Wednesday 11 December 2013

Review - Temple Run: Danger Chase

Temple Run: Danger Chase

Temple Run: Danger Chase
Published by Spin Master Ltd
Designed by Nick Hayes and Brady Lang
For 2 - 4 players, aged 8 to adult

Temple Run Danger Chase game
Evil demon monkeys? Endless running? Eternal horror? Sounds great.

So, I have this dream...

Wait, wait. Don't worry. It's nothing weird. Well, not that weird.

In the dream, I'm running away from a monster. It's normally a werewolf. Werewolves really freak me out.

I'm running away, but no matter how fast I run, I can't escape. The road I am on goes on forever, and the werewolf is always snapping at my heels.

I hate this dream.

But then I wake up, and the dream fades, and I am lounging around in my underwear with a mug of tea skipping through the daytime television channels (this constitutes work for a writer, you know). Sooner or later, I will pick up my iPad (other tablet devices are available), and I will load up the Temple Run app.

I am sure most people are aware of this app. Basically, you are a guy (or maybe a gal), who has stolen an idol from a temple. This has awoken a demon ape thing that starts chasing you. The aim of the game is to keep on running for as long as possible, through a winding maze of bridges and tunnels filled with traps. If you hit a trap you die, if you stumble, the demon monkey eats you. And the game never ends. You just keep playing, racking up a high score, until the inevitable happens and you get got (gotten? gotted?).

It's a simple but incredibly addictive game.

And that's the funny thing about games. In my real life, and even in my dreams, I can't think of much worse than endlessly running for my life from a demonic beastie. But controlling a character in a game that is doing just that... well, that's a whole other story.

Anyway, where am I going with this meandering tale?

Oh yeah, that's right... Temple Run: Danger Chase. The board game version of the Temple Run app.

I first saw the game in a discount store called The Works (other discount stores are available). It was priced at £7.99, and that seemed a little steep for a game that was probably going to be a bit crap, so I left it on the shelf. However, a few days later, I saw the same game in a Home Bargains store (other discount stores are available), and it was just £4.99. My willpower isn't that great, so I paid the money.

Luckily, the game is actually (surprisingly, perhaps) very decent.

The premise is simple, and true to the app that inspired it. Two to four adventurers (or even a lone adventurer, playing to see how long he or she survives), are running along a path made up of five double-sided game boards. Close on their heels is an "evil demonic monkey" (yes, that is how it is referred to in the rules). The aim? Be the last adventurer alive once the monkey stops feeding.

Temple Run playing pieces
The adventurers - sucks to be them.

On a player's turn, he or she activates an electronic idol timer (batteries not included), that starts playing a suitably tense piece of music. The player then grabs five custom dice and starts rolling. Dice have blank faces, faces with one or two running symbols, and a face with the evil monkey. Monkey faces cannot be rerolled, but anything else can. Once the player is happy with a roll, he or she has to slap the idol timer. If this is done in time, the player will get to move; but if the timer emits a screeching monkey sound, time is out, and the adventurer gets moved backwards, closer to that hungry monkey.

Temple Run demon monkey
Evil demon monkey - released from the closet.

Assuming a player succeeds in rolling dice before the timer expires, he or she allocates the dice. Each runner forces an adventurer to move forward one space, and each monkey symbol forces the evil monkey to move forward one space. If an adventurer lands on a danger space on the board, that adventurer dies (unless a "save me" token has been acquired earlier in the game). If a monkey overtakes an adventurer, that adventurer dies.

Temple Run dice
Custom dice - I've seen that monkey's face in my dreams.

Whenever an adventurer reaches the end of the last board in play, the first board is flipped over and placed at the end, thereby continuing the path indefinitely.

Temple Run game boards
The endless path.

It is a game that can only end through player elimination.

Just like the app.

Just like my dream.

Just like school football matches.

Temple Run idol timer
The idol timer has three speeds: agh, aagghh, and aaaggghhh.

And that's all there is to it. The game really is very simple. You can learn the rules in less time than it takes to read this review. In fact, you pretty much have learned all the rules by reading this review.

But is it any good?

Well, yes. It is the game that I have played the most in the last month. This is partly because it is easy to teach and quick to play, and partly because it is just stupidly fun. You don't really have many decisions on a turn, you just frantically roll the dice, and try to slap the timer when it looks like you have rolled well enough to avoid being caught by the monkey or falling down a ravine. Yes, there is player elimination, it is an integral part of the game mechanism; but players who get knocked out still roll to move the monkey, and as games only last five minutes, nobody really minds if they die on the first dice roll (which does happen).

Is it the best dice game out there? No. Not by a long shot. But it is good, solid fun as a light filler. It is suitably tense when it is your turn, and there is no shortage of laughs around the table. After 15 minutes you will be exhausted, and you will want to do something else; but somehow that seems entirely in keeping with the game's theme.

So yeah, why not? I'm recommending this game (assuming you can get it cheap, like I did).

The game components are okay. The boards are thick enough, each adventurer is a different sculpt, and the evil monkey is suitably creepy; the dice are printed rather than being stickers, the idol timer is large, and seems to be able to stand up to grown men slamming it repeatedly; the rules are clearly laid out and well-illustrated, although they lack any colour. The only real problem is the tokens are paper thin; but as they don't get used all that often, it isn't a major problem.

Temple Run rules
The rules - clear, well-illustrated, and bland.

I'm saying this is a worthwhile purchase. And believe me, that surprises me almost as much as it surprises you.

Now, I want to tell you about this other dream I have...

I'm on a bus, on the way to school, and everyone is laughing at me...


  1. Interesting mechanic with the dice re-rolls and the timer; I suppose it gives a certain action feel to the game, in keeping with the app it is based on. Sounds fun, and a decent price.

  2. Any hope of a scan of the instructions? Did not come with box. cheers

    1. Hi. Have you tried contacting Spin Master? You can find contact information at I am sure they would e-mail you the instruction sheet.


Go on, leave me a comment. You know you want to.