There was one thought on my mind as I played Temple Run: Oz. And it certainly wasn't, "wow, this is fun!"
And then I watched the trailer for Oz the Great and Powerful. Lo and behold, there's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it clip of James Franco and Mila Kunis running along a narrow stone bridge. It's like a live action Temple Run movie.
It's probably just a madcap conspiracy theory, but given how yucky and cynical this game is I wouldn't put it past anyone.Over the rainbow
I mean, despite arriving on the App Store with a price tag, Oz is quite clearly a freemium game at heart. It features plenty of in-app purchases - and the shop puts the most expensive buy - an icky £69.99 cash dump - at the very top of the list.
There are full-screen adverts for other Oz-related paraphernalia, and you are offered the chance to buy your way back to life when you inevitably die.
Plus - the whole thing feels sloppy and vaguely incomplete. There are parts of the menu that look like unfinished prototype art, Oz often clips through scenery, and there are framerate hitches and all-out crashes.
And, obviously, there's the fact that Temple Run: Oz is exactly like every Temple Run game you've ever played. Hero is chased by Villain, and must leap over obstacles, slide under rocky outcroppings, veer left and right to scoop up coins, and turn at right-angled corners.
There are also three missions to get on with at any time, and you can buy things that let you attract coins, skip sections of the game, boost your multiplier, and avoid damage.Ding-dong! The witch is dead
As ever, there are some new elements to fit the theme. You can leap into a hot air balloon and lazily ride that through the clouds for a bit. And sometimes the flying monkeys swoop down from the sky and you've got to duck under them.
Whether or not this excites you depends entirely on whether or not you're absolutely burned out on endless-runners. But, whatever the case, there's no denying that Oz is hardly different enough from the free Temple Run 2 to make it worth another 69p.Temple Run: Oz is sloppy, cynical, tired, and dull. Unless you are so enamoured by sprinting into the screen very fast that you're willing to put up with lazy design, adverts, and aggressive monetisation, run the other way.