From the early days of Pong recreating table tennis to level upon level of Pac-Man, quick reflex games continue to have wide mass appeal. This can be seen in the free game Temple Run from Imagini. The apps which has been downloaded hundreds of millions of times. The sequel, Temple Run 2 surpassed 50 million downloads two weeks after its launch date.
With such a great game, it is no wonder that the idea has been taken to the physical world in Temple Run Danger Chase from the well known gaming figure Spin Master Games. Temple Run is a game in the “endless running” genre, where players continue trying to go forward as they collect coins and avoiding traps. If the player is too slow, demon monkeys appear to end the run (the player has grabbed a cursed idol from a temple). Either by demon monkey or obstacle, eventually the player dies. The goal is to get the highest possible score.
Temple Run Danger Chase keeps the running theme from the app version as it adds other things to the mix. The board game consists of several tiles with routes marked on them, these can be flipped over when players pass to the next one, creating an innovative “infinite board.” Tile-laying games are always a favorite of mine, and the cleverness of the use of a limited number of tiles to keep the game going potentially forever is a great move. The rest of the pieces consist of four running characters and the Demon Monkey, all of which have great art, especially the terrifyingly awesome Monkey.
The gameplay consists of each player hitting the electronic Idol Timer and rolling the dice on his or her turn. Battery-powered board games are often troublesome, but here the timer enables three different levels of difficulty (length of time allowed per turn is adjusted) as well as playing drum music, potentially widening the appeal. The dice show blanks; one or two runners; and Demon Monkey heads, which count as spaces the Demon Monkey moves forward. Players may reroll as they wish in order to move the right number of spaces, but Demon Monkeys always stay. This is where TRDC becomes tricky: a player must be very careful in knowing how many spaces he or she wishes to move. A simple miscounting could result in landing on an Obstacle, which means instantly losing the game. Out players still roll for the Demon Monkey, moving them forward and eventually catching the other players. The last surviving player wins.
There is a good deal of strategy in TRDC, particularly aiming to land on power-up spaces to collect bonuses. Blue “Resurrect” power-ups allow a player to survive obstacles, yellow “Boost” power-ups double one’s speed (for which players must adjust their counting), and purple “magnets” allow players to steal power-ups. The combination of power-ups while counting spaces to avoid the Demon Monkey makes for a solid game. Being “out” due to landing on an obstacle, however, proves too harsh, making games overly short. A homebrewed rule making players lose a turn upon landing on an obstacle helped our playtesting, especially since being caught by the Demon Monkey is already a great and terrifying losing condition.
Temple Run Danger Chase is a game for two to four players ages eight and up. Like the app, it does not take long to play and keeps a high level of intensity, with players needing to remain focused while the drums beat and a demon monkey approaches.