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Canabalt – iOS

Canabalt – iOS

250px-Canabalt_logoPlatform: iOS

Developer: Adam Saltsman

Publisher: Semi-Secret Software

Release Date: 2009

Genre: Platforming, Endless runner

Nerd Rating: 7 out of 10!

Around a year ago, I discovered this little indie game on the PlayStation Network called “Canabalt.” I had no clue what this “Canabalt” was, but I decided to download it and try it out nonetheless because it was free. I enjoyed the game so much on my PlayStation 3, that I decided to go and buy the game on the Apple app store. Much like I was when I first saw it, many of you are most likely wondering what this “Canabalt” is.

Canabalt is a randomly generated endless runner platforming game created by Adam Saltsman, who is just one person. The game began as a 5-day experimental game for the Kyle’s Experimental Gameplay Project. Adam Saltsman spent two weeks designing the game, drawing the artwork, writing the code, and recording the sound effects. While the game took very little time to develop, I must urge you not to think that simplicity makes a bad game. Even though the game is very simple, it can create hours of enjoyment, especially when competing with friends for a top score.


As previously stated, the game mechanics are very simple. You are a man in a black suit who is constantly running, and the only button you ever have to press is the jump key. (For the iOS port, you are simply tapping the screen to make him jump.) You start off in what looks to be an office building and you must jump out the window onto the neighboring building’s rooftop. From the rooftop, you will continue to run and jump onto rooftops, cranes, billboards, collapsing rooftops, and even into other building’s windows. One thing you must watch out for are obstacles on the roof, which if hit will slow you down making it harder to clear the next jump you must do. You also must beware of the rocket ship-esque vehicles flying by you, as even though they cannot hit you, they will make your screen shake to try and throw you off focus. As you run without hitting obstacles, you will gradually build up in speed, which you will need to clear some of the collapsing rooftops as they can fall quite quickly.canabalt-15-36-47

One thing that came as a shock to me was how beautiful this game actually is. Canabalt has a retro-esque style to it, but that doesn’t stop it from being an impressive and beautiful sight to the eyes. The buildings of which you are jumping to and from don’t look very fascinating, in fact they are quite boring, however the background of the game is truly impressive. In the background, you can see tons of broken buildings and cranes, much like the ones you are jumping on. In addition to the broken buildings and cranes, you can see smoke filling the sky from the distance, and what seem to be giant mechs (which one could assume is what is destroying the world as well as what you are running from).


The soundtrack, created by Danny Baranowsky overnight, is not only beautiful but fits the game so perfectly. The soundtrack is very dark and eerie, which then transitions into a fast, intense soundtrack. The game recommends you play with headphones to get the full effect, and I must second that by saying if you are playing without the sound, you are truly missing out on the experience that is Canabalt. The soundtrack also goes extremely well with the sound effects of the game, as the sound of glass breaking and ships flying by helps to create the full atmosphere of the game.


If you are a very competitive person, Canabalt has something in store for you as well. Not only does the game keep track of how far you go and tell each time you die, but it also has a leaderboard and the option to tweet out your score directly from the game. The leaderboard includes all scores from that specific device, as well as a comparison of you, your friends, and the world players separated by “best runs today,” “best runs this week,” and finally, “best runs ever.”


Canabalt, in my opinion, is the perfect example that simplicity doesn’t equal a bad game. The game generates hours of fun and is visually impressive for such a simple game. I’m honestly impressed that the game only took two weeks to create. I’m also impressed that the soundtrack was created in one night, and I personally would love to have it on my music playing devices so I can enjoy it even when I am not playing the game. You can try the game online for free here in case you are still not sure if you would like to spend the money to get the app.

Have you played Canabalt? Feel free to add your own comments below on how you felt about the game, and if you agree with what I have said or not!

Written by Justicescooby


Hello, I’m Justicescooby! I’ve been playing video games since I was a little kid, and recently I made the switch to primarily PC gaming. I have my own YouTube channel where I upload gaming videos daily, and I am an active member of many gaming communities/forums. I enjoy writing, whether it be my books I never seem to finish, or writing reviews or articles. I am also an aspiring singer and actor, and currently take singing lessons.


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