Review: Subway Surfers
Subway Surfers has already been mentioned here on All About Windows Phone, in regards to scam-ware (see our editorial here) so it's a pleasure to finally have the title available on Microsoft's mobile platform. Subway Surfers has already built up a strong following on iOS and Android devices, and while it's not as strong as an Instagram or an Angry Birds, it's great to see more familiar titles arrive. The key will be Subway Surfers 2 and if it is released on all three platforms simultaneously. But for now, the review!
Version Reviewed: 188.8.131.52
To be honest, given how Subway Surfers is structured, I don't think that Kiloo Games need a sequel given the amount of updates they provide to users, but I'll get to that in a minute. First of all, the game itself. Given the name of the game, the theme should be clear - you are a graffiti/tag artist, happy to art-up urban trains around the world. But you've been rumbled by security, and it's time to make a run for it.
It's an infinite runner. Much like Temple Run or Minion Rush, your challenge is to run along a 3D route, switching lanes as required to collect the coins, jump the hurdles, grab bonuses, and try not to get killed. There are no tilt controls on this one, it's just direct swipes on the screen - left and right to switch lanes, up to jump, and down to roll and duck under obstacles.
Actually there's one more control, and that's the double tap. If you do this you'll jump onto a skateboard, which is a temporary shield - hit anything while riding a board and you won't be given a game over, you'll smash through the obstacle and keep on running. Skateboards can be found infrequently in bonus boxes, or you can purchase them as a freemium option.
Yes, Subway Surfers is one of those dastardly games that asks you to buy power ups. Now, to be fair, it's actually pretty generous. You can happily play the game for months without the power-up purchases, because you get just enough of them through the various challenges on offer. Subway Surfers is clearly a title where the freemium top ups are not vital to the game. And because of that I'm always tempted to support the devs with a purchase - the issue for reviewers, of course, is which platform and which handset to buy the bonus for - not a problem the majority of you will have.
How do you take a well-known format and give it continued appeal? Here's how Subway Surfers does it. You have multiple challenges that take place over various time-frames.
First of all you have the game itself, run as far as you can, collect coins, and don't hit anything. If you are playing a single game, aim for the high score and move on. But Subway Surfers offers more than that, with a number of challenges running concurrently. You have three goals to accomplish to permanently increase the score multiplier. These could be to run a certain distance, jumping twenty times in a row, or collecting a number of in-game boosters (such as springy shoes to help you jump higher). Complete three of these, and the multiplier goes up.
Then you have the daily challenge. Here you need to collect five letters that spell out a specific word. This will earn you either a bucket of gold coins, or a special mystery box, usually containing either a power-up or a collectible item. If you can complete daily changes on sequential days, the value of the prize is increased.
On top of that you have a weekly challenge, Again a collecting task, there will be a rare item based around the current city. In the case of Paris it was a mini-Eiffel tower, for the current Christmas in London it's a mini christmas tree. You have a week to collect the specific number of items, for an even more valuable prize, as measured by the in-game currency.
And finally, each month the whole game updates with a new graphical theme, representing another city in the 'World Tour' of the Subway Surfers. Ask me again in a month if Subway Surfers will do this - I'm pretty confident they will do.
All of these put together give Subway Surfers a huge amount of longevity for what is essentially a running game. This inventiveness keeps the game fresh, offering the player something to reach for each time they play, as opposed to just a high score. The freemium purchases are nicely balanced out against the ability to earn them in the game. And on top of that it's one of the smoothest running games I've seen on any platform. It's fun to play, and captures that sense of just one more run.
There's a reason Subway Surfers has a good reputation on other platforms. Start playing it on Windows Phone, and you'll find out why. A strong recommendation to pick this up and try the game.
Reviewed by Ewan Spence at