Ready, set, run!
Every time I meet with friends and they ask me what games I have on my iPhone, it always plays out the same. They are all enthusiastic about Angry Birds. They check out some of the arcade games I have. Only to end up playing the game I also end up playing no matter how many games I discover on the way. The game that you also probably have on your iPhone. The one and only, Temple Run.
I can't really explain what's so captivating about endless running games. But this I can say: Temple Run was the first game I played on my iPhone. And it's still one of my favorite games. So, what do you do when you really, really like a game? Besides playing it day and night. You try to find other similar games. And that's exactly what I did. The result...let me just tell you this: I'm surprised there's no special Endless Running Games section yet in the AppStore.
First of all, you have the two classic Temple Run games. But although your goal is the same as it is with all the other endless running games (run as much as you can), these two games are already iconic for this category. Because the design is absolutely impeccable. The games offer all sorts of boosts and new characters you don't have to pay a dime for. All you need to do is run and collect as many coins as you can, that you can later use to buy all these things and increase your chance for a high score. Plus, these games are so intuitive, and with such simple, basic rules that you don't need more than a couple of seconds to get hooked.
Temple Run: Brave and Oz
Then, you have the personalized Temple Run games, like Temple Run: Brave and Temple Run: Oz. Here, the rules stay the same. But you get to control Merida on her run through an old Scottish setting. Or Oz through his beautiful and marvelous land, following the Yellow Brick Road all the way to Emerald City. The boosts are customized to fit the setting, of course. Plus, there are also other new and thrilling features for these games, like the archery challenges and the wisp mode in Temple Run: Brave. Or the Hot-Air Balloon bonus feature in Temple Run: Oz.
And the endless running frenzy doesn't stop here. Quite the contrary. Just take a look in the App Store and you'll find a dozen similar games to Temple Run. However, not all are as good and engaging. But, among the ones we came across, there are at least 5 games worth mentioning.
One of them, I think, is already as popular as Temple Run. With awesome characters and a really cool setting, Subway Surfers is in a constant state of improvement, bringing you new challenges, boosts and characters every day. The controls are almost the same as with Temple Run, only that with Subway Surfers you simply slide from left to right instead of tilting the device. Mainly because you don't need to make a left or right turn, but you do need to move from one side of the screen to the other to avoid the trains coming at you. In Subway Surfers, you control a rebel graffiti artist, running on a train track from the cop chasing him. And that's how the crazy run begins.
Running with Friends
With a more similar design to Subway Surfers than to Temple Run, Running with Friends is another noteworthy game. The goal is the same, the controls are exactly the same with the ones in Subway Surfers, but Running with Friends is more social than the endless running games we have discussed so far. In this game, you actually run with friends. Unfortunately, not at the same time. But you take turns. There are 3 running rounds per game, and whoever scores the most points at the end of the rounds, wins. As for your opponents, you can compete against your Facebook friends, a particular user, or a random one.
The game has its flaws, sometimes suggesting inactive users to compete against, which can only lead to you running the first round and then waiting for hours for your opponent to make his move. Plus, it would be nicer if you could both run at the same time, instead of taking turns. But, all in all, it's a pretty good endless running game.
Agent Dash is the most similar game to Temple Run we came across. From the setting design to the game controls, it almost feels like you're playing Temple Run. And I say almost, because you don't have a gyroscope option, so you have to slide your finger from left to right to move sideways. Other than that, you play here as Agent Dash. But, just like Temple Run, you can change your character at some cost. You collect diamonds instead of coins. But their use is the same: buy upgrades and boosts. So, Agent Dash is pretty much perfect for those of you looking for another Temple Run, with new characters and cool settings, boosts and upgrades.
The End App
The End App is Temple Run in an apocalyptic setting. But what's special about this game is that it's more about the challenges than about you running like a maniac. And I, for one, just love a good challenge. Plus, The End App has all sorts of stages, some free to unlock, others unlockable just by purchasing the Pro version of the game. And for those of you who missed the gyroscope option, The End App has exactly the same controls as Temple Run. Duct Tape is your best friend here, since you use it to skip challenges and buy stuff. So, the goal in Free Run Mode is to collect as much Duct Tape as possible, while running as much as you can. While in Challenge mode, you must complete all achievements, of course.
We left the best for last. And this is Pitfall!TM Because, I must admit before reading more about this game, I thought Pitfall!TM is another Temple Run, "filmed" from another angle. But it looks like Pitfall!TM is the legend here, being a hit game on Atari, way before iPhones and iPads were a hit with games. The controls are pretty much the same, minus the gyroscope option, as with other games here. But the angle is completely different. You play the game in Landscape mode. The camera shifts depending on the setting. Plus, your character is a sort of Indiana Jones, so you'll also have to whip some snakes on your way to avoid getting bitten. So, I don't know about you, but all this sounds really good to me.
And the endless running mania continues
Although the endless running games list still has a lot of items left, so far these are the best games of this kind we found in the App Store. But who can say what the future holds? Since these games are growing more and more popular, the next Temple-Run-like hit is probably just around the corner.
Have we missed any? Let us know in the comments!