Follow the yellow brick road.
It doesn't seem as though there's much more that can be said about Imangi's extraordinarily successful Temple Run series. The recently released sequel took the charts by storm all over again, and managed to introduced a few new tricks while staying faithful to the much-loved gameplay of the original. Between the two releases we were treated to Temple Run: Brave, an enjoyable but cautious affair that gently overlaid Disney's Brave character onto this gaming universe.
Next up for the movie tie-in treatment is a brand-new edition of the game, Temple Run: Oz. As the name suggests, Disney has once again chosen to align an upcoming film with this fan-favorite mobile game, in this case Oz the Great and Powerful. The first bit of good news for those who wanted more from Brave is that this time around there's a little more confidence in stamping the film studio's own mark on the core gameplay.
You play as the adventuring hero of the upcoming film, on a race through gorgeous scenery while a pack of Oz's infamous flying monkeys chases from the rear. Much of the gameplay here is very familiar - swipe to turn left or right, leap over obstacles, slide beneath head-banging branches and carefully tilt your device to collect every coin you can.
So far, so familiar, but what really sets this Oz edition apart from previous entries in the series is the extraordinary work that's been lavished on the artwork and environments of the game. An enchanted forest bursts with color as you race along the yellow brick road, while even the comparatively gloomy graveyards pack in an impressive amount of eye candy.
As well as an unprecedented degree of visual fidelity, there are a few bolder tricks to be found in the gameplay. Magical, knotted tree roots bloom in front of you, requiring lightning reflexes if you're to avoid a premature end to your game. Graveyard stonework crumbles onto the path ahead, again requiring you to react to the dynamic environment. Grab the magical keys that occasionally appear and you can participate in a lucky dip mini-game at the end of your run for a random reward of coins or points.
There's even the option to take part in an aerial balloon ride if you can hunt your vehicle down during your run through the maze. Here you'll have to gently tilt the device left and right to hoover up a generous collection of coins, while keeping the balloon away from the sharp crystal outcrops that line the path ahead. In addition to these new gameplay elements, there are even weekly and daily challenges to take part in for even greater rewards.
More familiar is the upgrade system which is carried over almost entirely from previous Temple Run games. Here, the usual assortment of coin magnets and head-starts can be found. While it's a shame not to see a little more experimentation here, it simply wouldn't be a Temple Run game without these core components of the game, and so you should simply expect the expected.
Temple Run: Oz isn't a revolutionary entry in the gaming series, but it is the most polished Temple Run experience to date. The artwork, the music, the sprinkling of new gameplay mechanics, and the dynamic environments of this new adventure are likely to cast a spell over Imangi's audience all over again. Let's hope the film can do the same for cinema lovers, eh?
What's Hot:Classic Temple Run gameplay with plenty of new tricks and an extraordinarily accomplished visual styling.
What's Not:At its core, much of the gameplay represents very familiar ground.