It might be understating things a little bit to say that the original Temple Run has been a hit for developer Imangi Studios. Since the addictive endless runner was released in August 2011, it has been downloaded more than 170 million times across iOS and Android. That's just ridiculous. Especially considering that Imangi Studios only consisted of three people at the time. Following the runaway success of the first game, Imangi has ballooned in size to five people. The extra two employees were brought on to help make Temple Run 2 a bigger and better game. So how did they do?

The first thing that's clear is the look of Temple Run 2 -- it's just much prettier than the original. In addition to taking place high in the clouds among Inca-styled ruins, the details and textures of this new environment are rendered beautifully. In other words, that new temple is lookin' good. More specifically, Temple Run 2 is one of the best-looking endless runner games you can play on your iPhone. If you have a Retina display, all the better.

Those lush environments contain new dangers and challenges for you, with constant obstacles that will surprise you when you least expect it. As you go, you will come across new elements like ropes to glide on and mine carts to ride. I don't know about you, but I can't wait to get Montana Smith in one of those mine carts.

Your motivation for temple running has also changed in this new game. Instead of small monkeys chasing you like in the original Temple Run, you now have a giant gorilla that wants to smash you. I found it much more intimidating and frantic-swipe-inducing whenever the bulky frame of this new simian villain came into view.

Speaking of frantic swiping, there's still plenty of that to be found here. The nuts and bolts of Temple Run 2 are the same as in the first game. You still have to swipe and lean in all directions as you make your way through the lush environment, lasting as long as you can. They didn't re-invent the wheel and that's a good thing.

This game is just as easy to pick up and start playing as the first one. There are subtle changes though, most notably the lack of hard right angles. The path you run on in TR2 feel more organic, winding this way and that. You will still have to make turns, but they don't feel as sharp and abrupt.

One of the most welcome changes in the new game is the addition of power-ups and characters. Not only are there more to choose from in the new game, but now they all feel like individuals, each with their own unique power-up that will help you break your old score. It's a far cry from anything like a role-playing level of customization, and they all still do pretty much the same thing, but it's a nice little addition that makes you feel more invested in your favorite temple runner.

As in the first game, the characters and power-ups can be purchased with real-world bucks or in-game coins. While they weren't the originators of the freemium model, Imangi certainly turned heads with how well they made the model work for them, so you can bet that the same system would be back in Temple Run 2. In fact, there are even more opportunities here for you to be enticed to spend money. It would be nice if they eventually released a version of the game that you could buy for a buck or two that stripped some of these things out, but hey, that's not a deal-breaker by any means.

Temple Run is already dominating the App Charts since it was released last week and with good reason. This is one of the best games you can play on iOS for free. If you missed the first game for some reason, there's no need to look back. Hop on board with this new one and get moving! It's definitely worth the price.


App Store Link: Temple Run 2 for iPhone & iPad | By Imangi Studios | Price: Free | Version: 1.0 | 45.7 MB | Rating 9+

9.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating