As of 2015, "Subway Surfers" has a combined total of 27 permanent and limited characters that can be unlocked by the player. Permanent and limited characters can be unlocked through various requirements, such as finding a certain number of items through Mystery Chests or purchasing them using in-game coins.
A new "Subway Surfers" player can only use Jake as her starting character. Limited game characters, such as Zombie Jake and Elf Tricky, can only be purchased during certain times of the year or when the game's updates place it in a certain city. Players can still purchase time-limited characters by modifying their devices' time and date settings.