For better or worse (I’d vote for better), the success of Temple Run (Free) has led to a bevy of similarly “inspired" 3D endless runners. TheEndApp (Free) from developer Goroid is one such title, with core gameplay mechanics that play strikingly similar to Temple Run. However, the stark changes in environment and a couple of minor variations may do enough to differentiate TheEndApp as an endless runner worth playing.
TheEndApp has you taking the reins of a grizzled protagonist as he witnesses the beginning of the apocalypse. Towns are devoid of humanity, pools of lava and overturned vehicles litter the streets, and your simple goal is to escape from it all as fast as you can while collecting massive amounts of duct tape (the game’s primary currency). Later missions introduce lucky coins, which can be used to prolong runs. Of course, being an endless runner in this scenario is a bit depressing as you will, inevitably, die with your score and total distance recorded for leaderboard posterity.
As mentioned earlier, fans of Temple Run will feel right at home with TheEndApp. The same 3D endless runner gameplay, along with the requisite swipes to jump, slide, and make sudden turns, survive and are used for survival in the wasteland. While swipes are used for all supplemental controls, tilt continues do serve as the exclusive control scheme for moving about the current lane.
While the tilt works well enough for most situations, it doesn’t quite have the same smoothness and sensitivity as found in other titles. Other familiar elements, such as the ability to buy various power-ups to aid in your quest (along with permanent score multiplayers) also make an appearance. Bear in mind that while the initial game is free, a ‘Pro’ mode IAP is required to unlock all power-ups and features.
Where TheEndApp looks to differentiate itself is with its change in scenery, which is a departure from the jungle/temple motif and instead is an exploration into urban madness. You’ll encounter abandoned buildings, torn up streets, massive overturned vehicles – everything a game needs for an apocalypse.
While the buildings and barriers don’t really change, TheEndApp does subtly change the color palette as you progress further into the challenge mode (each ‘day’ in the apocalypse has 5 challenges that must be completed or skipped before you can move on to the next day). It’s interesting watching the sky grow more and more ominous with each passing day and definitely adds to the presentation. The fact that the game looks great (running animations notwithstanding) doesn’t hurt, either.
The biggest issue most gamers will have with TheEnd is the simple fact that you’ve played this game before. Sure, the environment is different and the power-ups have different names, but the gameplay is Temple Run through and through. Fans of the ‘genre’ will most likely not care, but others hoping for some significant improvement upon the formula are likely to be disappointed.
Still, it’s tough to give TheEndApp a hard time about its striking similarities to Temple Run. On one hand, a good deal of its gameplay mechanics are simply derivatives made popular by the popular endless runner. On the other hand, there’s a reason why that combination works so well. TheEndApp deserves at least some credit for recreating the experience and, more importantly, doing it well.
Of course, the fact that the game is wrapped in a nice apocalyptic re-skinning makes the similarities a bit easier to swallow. Regardless, if you’re firmly in the camp of treating Temple Run as its own genre, you certainly have a new game to check out in TheEndApp.