Endless runner is one of the most popular game genres for mobile devices and Windows Phone 8 has a good selection, from famous names like Temple Run to exclusive titles. We’ve collected eight of the best endless runners available on Windows Phone together to show you what’s out there.
What Is An Endless Runner Anyway?
Endless runners are essentially platform games, with the main difference being that there is no end to a level. Instead, the player continues collecting items and avoiding obstacles and enemies. Often, the player is being chased, or alternatively has stolen something, making escape from the enemy imperative.
The first endless runner of the modern era is believed to be Canabalt, released in 2009, although it has its roots in games like Pepsiman (1999) and B.C.’s Quest for Tires (1983).
Endless runners usually offer a collection of power ups and bonuses that you can use to improve your progress. Often these are in-app purchases, but they might also be activated by collecting enough points in-game or connecting to a social network.
The following eight games for Windows Phone 8 (in actual fact nine, but we’ve grouped the Temple Run games together) are all free, although some will have in-app purchases available for you to gain advantages in game play.
Temple Run 1 & 2
As you probably expect, Temple Run is available for Windows Phone 8, with both versions of the game available free in the store.
The aim is simple: steal the idol, escape from the temple without being ripped to shreds by insane ape beasts.
In the original game you escape with the idol along temple walls and cliff faces, avoiding booby traps, take advantage of power ups and basically survive to spend the coins you collect. Although Temple Run 2 is also available, both games are extremely playable.
More of the same can be found in Temple Run 2, albeit with improved graphics, more locations (mines and ziplines) and more varied power ups. Also, the game features a set of objectives to complete and a choice of characters, including Usain Bolt! Unlike the original, Temple Run 2 has Xbox Live achievements for you to complete and increase your Gamerscore. Like most of the games in this list (unless otherwise mentioned), Temple Run 2 is available for iOS and Android.
Similar to Temple Run in execution, Subway Surfers has a less aggressive foe chasing you – this time, it’s a security guard taking exception to your graffiti. Thus begins a fun escape through endless train yards, train tracks and the occasional hinterland as you avoid hitting trains, barriers, platform walls and other landscape items while collecting coins, letters and other bonus items.
Various challenges can also be completed, ranging from collecting 250 coins to jumping on a certain number of trains and running over a particular distance.
You’ve stolen a top secret jetpack, and it’s time to escape the research facility! Unlike the first two games in this list, Jetpack Joyride is a side-scroller, with a collection of fiendish obstacles. As the jetpack gets faster, the laser turrets, rockets and electric shock barriers become more intelligent, and while there are plenty of chances to upgrade the rocket and your abilities, if you don’t take them you’re toast!
Jetpack Joyride features a collection of achievements that you can complete for in-game rewards and Xbox Live points, and is so good we added it to our best of Windows Phone apps list.
Not a million miles away from the 1980s hit car game Outrun, Car Run is a great game in which you must outrun a police car after smashing through some barriers. You’ll need to keep your finger on the accelerator to maintain distance between you and the police, while using your horn to get other cars out of your way. Perhaps most importantly, you need to collect coins to keep your fuel topped up, and use other vehicles to slow down the police car.
Car Run uses your phone’s gyro sensor for control – you need to tilt left and right to steer around the other cars and obstacles!
Other cars can be unlocked, but this is a tough game for newbies, so you might find yourself playing Flappy Bird instead; after all, you already know that one’s tough.
A fun achievement-lead endless runner, Minion Rush is a Despicable Me spinoff that puts you in charge of a minion who must compete various missions. Using voices and sound from the film, this is an evocative recreation, almost like a sequel, and features multiple costumes, a shop and daily and weekly challenges.
Connecting to Facebook will gain you 50 credits, while various locations are available, each with their own tasks to complete as you control your minion using the same gestures as in Temple Run.
This is great fun, and should probably stay on your Windows Phone!
Flappy Bird [No Longer Available]
Surely you’ve heard the story of Flappy Bird? It brought the endless runner genre firmly into the public consciousness, while its difficulty level and the insane amount of money its original creator earned from its iPhone release made headlines around the world.
Now, Flappy Bird is available for Windows Phone 8. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
Well, it perhaps depends on how much you like your phone. This is without a doubt as annoyingly frustratingly difficult as the original, requiring just the simple finger tap on the screen to control your bird’s flapping speed. Hit the pipe and it’s the end of that particular bird; the game ends and you start again.
Like Temple Run and Despicable Me: Minion Rush, Rail Rush requires you to swipe your finger on the screen to duck, jump and move left and right in order to avoid the various obstacles, as well as tilt left and right to collect gold.
The setting here isn’t too different to the mine levels of Temple Run 2 – you’re in a cart, on rails, and you need to collect as much gold as possible while dodging obstacles and jumping between the tracks. Starting slowly (with a tutorial) the game begins to speed up as you get deeper into the mine, demanding faster reactions from you the further you get.
With mission achievements and an in-game store where you can purchase extras with gold and real-world cash, this is a fun alternative to Temple Run 2.
Hypernaut [No Longer Available]
This Windows Phone exclusive is another endless runner that has a retro feel, this time reminding me of another old 8-bit adventure game, Driller.
Of course, the aim here is far different, even if the 3D polygon graphics are similar. In Hypernaut, your simple aim is to avoid the obstacles, a combination of skyscrapers and mountains, by tapping the left and right sides of the screen to move in the corresponding direction.
With just one life, two difficulty levels and no power-ups, survival is key here.
That’s The Eight: Did We Miss Your Favourite?
Those games listed above were among the best endless runners for Windows Phone – but not all of them.
Although some are particularly poor, there is every chance that we might have missed your favourite. So let us know what you think, and which ones you would have added to the list.