8.7
Games  |  Reviews

Canabalt (iPhone)

January 7, 2010  |  2:12pm
<em>Canabalt</em> (iPhone)

Developer: Adam Atomic
Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, PC

Deceptively simple indie game will leave you breathless

If the most primal dilemma human beings face is fight-or-flight, the vast majority of games gun for enjoyment of the former. Understandably so—there’s a strategic, almost tactile intensity to the simulated clash of two opposing forces. Indie platform-action game Canabalt, however, bucks this trend by milking a shocking amount of fun out of a reasonably straightforward flight fantasy.

Tap the screen or click to begin your game and a little man sprints down a corridor and leaps through the window of a high-rise building onto a neighboring rooftop. Your score is measured in meters, and the goal is to run as far as you possibly can along rooftops and construction cranes, jumping (with a simple click) over obstacles and gaps before you either die by misjudging a leap or smashing into a missile warhead lodged in a roof. That’s right—your daring escape unfortunately coincides with a futuristic apocalypse. Spaceships rumble by overhead, propelled by massive afterburners; towering bipedal robots in the distance lumber back and forth, laying waste to the city. These images—coupled with a tension-building electronic soundtrack—create a remarkably dense atmosphere. Even if you’re too young to get a nostalgic buzz from the Atari-grade pixel size of Canabalt’s graphics, the game’s action will keep you coming back for yet another attempt at toppling your previous distance record.

[You can play Canabalt online right now by clicking here.]

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