In true adventurer spirit, I like to explore the heart of a subject. That is especially true if it's something I have taken a stance against in public *. But in true fearless spirit of intellectual exploration, I have brought a set of tools to help myself fight the need to violently seizure and bang my head against the floor from poor storytelling. A good handheld game is a necessity when watching shitty movies and let me tell you dear readers, I have found the holy grail of handheld video games. The INFINITE JEST of gaming (the movie within the book, not the book itself). Something so addictive, the only thing you will want to do until your body gives up on you is to play, play, play and play. I was playing TEMPLE RUN two hours after that movie was over **.
The premise is simple and yet so racist it's actually funny. You have stolen a golden monkey from a temple full of angry demon monkey on an unhealthy mixture of steroids and ephedrine and now, you have to run for your life. Of course you're a white guy (at least, in the beginning you are), slighly reminiscent of a British explorer who screwed up bad. You're never going to win, because the temple has you like Bangkok has the cast of THE HANGOVER PART II. What you need to do is to run as far as you can and collect as many coins as you can, so next time you can run further and collect more coins. A sisyphean task put in such a nightmarish context, you might just be in hell already. Has Guy the Explorer already died? Is it his eternal punishment to run away from these damn monkeys again and again? So much suspense***.
The design of TEMPLE RUN is brilliant in its simplicity. The aesthetic will remind you of the most frantic levels in CRASH BANDICOOT, where you have to run away form an impending danger (a rolling boulder or something like that) to the end of the level. But here you don't run to a safe place and it keeps going faster and faster. If the premise borrows heavily from UNCHARTED, this is another idea that takes elements from a Naughty Dog title, but it's all good because it's a quality product. The high-score oriented gaming is a pleasant throwback to the Atari days where what mattered more than anything was to beat the crap out of your friend's score. It gives an old school charm to it and heightens the tension. I talked some mean trash about TEMPLE RUN scores since I started playing. I know it's not an original idea for iPhone games, but it's implemented very well here. This might be the DONKEY KONG of smart phone games ****.
In a market where it's the wild west, like iPhone gaming, the game with lasting appeal are rare. There's a LOT of things programmed in a basement, sold for 99 cents, who are cheap ripoff of flat-out boring game. TEMPLE RUN is the next link of the chain ANGRY BIRDS and TINY WINGS have started. It's simpler than BIRDS, but its graphics are more impressive (3D). That might be the only drawback of an otherwise great game. You can't play for short stretches. It's neurologically impossible. You will play for at least an hour and it will drain the hell out of your battery. So make it count. Whenere you play the RUN, make sure you're sitting comfortably and that you're ready to kill your best score dead. Great game. An achievement in casual handheld gaming*****.
* This is not true. I walked in the living room and the movie was playing. Caught in a social situation, I didn't want to be a savage, so I sat down and watched the goddamn thing. Or almost.
** It would be more faire to say that I heard BREAKING DAWN more than I watched it. In both case, permanent damage to my intellect was made.
*** I'm not sure I got the core of BREAKING DAWN, but I think it's about Bella being pregnant with a demon baby. There is this mesmerizing scene where Edward gives her a pile of shit because the baby is destroying her and instead of throwing dishes at him like a normal girl would, she goes to see Jacob and says: "I feel complete with you". What the fuck does that even mean? Talk about being confusing for a poor hormone driven werewolf. Plus, can somebody educate me on the biology of dead people? How are they supposed to procreate? Can they even get boners?
**** And c'mon. Only a self-righteous turd would refuse to change Bella into a fucking vampire. I'm sure he does that "purity" routine only so she can die and he can be miserable for another hundred years before falling in love with another ordinary looking seventeen years old and treat her like shit. Not the most feminist stuff ever written here.
***** Yes, Edwards gives birth to his troglodyte child with his TEETH. It's not an urban legend. Director Bill Condon makes it horribly sensual too. And it's only sensual for Edward as Bella is bleeding out in the meantime. What the fuck is wrong with people?
***** 0%. Fuck this movie. It could have used a Prozac Tooth Fairy for its characters.