In Canabalt, there is a “jump button.” A jump button to jump over obstacles, across ledges, and for breaking through windows. And…that’s about it for a game that has you making a daring escape away from unknown danger and traversing over randomly-generated building tops.
The jump, much like Mario’s, is pitch perfect and makes each one feel as rewarding and responsive as the first time you smash out to prolong your survival.
The game’s monochromatic art style and simple animations work well enough to make it re-playable as a high-scores arcade experience. Your character runs, rolls, and jumps to his untimely death when he hits something however many meters out you can take him.
There’s no hit points or power-ups. Besides jumping, you manage your avatar’s velocity by avoiding/crashing into boxes strewn about the environments. And most importantly — Canabalt’s creators kindly nudge you towards this as the game loads — make sure to wear headphones to listen in on and ward off incoming missiles.
Canabalt started out as an exciting, free web application, but the fact that you can now take this tiny glory on the road makes it even better. There’s no weakly implemented motion gimmicks or shake functions; just a pure, addictive platformer taken off your computer monitor and made portable.
The few faults are its lacking pause button, no way to navigate back to main screen from in-game, and the absence of online leaderboards. Albeit for that last one, there’s a fan-made leaderboard to use if you’re hooked on to the Twitter-nation. No need to wait for the, as all iPhone apps do, inevitable price drop. Canabalt is worth the full price of admission — $3 last time I checked.
I ran 12,084 meters before turning into a fine mist…how far can you go?