Run, Jump, Don’t Get Killed…that’s Canabalt in a nutshell.

Semi Secret Software‘s Canabalt is an insanely fast-paced and equally as addictive sidescrolling arcade-style game. It is actually a port of a very popular Flash-based game of the same name. Your character is constantly running forward across building rooftops, and steel girders and it’s up to you to jump from building to building, over boxes, over killer robots, through glass windows and more, trying to get the farthest distance possible before..well…dying. Your death could be suddenly and permanently induced by several different means, missing a platform or window and falling to your death, or being turned into a fine mist by the blades of a killer robot.


The controls are super-simple, you are always automatically moving forward, you just control the jumping by touching anywhere on the your device’s screen. The longer you hold down your finger, the further you’ll jump, just tap the screen for a short jump (useful when avoiding boxes). By successfully avoiding boxes and other items that may get in your way, you will build up momentum, allowing you to cover more ground, getting faster and faster, but be careful, as you will need some razor-sharp reflexes to stay alive.

The game dons an beautiful greyscale color palette and the graphics are sort of an 8-bit style, but the futuristic industrial cityscape backdrop reminded us a bit of a graphic novel-stylewise. On startup, a screen stating “For maximum awesomeness headphones recommended”, and boy are they right! This game sounded fine through the iPod’s speakers, but the experience is kicked up to a whole new level once you don the headphones. The game’s hip techno soundtrack (almost a little reminiscent of Run Lola Run) and fantastic sound effects will envelop you and really get that adrenaline pumping.


Each time you start Canabalt, the building layouts are randomized, so every game will be unique, offering loads of replay value. At the end of a game you have the option of boasting about your latest distance on your Twitter feed, and if you tap the screen, another game of Canabalt will start right up. There’s nothing to think about, just touch the screen and you are off and running (literally) in a new game, with zero down time. This is a very nice feature and definitely helps further enhance the addictive nature of the game. Canabalt is an ideal example of the “one more try” type of game that we love here at As soon as you die you’ll think to yourself, “oh man” if “I had just jumped” sooner” or “Ugg I hate you stupid robot, and before you know it 30 minutes will pass and you’ll still be playing!


This brings us to the Canabalt’s one controversial sticking point. Because Canabalt is so simple to play (only one-finger is required), and it’s “free to play on the web” there fair number of people who believe that the game’s $2.99 price tag is much too high. Sure “the game is free on the internet”, but since Apple doesn’t currently support Flash content on an idevice, there is no other way you are going to be able to play it on your iPhone.

Since no lite version is available, we highly recommend that your try out the web-based version here to experience the game for yourself. This will be the perfect indicator as to whether or not you’d like the game. While you are at it, count the number of times you play. Like a Lay’s potato chip, we bet you can’t play just once. 😉 Consider the number of times that you end up playing the Flash game and compare that to the last $2.99 title you played, to decide if it has enough value for you at the current $2.99 price point. If you still think it’s too expensive, then we suggest you add this to your wishlist for a possible sale. We were definitely one of those $2.99 price balkers as well. On the other hand, having now played a boatload of this game, we’d have to admit that we have gotten $2.99’s worth of value from it, but that’s not to say that we also still wouldn’t like to see Canabalt offered for $0.99 or $1.99 instead. With Canabalt’s super simplistic gameplay, we think it’d probably be an easier sell and garner even more sales at a lower price point.

For a fun, simple no-brainer game that is easy to pick up, but nearly impossible to put down we’d definitely recommend Canabalt.