Subway Surfers is an “endless running” mobile game. It was co-developed by Kiloo, a private company based in Denmark and SYBO Games. It is available on Android, iOS, Kindle, and Windows Phone platforms. Players of the game take the role of youthful hooligans who, upon being caught in the act of applying graffiti to (tagging) a metro railway site, run down the tracks to escape the inspector and his dog. As the hooligans run, they grab gold coins out of the air while simultaneously dodging collisions with railway cars and other objects. Special objects, such as the Weekly Hunt, can result an award in the game.
Subway Surfers was released in May 2012 with updates based on seasonal holidays. Since January 2013, updates have been based on a “World Tour” theme that places game action in a new city each month. As of 22 January 2015, twenty cities have been featured in the game. The current city is Seoul (second release).
The object of the game is to collect coins and other rewards while running through an endless game world. Trains and other obstacles must be avoided by performing well-timed jumps (swipe up), rolls (swipe down) and sideways moves (swipe left and right). Occasionally the characters surf on hoverboards, soar over the train tracks and even run along overhead wires. Special missions reward players with bonuses for accomplishing specific tasks. The game ends when the surfer either stumbles and is apprehended, or crashes and dies.
For use as avatars, Subway Surfers offers regular characters (available for acquisition at any time) and special characters (available only for a limited time). All characters are rendered in vector graphics as stylized cartoons with large heads and diminutive bodies. The miscreants range in age from pre-teen through teen years, though their attire suggest a variety of time periods.
Jake is the default Subway Surfers character and the face of the franchise. Jake appears in game icons. All other characters must be “unlocked”. This is done in one of two ways. Some characters are unlocked via the collection of character attributes in the course of the game. An attribute may be an article of clothing (such as a hat) or a prop (such as a boom box). Other characters are available by in-app purchase.
Inspector and dog chase the characters. While he is always the same character, his uniform changes according to the location. During the New Orleans (Halloween) edition, the inspector was replaced by Frankenstein’s monster with a skeleton dog. During the second London (Christmas) edition he was dressed as Santa Claus. During the second Rome (Easter) edition he was dressed as the Easter Bunny.
Subway Surfers has a Metacritic score of 71 form 8 reviews. TouchArcade scored the game as 4 out of 5, and praised Subway Surfers for its major twist on the Endless running genre, it mentioned that while the game wasn’t innovative or the first of its kind, it did expand and evolve the genre. They also praised the control system. Gamezebo scored the game as 3.5 out of 5, they also praised the control system and the gameplay. They said that the game had made little attempt to stand out from similar titles, but the polish of it was hard to ignore.
Pocket Gamer scored the game as 5 out of 10 and criticized the controls as unresponsive. It also criticized the grinding required to advance in the game. In summing up they called it solid but uninspired.