Canabalt iPhone Review

If an alien invasion came your way, would you stand around, or run like hell? If you're the hero in Canabalt, you choose the latter. In this iPod Touch/iPhone App, you control the nameless hero as he dashes his way to freedom, leaping across billboards, crumbling buildings and through windows while avoiding obstacles, such as trash cans and dropped machinery.

The name of the game is speed. The faster you go, the better chance you have of clearing the longer jumps. Your progress is measured through the number of meters you run. The further you travel, the higher it goes. Keep in mind, though, that as you go faster, precision jumps become trickier, as you only have a half-second or so to see what's ahead. Tripping over trash cans slows you down, but you don't want to decelerate too much. Otherwise, you won't clear some of the bigger jumps.

All you do in Canabalt is control your character's jumping. Speed is handled automatically, and you don't have the ability to shoot invading aliens. While this may sound lame, this concept makes for an exciting game.

Better still, there's replay value galore. You'll return multiple times, just to see how much further you can get. It's just a shame that the game doesn't have online leaderboards to compare your best racing distances with others. However, to Semi Secret Software's credit, it will add this feature in a future update.

Canabalt not only plays well, but it also looks and sounds exceptional. The visuals, presented in a stylish black-and-white display, are absolutely superb. Each level is randomly generated, complete with awesome visual effects (doves that fly away when you run past, huge droids lumbering in the distance), multi-scrolling backgrounds and not a hint of slowdown. In addition, the cool sound effects (a crumbling building is great to hear through your headphones) and Danny Daranowsky's futuristic soundtrack, which sounds like it would fit right in to the Matrix universe, enhance the experience.

For three dollars, Canabalt is a steal. While its push-button gameplay may not please everyone, its fast pacing, astounding presentation and undeniable replay value will give you a proverbial run for your money.

What's Hot: Terrific scenarios, stylish black-and-white visuals, great soundtrack, reasonably priced for three bucks.

What's Not: No online leaderboards (yet), not much to the game's controls.

4/5