Free endless running game for mobile
Subway Surfers is a free download endless running game in the vein of titles like Temple Run. Players find themselves in the stylish shoes of Jake, a young graffiti artist. Caught in the act by a tenacious police inspector and his dog, Jake is forced to ride the rails to make his escape. You'll dodge oncoming trains, collect coins, and use quick reflexes to stay one step ahead of the law. Run away on foot or use an arsenal of custom hoverboards and jetpacks to evade your pursuit. You can do this all without spending a dime, as the game is entirely free to download and install.
Ride the rails in vivid color
A far cry from drab and lifeless, Subway Surfers introduces players to a vibrant, colorful world full of eye-catching environments and unique characters. Playing as Jake, you'll need to use your swiping skills to make it through an endless gauntlet of subway rails and grind trains to escape the clutches of the law.
Gameplay is pretty standard for an endless runner: Jake will keep running forward while you swipe left and right to dodge obstacles in your path.
The swipe-to-move mechanic is a welcome change from screen-tilting mechanics in competitors like Temple Run, giving you way more precision and control over your movements. It's an ostensibly small difference but leads to a much better game-feel overall.
This improved game-feel is aided by the game's slate of powerups. You'll gather coins as you run, which you can cash in on powerups like jetpacks or hoverboards that will get you farther and help dodge obstacles.
Another unique style change is the ability to customize the power-ups as well, using unique skins like the Jive Outfit that can be unlocked during gameplay. You'll also be able to unlock new characters like Tricky & Fresh, and there's an entire library of custom cosmetic content to select from.
Though Subway Surfers is of course totally free, players that want to spend real-life currency can buy additional in-game cosmetics and power-ups.
Though paying up does make the game slightly easier, you won't be missing much if you'd rather save your cash. The real-money aspects of the game aren't at the forefront, and it avoids the pay-to-win feel that some other free-to-play apps fall into.
A unique makeover for endless runners
It's definitely safe to say that Subway Surfers' major strong point is the visual style. The cartoony HD graphics and bright environments are a huge draw, making it easy to lose yourself in the world of Subway Surfers.
There's always something new and engaging to look at, and you'll want to keep on playing just so you can keep taking in those eye-catching visuals seeing all the new characters and content that you can unlock. You'll take to the chase and escape from the law all in gorgeous HD graphics.
Visuals aside, the simple controls also set the game apart, making for a much more intuitive experience. Easier controls mean you can stay alive longer, and thus, keep on playing.
Both of these factors contribute to how addicting this game is. It's easy to play in short bursts if you've got a bit of time on your hands, but you might also find yourself getting lost in long binging sessions as you dodge the oncoming trains and ride the rails over and over.
You'll want to keep on going so you can unlock that next item or character. The game's rotating slate of daily challenges will also keep you coming back for more. The challenges put the focus on endurance, so you'll want to keep on running.
In addition to the challenge modes, you can also take a looser approach and give the Arcade Mode a try. As an added bonus, Snapchat users should check out a multiplayer Subway Surfers mode available via the app. You can get a crew together with your friends and compete for the highest score.
Subway Surfers does have quite a lot going for it as a free downloadable app, but that surface style masks a few major flaws. Chief among these flaws is the game's framerate issues.
Otherwise, this may be a minor gripe, but framerate issues in an endless runner can seriously detract from gameplay. Jumpy frames may lead to an unintended and frustrating game-over, or keep you from finishing a daily challenge if you miss a dodge due to a framerate issue.
Beyond that, Subway Surfers isn't hugely difficult. There isn't really a skill curve, so once you get the hang of playing there's no real sense of challenge to keep the game itself engaging. You may want to keep playing to unlock new items, but the gameplay itself isn't really much to write home about.
After a while, playing becomes more of an endurance test than anything. After a time, you'll start to recognize the game's patterns, which removes any real sense of skill or urgency.
The game's monotonous soundtrack certainly contributes to the feeling of an endurance test. It consists of a single looping track. This lack of variety in the music is a bit disappointing given the variety present in the game's other aspects. Especially for an endless runner, engaging music is important given that the objective is to stay alive for as long as possible.
Unfortunately, you'll probably find yourself muting the music entirely to keep from being driven completely crazy. This isn't a great alternative, because playing an endless runner without any sort of beat in the background isn't all that fun.
Substance takes a backseat to style
There's no denying that Subway Surfer is gorgeous to look at. The game's eye-catching visuals and engaging style set it apart in a crowded field. However, at the end of the day these visuals don't do much to mask the game's main flaws. Subway Surfers is certainly worth a try, especially since it is free, but it might not keep you coming back for more like other titles in the genre.
If you are a fan, you needn't worry: Subway Surfers is still regularly churning out plenty of free content like new levels, characters, and more.