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Preview: Temple Run VR on Gear VR

It’s Temple Run. Surely everyone knows what Temple Run is by now? The landmark title that pushed the infinite runner genre to the forefront of mobile videogaming and spawned hundreds of ‘me-too’ titles overnight, Temple Run earned it’s stripes, along with Angry Birds, by pushing videogames into the hands of an audience not necessarily prepared to become ‘gamers’. And it’s about to do it all again, this time bringing unsuspecting audiences into virtual reality (VR).

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Revealed alongside the Samsung Gear VR head-mounted display (HMD), Temple Run VR is exactly what you’ll be expecting with that title: Temple Run in VR. However, as simulator sickness-inducing as that may sound, Temple Run VR somehow manages to avoid these pitfalls. It’s a comfortable VR experience even after several minutes of play, failures and restarts.

The viewpoint is adapted to first-person. However, you don’t have a body and there is no acceleration or headbob. It’s as if you are floating rather than running: immediately up-to-speed when beginning and after each minor collision. Large collisions, however, will still spell and end to your run. These adjustments have been made to compensate for the revised experience on a VR HMD of course, but the challenge remains the same: travel as far as you can, collecting coins and avoiding obstacles.

Temple Run VR can be played with either of two control schemes: via a bluetooth control pad (the one supplied to VRFocus is an already available Samsung branded device) or through the use of the touchpad. The former is the most reliable, using the analog slider to move left or right, one button to slide under objects and another to jump over them. Using the touchpad is less intuitive; sliding your finger left-and-right to move and up or down to jump or slide. It’s unfortunate that the constraints of the touchpad are such, making VRFocus wonder why the movement in this scheme wasn’t controlled by tilting your view to either side as with the recently released Infinity Runner.

The visual quality of Temple Run VR is obviously far above that of the traditional third-person versions of the videogame, however it pales in comparison to the likes of Marvel Superpowered or the IMAX: Admit One software. Perhaps it’s because it’s pushing along at quite a speed, though unlike the third-person titles it didn’t appear as though the levels are randomly generated: in VRFocus‘ several plays the same challenges were presented in the exact same order. This may have simply been due to the fact that it was simply a demo made for showcasing the Gear VR, but only time will tell in that matter.

Temple Run VR was just one of the many high-profile franchises shown as part of Samsung’s initial Gear VR experience line-up, with a number of big name productions from motion-picture and videogame industries coming together for this new era of VR in mobile format. Of course, VRFocus will bring you more details on each and every one in due course.