The Ultimate Guide To Making A Good Endless Runner Game

Temple Run

Endless runner games (games in which your character runs infinitely until you eventually die, with the aim to get as far as you can) are becoming more and more popular on the App Store everyday. This would be great – they’re addicting, fun, simple, and can be played in only a few minutes. That is, except for one thing. The majority of them suck. But what makes certain games such as Temple Run, Subway Surfers, or Jetpack Joyride stand out? Millions of people love them!  By following the tips below, you can ensure that your endless runner game will be just as fun as the ones listed above. Here is the ultimate guide to making a good, addicting, endless runner game.

1. Make It Gradually Harder

An endless runner should get gradually harder as you progress in the game. Some endless runner games go the same tempo throughout the entire game, so instead of the high score relying on the player’s amount of skill, it is based on how long the player can continue doing the same, boring thing before he or she gets too bored and quits. By gradually increasing the tempo, by either making the character move faster, increasing the amount of obstacles, or a combination of both, you’ll ensure that your game actually has competitive leaderboards. Which brings me to my next point…

2. Have Leaderboards And Achievements

Jetpack Joyride Achievements

Humans are competitive creatures. We like to be the best at something – and this includes video games. In fact, having the challenge of trying to beat your friends high scores actually increase the addictiveness of the game. As do achievements. By including leaderboards and achievements within your game, you’ll dramatically increase the amount time some users will spend playing your game. Which in turn, increases the satisfaction level of the purchaser, and may even lead to extra purchases. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want their app going viral?

3. Do Not Base It On Luck

No competitive game should ever be based solely on luck, let alone an endless runner. Nyan Cat: Lost In Space is guilty of relying their game solely on luck, and that’s why a lot of people have stopped playing it. If you make the wrong jump, you could be set on your way to death, without any knowledge of it. And there’s nothing you can do. Games like these annoy the heck out of the players, as it renders their competitive skill useless. If they are unlucky, it’s impossible to get a high score. Don’t do this if you want your game to be fun for the players.

4. Include A Shop

Jetpack Joyride Store

All of the popular endless runner games include in-game shops. These shops offer permanent upgrades as well as temporary boosts. These are both good in their own unique way. Why? Players will keep playing over and over to try and collect enough coins to get the permanent upgrades. Once they do, they’ll be ever to forever use their money towards the temporary boosts. So not only does it increase the amount of time players will spend playing your application, you’ll also make some extra money through in-app purchases should you decide to do that. It’s a win-win for both the player and for you as the developer.

5. Give The Players Goals

Subway Surfers Missions

Temple Run, Subway Surfers, Jetpack Joyride.. as we know, are extremely successful. Why? They’re addicting. What makes them addicting? A lot of things really, but one of the biggest addiction factor is the in game missions system they all contain. Let’s think of a typical platformer for a moment. You get into a story, you face some issues, you solve the issues, and then the game is beat. Endless runners are nothing like that. In an endless running game, you do the same thing every game. The only challenge is to try and get as far as you can before you die.

Psychologically, we as humans need goals. As soon as we stop striving to achieve something, we get bored of it, and we’ll do something else. So what better thing to satisfy this need by including an in-game mission system?

6. Make It Unique

There are a heck of a lot of endless runner games on the App Store today. It’s almost as over saturated of a genre as weather applications are! So what do you need to do to compete in an over saturated genre? You have to make your endless runner unique. You have to give it some sort of spin – something that draws people away from the popular endless runner games, and brings them to yours. This is up for you to decide. Use your imagination. Think of a unique idea, a unique gameplay mechanic, something. Share it with your friends. If they think it’s good, chances are, the world will think the same way.

7. Make Your Endless Runner Random

The track for your endless runner should not be the same every time. As soon as the player can start memorizing what movements they need to take, something is wrong. This strategy is impossible if you make your track random. It should be a different run every time.

8. Music Choice Is Important!

Music can play a huge part in the feelings the player receives when he’s playing your endless runner game. After all, that’s why movie directors spend so much time focusing on the right music for different scenes in the movie. Endless runner games are supposed to feel intense. So what should you do? Include some intense music. Music with a fast beat, maybe even accelerating as you get farther into the game. This is up to you. But just imagine a lullaby playing in the background of your game. What kind of effect on mood or feelings do you think that’d have on your players? Not a good one.

9. Update Endlessly

Temple Run Oz Update

Endless runners work in a pretty unique way. The typical player will play them a lot for a while, and then stop completely, or only continue playing on occasion. So how do you bring them back again? You produce updates. Not just small updates. We’re talking big, potentially game changing updates here. Give the old players some reason to come and continue playing your game. Get them addicted again. This can easily be done through the right updates.

Now it’s your turn!

What do you think makes a good endless runner game? Let the world know by leaving a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

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