Yes, we know there are going to be people who will frown at us reviewing an app that is a minor upgrade from its supremely well-covered predecessor, but in our defense, we would like to state that this has got to be one of the most high-profile celebrity-gaming tie ups that we have seen for a while. We are talking of Olympic sprinting legend Usain Bolt making an appearance on Temple Run 2 for iOS and Android. Yes, you can now take on the onerous escape from the mysterious temple pursued by the equally mysterious creature who looks like King Kong with a beak, in the guise of the world’s greatest sprinter. We are told that this is strictly a limited period offer and well, you will have to part with 99 cents to get the honor – all the gems and gold you might have collected in the game in the past count for naught as far as getting him are concerned.
On paper, this seems a perfect match. The world’s premier sprint runner – perhaps the greatest of all time – in the world’s most famous running game. All you need to do to get into Bolt’s spikes is update your version of Temple Run 2 to the latest one and then scroll through the characters you can play as in the menu. Apart from the usual suspects like Guy Dangerous, Barry Bones and Karma Lee, in fact, right at the very end of the list of playable characters, comes Usain Bolt. And as you watch him, he performs a few moves, including the now iconic “the bolt” in which he leans back and seems to be aiming an imaginary arrow over the horizon.
Got that? Now here’s the bad news. At the moment of writing, that really is the only thing that is Usain Bolt-ish about Temple Run 2. Yes, you do run in the form of a figure that bears some resemblance to the sprint legend in terms of complexion and gear but as the standard view of the game is from behind the character, you really do not get to see more of him. And he has to do pretty much what other characters have to in the game – run endlessly. The obstacles, leaps and jumps are the same as other characters and yes, sue me for sacrilege if you want, but we did not see any discernible change in the style of running either. Yes, the image that appears every time your run ends does have Bolt in it and there is a special ability called Bolt Power in it which allows Bolt to run faster, become impervious to obstacles and attract more coins, but frankly, it all seems like to much window dressing as similar abilities have been seen in other characters (you can activate coin magnets and shields, which act similarly). We would have liked something more relevant – maybe special shoes, maybe the ability to turn around and fire a “bolt” at his pursuers, maybe even perform the bolt every time he grabs a gem, but alas, Imangi seems to have been very content with just throwing in the Bolt figurine into the game at the moment.
All of which makes us feel that this upgrade is a bit of a missed opportunity for the developers. A lot could have been done with a figure as iconic as Bolt and well, he fits the game perfectly. The problem is that he does not do anything that is remotely akin to what he is famous for. It would be a bit like James Bond joining the game but only running like other mortals and not chasing babes or using fancy cars and gadgets. Incidentally, we surely hope that’s not next on the Imangi agenda. What we do hope is on the future agenda are more Bolt-centric moves that make one feel that there is more to the character than just a resemblance to Usain Bolt.
But as of now, download Usain Bolt on Temple Run 2 only if you are a rabid fan of the man. If you are not, steer clear, and just imagine that you are running as Bolt whenever you play the game, irrespective of the character you play it as – alas, it is pretty much the same thing. And if you are hell-bent on spending 99 cents on a running game, go for Temple Run: Oz, which has much better graphics and has also received an update. Mr Bolt will need to do more to be worth 99 cents of hard earned cash, we-thinks.