Subway Surfers is an "endless running" mobile game co-developed by Kiloo, a private company based in Denmark and SYBO Games. It is available on Android, iOS and Windows Phone platforms.
Subway Surfers was launched 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 released monthly. As of 8 May 2014, fifteen cities have been featured in the game. New York City, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Sydney, Tokyo, Miami, Paris, Beijing, Moscow, New Orleans, London, Mumbai, Seoul, Mexico City and Vancouver were featured at least once. Miami, New York City and Rome were featured at least twice, with tokyo being expected to be featured next on 28 may 2014.
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 appear to range in age from pre-teen through teen years, though their fashions suggest a variety of time periods.
Jake is the default Subway Surfers character and the face of the franchise. Jake appears in game icons and greets newcomers. All other characters must be "unlocked". This is done in either 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 may be unlocked at any time through payment of virtual currency. All special characters are unlocked in this way, as are additional outfits for some of the more widely used characters.
The Inspector, accompanied by his dog, chase the characters on screen. While he's always the same character, his uniform changes along with the location. During the New Orleans version, the inspector was replaced by Frankenstein's monster with a skeleton dog, during the London version he was dressed as Santa Claus, and during the second Rome version he was dressed as the Easter Bunny. In the Gurgaon version he was dressed as a running cricket bat with a leather ball.
The object of the game is to run one's hooligan character as far as possible through an endless game world by avoiding randomly generated obstacles that require the player to either jump (slide finger forward), duck (slide finger backwards) and/or dodge the oncoming trains (slide finger laterally) in a precise manner with the help of occasional power-ups. Gameplay takes place in graphical 3D Perspective (graphical). Player characters collect coins as they run; occasionally they surf on hoverboards, jump over or roll under objects, soar over the train tracks, and even run along overhead wires. Special missions reward players with bonuses for accomplishing precise tasks. Upon a wipeout, characters occasionally appear to smash into the screen. This fourth wall gag has predecessors in Crash Bandicoot (video game) and the 1999 Pepsiman video game on PlayStation (console).
Since January 2013 the game's monthly update features a new city as a setting. The differences are mainly graphic, as the gameplay remains much the same. Weekly city-themed "treasure hunts" earn special bonuses. Each new city introduces a new character who is native to the locale, and a new hoverboard bearing a design suggestive of the local culture. Both items are made available for in-game "purchase" with harvested gold coins for only a limited time, but they remain as permanent items in the player's collection. The game makes whimsical use of tourist stereotypes. The Paris version, for example, introduced a street mime character, a tricolour hoverboard based on the French flag, and souvenir hunts for miniatures of the Eiffel Tower.
As with many free tablet/mobile games, Subway Surfers is "optionally free by default". Players can advance unhindered in the game without making online payments of real money. Online purchases enable interested users to customize the experience more easily and build reserves of virtual currency. Two forms of virtual currency are used for in-game purchases: gold coins (abundant) and blue keys (scarce).