As a part of my attempt to diversify my gaming portfolio, and spend some time away from Lords Mobile for a well-deserved break, I’ve started playing other mobile games to get a feel of what the plebs are doing with their time. One such game is the now-ancient Subway Surfers, but don’t let its release date fool you. It still has some kick to it and can provide plenty of fun when you’re riding a bus to work or just killing time at home.
There really isn’t much else to say, so I’ll just start with the actual game review. Enjoy. Or don’t. I don’t care about your enjoyment, as long as you click on my links.
I rank this game a strong 8/10. I’m especially impressed that this game has managed to pass the test of time!
- The Basic Review of Subway Surfers
- Is Subway Surfers Safe for Kids?
- The Power-Ups in Subway Surfers
- Special Items
- Cosmetics and Locations
- The Verdict on Subway Surfers
The Basic Review of Subway Surfers
Subway Surfers is an endless runner game. Compared to the drudgery that mobile strategy games can be while you wait for the next batch of resources to be done, this is a much more active and fast-paced game that rewards awareness and reflexes.
The premise is quite simple. You’re a graffiti “artist” who’s running away from a security guard (and his dog). You jump over or dodge obstacles along the way and collect coins in the meantime. You have three lanes to run in and can swap between them by swiping across the screen. Some routes will have obstacles, while others will have coins. You can also climb up on a train’s ramp to run along the trains’ roofs. You can duck under some ramps by swiping down and jump over them by swiping up. When you hit a smaller obstacle, the guard gets a chance to catch up. If you hit a train, it’s game over, and you have to start from scratch.
After a while, the game ramps up, increasing the speed at which your game character runs, thereby speeding up how quickly new obstacles appear. The obstacles become more challenging as well, introducing moving trains that need a faster reaction time to dodge. Your success in the game pretty much depends on how fast you can swipe.
The coins you collect during each of your runs can be used to unlock more content, like gameplay improvements or cosmetics. They also present a scoring system by themselves, although there’s another, separate scoring system based on how far you’ve managed to run.
Btw, I also have a Subway Surfers Tips and Tricks Article. Feel free to check it out!
Is Subway Surfers Safe for Kids?
Yes. Subway Surfers perfect for kids. There are no real life-skills to be learnt but it is enjoyable and safe. Just make sure that you have your in-app purchases locked otherwise they may end up spending all your money.
The Power-Ups in Subway Surfers
While the basic plan of collecting coins is all fine and dandy, there are some power-ups along the way that will help you out. The power-ups appear on the map and can be picked up by the player character for a 30-second benefit. These include:
- Coin Magnet: When you pick up the magnet, you can collect coins from all lanes at once. As you might have figured out, with the magnet on, you don’t have to worry about collecting coins and can focus on dodging incoming obstacles and trains.
- 2X Multiplier: The multiplier increases your running score. Since it’s only a score increase rather than a coin multiplier, this power-up is mostly useless in getting you further into the game or unlocking more content. Still, it is a nice boost for weekly quests or leaderboards.
- Jetpack: When you pick the jetpack up, your character shoots above and into the power lines. This upper area doesn’t have obstacles and has a lot more coins to pick up than on the ground. Since you can’t lose with a jetpack on, it’s a great way to boost both your score and get more coins from a single run, so be sure to pick one up if you spot it.
- Super Sneakers: The sneakers might look like a rather dull power-up, only giving you the ability to jump higher. They have hidden powers, though. You can use this jump to get onto a train without using a ramp, so it’s not quite as useless as it appears. The sneakers also allow you to pick up coins below you similar to a Magnet (although they don’t catch coins in other lanes) and can also pick up other power-ups in the same manner. You can also get on top of some tunnels, which can help finish quest rewards and find unique items.
- Pogo Stick: The pogo stick propels your character up into the sky. You get the chance to collect more coins while in the air and can land on roofs or pipes to continue collecting them for a while, since the upper area has a higher coin density. This power-up appears less frequently than others, usually appearing in front of roofs that hold more coins.
- Super Mysterizer: This power-up appears only on Mondays and is basically a random power-up. The options include:
- A hoverboard
- Doubling coins
- A +10 score multiplier
- The ability to double jump
You can upgrade the Coin Magnet, X2 Multiplier, Jetpack, and Super Sneakers by spending coins in the shop. Each upgrade increases the duration by five seconds. The upgrade costs increase with each level: 500, 1000, 3000, 10000, and 60000 for each power-up.
Apart from Power-Ups, you get a small suite of helpful items to increase your score or give you a better fighting chance against the obstacles:
- Hoverboard: You can use a hoverboard by tapping on the screen. It lets you keep going if you hit an obstacle (within 30 seconds), but once you use it up, it needs to recharge. Hoverboards can be upgraded in the shop to give it more powers.
- Score Booster: If you use a Score Booster at the start of a run, your score will increase by the boost amount. Score Boosters come in +5, +6, and +7 versions.
- Headstart: If you use this item at the start, you get a jetpack to zoom you further into the game, effectively boosting your score without the need to dodge obstacles. However, you don’t get to pick up coins.
I haven’t really given much thought to score-boosting items in my short time playing this game, but the Hoverboard can be handy once the difficulty ramps up.
Another item that is useful in a game are the Keys. While it’s pretty rare to collect one during a run, this secondary currency can resume your character’s run after you’ve been caught and can unlock other gameplay power-ups and cosmetics. You can usually obtain Keys by watching ads from the menu or opening loot boxes.
This conveniently brings me to the game’s monetization feature. The base game is entirely free to play, but if you want to upgrade the Hoverboard or unlock more characters or cosmetic choices, you have to pay up. Or watch ads. Pick your poison.
Cosmetics and Locations
The game has mostly thrived due to its abundant cosmetic options. Every so often (usually a month or so), the game’s setting changes, overhauling the background design, introducing new playable characters, and changing how some items appear. The updates so far have focused on putting the game into different real-life locations (such as Amsterdam, Miami, Zurich, Seattle, etc.), but recent updates have pushed the envelope further.
There are also seasonal modes, such as Halloween, which offer more fantasy choices.
The Verdict on Subway Surfers
Subway Surfers isn’t for everyone. The game’s core is relatively simple, and it emphasizes reflexes and speed over strategy and tactics. If you’ve been playing Lords Mobile for a while, this game will pose a significant challenge simply due to how different it is.
While the game’s aesthetics get overhauled multiple times a year (I counted 15 patches in 2020), the core gameplay doesn’t stray from the “run as far as possible” strategy and can get repetitive after a while. If you happen to enjoy the genre, great. If not, you’ll probably have a better time going back to strategy games.
Also, the game has been going on for eight years now, and is still receiving updates. It was also the most downloaded game of its decade, that being the 2010s. If that’s not impressive, I don’t know what is.
If you want to learn more about how to be good at Subways Surfers, click for my expert Subway Surfers Guide.