In many ways, The End is just a post-apocalyptic reskin of Temple Run. However, the game makes a few additions of its own. Some of them are improvements, and some may cause you to delete the game.
You play a grizzled survivor running through a nameless city the day after the world ends. It’s not clear what happened — though you’ll get hints from the entertaining headlines scrolling across the main menu — but the streets are a maze of wrecked cars, broken pipes, and fiery lava. Your only hope for escape is to keep running and dodge the obstacles.
The controls should be familiar to anyone who has played Temple Run. Swipe to jump, slide and turn; tilt to run towards the left or right sides of the road. Money is meaningless in the post-apocalyptic nightmare, so you collect duct tape instead of coins or jewels. You use that tape to buy many of the same power-ups that are available in Temple Run.
Whatchya gonna do when Apocalypsemania runs wild over you, brother?
One difference is the graphics. The End’s city is bright and colorful, with sharp details and variations in the weather. The game also reacts to forward and backward tilts, showing the world from different angles based on how you’re holding the screen. This tilt feature does more than look good, because you can play at whatever angle feels most comfortable.
The other major difference is the mission system. The End offers a Free Run mode, but the game features a campaign that spans 14 ‘days’ in the city. Each day offers five different missions, which must be completed to unlock the next day in the campaign.
On the first day, the missions teach basic actions like jumping, sliding, and turning corners. Later missions challenge you to run a certain distance, collect lots of duct tape, or practice an unusual skill like jumping police cars. There are also shopping missions, which are simply opportunities to unlock a new power-up. Some missions are easy, some missions are hard, but you can skip any mission that you don’t like by spending a few thousand duct tape. That ability to skip is a great relief value for frustration, and every game should have it.
There’s a dark side to the missions, though. After a few campaign days, you run into ‘sharing’ missions, where you’re required to post a game score to Facebook or Twitter. It’s the same spammy game mechanic that has earned social games their horrible reputation on Facebook. The missions get even worse near the end, when you’re required to shop for power-ups that are only available if you buy the ‘Pro’ version of the game.
“It is a grim future filled with lots of explosions and partial nudity.”
You can avoid these sharing and pro shopping missions by spending duct tape, but they’re expensive to skip. If you want to finish the campaign, you’ll have to play along with the developer, or spend most of your resources just to keep playing.
We shouldn’t have been surprised by the sharing and pro shopping missions. The mission structure comes right out of social games, so it’s natural that Goroid would bring social game marketing and monetization tricks along with it.
That doesn’t make those tricks any more palatable, though. Most freemium iOS games offer the option of payment instead of trying to force it as part of the game; it would be a shame if Goroid’s approach became a common practice.
It’s too bad that the sharing and pro shopping missions exist at all, because they are likely to drive a lot of players away. If you don’t mind those features, though, The End is a fun game and a worthy clone.