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Video Game / Temple Run

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Take The Idol If You Dare!

Temple Run is an arcade game for the iPhone/iPad and Android. In it, you play an explorer who steals a sacred idol and spends the entirety of the game running from demonic monkeys until he inevitably slips up on some obstacle and dies. Not to be confused with the bonus round of a nostalgic Nickelodeon game show.

The original game was released in August 2011. A sequel, Temple Run 2, was released in January 2013.

The games have examples of:

  • Action Girl: Scarlett Fox and Karma Lee are two female protagonist options in the first game. The second game adds a third one, Maria Selva.
  • Adventure Archaeologist: Your protagonist, presumably.
  • Alien Geometries: The temple was surely designed by an Eldritch Abomination. Or by M.C. Escher. Or by a terrain randomizer that doesn't keep track of where you have been, so that it may happily let you take seven quick 90 degree turns to the right in a row and come to a new location each time.
    • Or for Fridge Horror, the idol cursed you so that you can never leave, and you will be stuck there forever no matter how careful you are or how fast you run.
  • All Deserts Have Cacti: The "Blazing Sands" skin in the second game.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Temple Run 2 introduced "Global Challenges" in 2016, and the prize for the top bracket is often a new hat for your adventurer. Lower prizes are gold or gems (also the award for the daily/weekly challenges). Hats are also the reward for completing the holiday artifact collections.
  • Animalistic Abomination: The Demon Monkeys, especially in the sequel where they have more surreal designs.
  • Artistic License Geography: The Blazing Sands area has an Egyptian-themed temple and pyramids, yet the whole landscape is reminiscent of an American canyon.
  • Camera Fiend: Maria Selva in the second game carries both a normal camera and one on the cell phone she's holding, and the images shown when she dies often have her exhibiting Social Media Before Reason (attempting to photograph the piranha that's about to eat her, for instance).
  • Captain Ersatz: While you don't get to play as the world's most famous explorer, Indiana Jones, you do get to play as the world's second most famous explorer... Montana Smith. And yes, he wears the same iconic hat.
  • Continue Countdown: Some variants have a timer after your character's death during which you can be revived by watching an advertisement (the first time around) or using revival items.
  • Continuing is Painful: The price of continues doubles every time you use them. One upgrade, when maxed out, keeps the price at one for some tries, but after it's over it'll begin escalating from 3 to 11 and so on, until continuing won't be worth the cost.
  • Death as Comedy: Your deaths are often played for laughs. Whenever you die, you get a laconic text message. For example, when you die from falling into a pit, this message may be "I knew I should have learned how to fly" or "temple slippery when wet". These two messages have a double irony, since you can use "wings of resurrection" and since you can slide without problem over even the roughest surfaces.
  • Death Is Cheap: It only takes one click to get back on your feet after death. You have to start over as far as running distance is concerned, but you get to keep all the coins you collected on your previous runs. You can also buy the ability to resurrect yourself, so you can keep your running distance as well.
  • Difficulty by Acceleration: The longer you continue running, the faster the level gets, and the faster you need to react to go on, which gets harder and harder.
  • Eldritch Location: As stated above, the temples defy the laws of physics and geometry, and seem to be supernatural even.
  • Endless Game: The game will not end until you run into a hazard.
  • Excuse Plot: You steal the idol. The demon monkeys start chasing you. Now run. (Good luck.)
  • Expy: Guy Dangerous looks like Nathan Drake, Scarlett Fox resembles (pre-reboot) Lara Croft, and Montana Smith is pretty obviously based on Indiana Jones.
  • Fake Difficulty: The "Frozen Shadows" update looks great, but the backgrounds are so detailed and distracting that it's much harder to see turns and traps.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: No matter what you do, the game will end when you run into a hazard such as hitting a log, falling into the water, or having the monkey catch you. No matter what causes the run to end, you'll never get away with the idol.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Frame rate issues cause the game to ignore input.
  • Have a Nice Death: Getting killed in different ways will give different messages on your death. See Death as Comedy for examples.
  • Hipster: Maria Selva's "Brooklyn" alternate outfit plays this to the hilt, complete with a bowtie and black-rimmed glasses.
  • Hungry Jungle: The jungle skin of the second game, "Lost Jungle", which takes place in a thick, Indian rainforest and features giant snakes, crocodiles, and Venus flytraps.
  • Indy Escape: Well, what else can he do when giant monkeys are chasing him?
  • Jump Physics: You can actually turn while jumping. How else are you supposed to avoid a log immediately followed by a corner?
  • Maniac Monkeys: The demon monkeys chasing you. In the sequel, there's a giant monkey.
  • The Many Deaths of You: Including being caught by the demon monkeys, falling off the path, slamming into tree trunks, or running into fire traps. Also see Death as Comedy and Have a Nice Death.
  • Microtransactions: To unlock all the characters and power-ups, you need coins. These coins can be gathered within the game, but for the impatient they are also available for real money. Characters based on real people must be purchased outright, presumably because of royalties.
  • Minecart Madness: Sometimes appears in the sequel.
  • Money Multiplier: Upgrades to powerups multiplies the value of coins collected during its duration.
  • Money Sink: There are two consumables to spend all your cash on once you bought everything else: A head start and an extra life. This saves your coins from becoming useless.
  • Mythology Gag: There is a section of the Pirate Cove level where you run across a bridge suspended over a swamp, very similar to the one that the first Temple Run is located in.
  • Power-Up Magnet: One power up draws in coins towards your character, regardless of their positions.
  • Premium Currency: The primary currency, Gold, can be acquired by simply playing the game and collecting it on the map. Gems, however, are rare items that can only be obtained via reward systems, rare appearances on the map, or by purchasing with real money.
  • Rubber-Band A.I.: A demon monkey does not care how far ahead of it you are, one mistake and it will be right behind you!
  • Something Person: The generic character's name is "Guy Dangerous".
  • Super-Speed: The head start consumable, as well as the equivalent powerup.
  • Swallowed Whole: If the death pictures are any indication, the demon monkeys (or monkey in the sequel), do this to you if you mess up one too many times.
  • Temple of Doom: The titular temple.
  • Timed Power-Up: The coin magnet and shield are timed. You can increase the duration of these power-ups by upgrading them with in-game coins.
  • Token Minority: The first game's story seems to be taking place in Asia (judging from the architecture and rainforest), but all characters but one is western. The one non-western character is Asian. Her name? "Karma Lee".
    • Oh, and the western characters are either white or African-American. The white characters are explorers and escape artists and similar stuff that fit the setting, while the two black characters are the cop Barry Bones and the football star Zack Wonder — making one wonder how he ended up in an ancient temple in the first place.
    • The sequel adds Maria Selva, who is Latina if her name is any indication, though she doesn't fit the usual stereotypes. Bruce Lee and Usain Bolt are also available as premium options.
  • Visible Invisibility: Type 4. Interestingly, the monsters can still see you while you're invisible, but it does protect you against trees and pitfalls. One can only guess that the invisibility makes you intangible, and that the monsters are quite supernatural. (Well, they do have skulls for heads.)

Alternative Title(s): Temple Run 2