Way back in March, Microsoft announced a big batch of Windows 8 games that would be launching the following weekend. These mostly included Xbox-enabled games, but they mixed some indies in there too. And all of those games did launch that weekend but one: Temple Run: Brave from Disney and Imangi.
We never learned what caused the holdup, but the important thing is Temple Run: Brave has launched for Windows 8 and RT at last! In our previous article I said it might not have Xbox Live features, and unfortunately that has proven to be the case. At least Windows tablet and PC users can now enjoy an installment of the popular Temple Run series… No word on a Windows Phone port of this one, unfortunately.
Head past the break for a hands-on video and our full impressions!
Run, Merida, run!
Temple Run: Brave is essentially the original Temple Run game with a coat of Brave-colored paint on top. In other words, it plays like the game Windows Phone 8 owners have enjoyed since March but is themed after the Disney Pixar movie Brave.
Now, I didn’t care for the film but it makes for fine windows dressing in the game. Players control the feisty protagonist Merida as she runs away from the super ruthless and uncool bear Mordu. The areas she runs through include lovely Scottish hills, forests, and ancient ruins. Merida makes little vocal quips about the action, and the game displays cute drawings of whatever accident befell her when she gets a Game Over.
This version does add a new gameplay element in the form of archery. At certain times during a run, an archery symbol appears at the top of the screen. This lets you know that archery targets are coming up along the sides of the path soon. Hit them all and you’ll get a coin bonus. The Gunstringer: Dead Man Running borrowed the same mechanic when it launched on Windows 8 a while back.
Shop opening soon?
The main goal of any run is to collect as many coins as possible. These can then be spent on power-ups and new outfits for Merida in the shop. The prices are actually reasonable so you can conceivably unlock everything if you play enough. However, the game does still give the option to buy coins with real money.
At least, it’s supposed to – at launch, the game can’t actually connect to the online store. Hopefully Disney and Microsoft get that straightened out soon.
Windows 8 specifics
If playing on a touch-screen device, you swipe in the appropriate direction to move Merida left or right or make her jump or slide. You have to use the arrow keys for the same functions on a keyboard; this title unfortunately doesn’t support controllers. Shooting archery targets is much easier on a touch screen too because keyboard players have to move a mouse pointer to hit them. Temple Run: Brave is still quite playable without a touch screen, but more control options would make it even better.
Graphically, the only enhancement of note is the game’s new widescreen display. It definitely looks better on a 16:9 PC monitor with the scenery extended from edge to edge instead of making a tiny portrait view screen with borders like they could’ve done. Otherwise, the geometry and environments make sparse use of polygons and certainly don’t look much better than a 2012-era phone game (or 2011, for that matter).
Temple Run: Brave resembles Ice Age Village in that it combines a movie license with a tried-and-true game design. Does anybody else find it slightly creepy that the star of a Disney movie is basically guaranteed to die by the game design? There's no winning in Temple Run, and no escape from Mordu in Temple Run: Brave. Ah well, still fun!
Gamers who like endless runners and/or the Temple Run series in general will probably want to pick this one up. Gunstringer: DMR does boast slightly better graphics, an actual story mode, controller support, and Xbox Live Achievements, but it also has much longer loading times, steeper prices in the shop, and a very annoying narrator. Yeah, Disney and Imangi should have published this one as an Xbox title. Still, if I was playing just for pleasure, I’d choose Temple Run: Brave instead.
Temple Run: Brave for Windows 8 and RT costs $1.49 and clocks in at 39 MB. Get it here from the Windows Store.
Thanks to Edwin R for letting us know this game came out!