powerful Oz down the mesmerising Yellow Brick Road in the Whimsical Woods and The Dark Forest.
Now instead of the three demon monkeys or one big giant weird-faced monkey, you're being chased by three flying baboons at the start of the game and every once in a while when you stumble while running.
The game is definitely more challenging than the original one but similar to Temple Run: Brave and the recently launched Temple Run 2 in some ways. It seems to have gotten faster as well, demanding greater focus and better reflexes. The obstacles in the game are quite tricky and catch you by surprise. They appear only when you approach them really close, unlike the earlier games where you could see them well in advance.
Plants in the game often leap from locations on the side of the path, attempting to grab you as they fall. Trees also often fall, seemingly out of nowhere, into the path to block your way. But the obstacles are just one part. The path itself will sometimes crumble while you're on high bridges or cliffs, forcing you to make a split-second decision to move to the side of the bridge that remains intact.
The musical backdrop of the beating drums has been replaced by the movie's background score that adds a lot of intensity and keeps the adrenaline rush going. As always, the graphics are really smooth and you'll be in awe of the surroundings and the attention to detail.
Temple Run: Oz also has certain common elements as seen in the Brave version of the game. You could collect bows in the game to unlock different bonuses like extra score points and score multipliers at the end of each running session. Here the bow has been replaced by a musical key to unlock the music box for similar bonuses. Further, you can choose to open all the boxes in case you're feeling too greedy, by paying additional coins.
A new element in the game as is the essence of the original Wizard of Oz movie is time travel with the tornado in a manner of speaking. While running you come across sign posts guiding you which direction to take and soon enough you'll see yourself transitioning between worlds with the yellow brick road collapsing before you and taking you to a different location.
The Whimsical Woods are set in bright environs but dangerous all the while with cliffs and forests. The Dark Forest is set in a graveyard amidst ruins of stones and gives a sense of evil lurking around. After each running session, if you happen complete that particular level's challenges, you level up and are awarded with gems or coins.
Another pretty neat movie-inspired element is the hot-air ballon which appears at several points in the game for an additional opportunity to collect coins as you sail through the clouds and make your way across the crystals reminiscent of Emerald City.
The balloons appear on the screen, and head quickly in one direction at a crossroads. Follow the balloon and hop on to take a balloon trip through the clouds. In case you don't feel like it, you can always choose to head out in the other direction.
The game also offers additional power ups every now and then which include a magnet, a flying monkey and a soap bubble amongst others. Gems can also be used to "supercharge" power-ups. For instance, the 2X coin power-up becomes a 3X coin boost at the cost of 1 gem.
You can opt for Weekly or Legendary Challenges from the Menu section that also award coins, gems and multiplier bonuses. These include challenges like Marathon Man (run a certain distance), Big Time (Get 125,000 points in 1 run), Steady Bankroll (Collect 25,000 coins) and many others.
Overall, the game offers a fresh perspective in terms of being movie-inspired. Apart from that the basic mechanics of jumping, sliding and tilting remains the same. Currently, the app is only listed on the App Store and like other Temple Run games, we'd hope to see it launch for Android as well. (Update: The game has now been released for Android as well priced at Rs. 53.18 in the Google Play Store).
Even though the app isn't free, Rs. 55 ($0.99) seems pretty decent to try out something new. Those who still wouldn't mind skipping this version, can check out Temple Run 2 that's also new release and is available for free.
Temple Run: Oz (iOS, Rs. 55)
Temple Run: Oz (Google Play, Rs. 53.18)