Money's no good here. In this world, you grab all the duct tape you can carry.
If the Mayans are correct, this year marks the end of the world, and there will be no shortage of people attempting to cash-in on mankind's impending doom. Among them is developer Goroid and the iPhone and iPad game, TheEndApp, an endless runner that plays similar to that old iOS favorite, Temple Run, but has just enough differences (some subtle, others more dramatic) to make it stand apart, starting with the post apocalyptic setting.
We'll say this much: TheEndApp is one of the prettiest running games on smartphones and tablets. Throughout your journey, you'll direct a survivor through a ravaged city full of destruction, with planes stuck in buildings, busses dangling off overpasses, rusted cars, flaming barrels and busted up streets. Granted, much of this scenery repeats over time, but there's plenty of variety, from the inner city to the airfield, to keep things fresh.
To that end, the game plays almost exactly like Temple Run and is all the better for it. In similar fashion, you tilt the device to maneuver the running man right or left, swipe in those respective directions to turn, swipe up to jump and down to slide. All the while, you must collect as much duct tape (yes, duct tape) as possible, since it functions as the game's virtual currency. Meanwhile, and this is different from other titles in this sub genre, you're able to absorb a certain amount of damage. Smacking into a wall results in instant death, sure, but you can graze the side of something and continue on your way.
What we also like about TheEndApp are the missions, completely separate from the free running mode. Spread across 14 days with five missions each, you perform a bunch of tasks, from running a certain distance to collecting a specific amount of duct tape. Where the game falters are the cornball goals that ask you to post a high score to Facebook or buy a power-up. These should've been left up to the player, and represents a missed opportunity from the developer(s), where the slightest bit of imagination could've enhanced the experience; on a side note, you can skip missions by spending different amounts of duct tape.
As we just mentioned, TheEndApp comes with power-ups, the majority of which won't be a surprise to gamers that have played similar titles. There's a duct tape magnet that allows players to collect more during a run, a shield to protect the survivor from harm and a jetpack that gives him a boost, among others. What's especially interesting is the ability to level up these items via duct tape; speaking of duct tape, in-app purchases give you the chance to buy more. On top of that, there are multi-tiered achievements, along with lucky coins that may or may not give you another chance to continue a particular run.
On the downside, posting to Facebook seems a bit wonky, and we've had scores fail to appear on Game Center. Thankfully, the developer seems committed to updating the game on a fairly regular basis, so these issues should get ironed out.
With this in mind, we definitely recommend TheEndApp for Temple Run fans looking for something a bit different. We just wish more thought went into the missions and plot, but as far as free iOS games go, we can't think of a better way to embrace mankind's destruction.
What's Hot: Being able to take damage, completing missions, upgrading power-ups, multi-tiered achievements, cool post apocalyptic scenery, spot-on Temple Run style controls, free to play.
What's Not: Some goals really stink, minor glitches.