Last night, I accompanied Jennifer to DSW so she could buy shoes for our trip this week. While she shopped, I took some time and played a new game I had gotten for my iPhone recently: Canabalt.
Canabalt has something of an interesting premise: you play a character who is escaping from some kind of city-wide attack, jumping from building to building as you run, and avoiding obstacles along the way. The game is deceptively simple, as the only real control in the game is to tap the screen, which causes your character to jump. How long you hold the tap down for controls how high/far your character jumps. As he runs, he has to avoid boxes (which merely slow him down) dropped weapon turrets (which turn him into “a fine mist” when he hits them), and correctly judge the correct power of each jump on the fly. I’ve lost several times when I’ve hit the jump button too hard on reflex, realizing too late that my character was supposed to be jumping through a window and instead smacking against the wall above the window.
The graphics are relatively simple 8-bit-type graphics in black and white, but still impressive. As I’ve played I pay little attention to the environment as a whole, merely concentrating on getting my character past obstacles, determining whether a building is about the collapse (such buildings are riddled with cracks), and making sure I judge each jump correctly. In the background, though, you can see a wrecked city, with alien(?) walkers walking back and forth, using either a projected energy weapon or a spotlight. Every so often, a plane flies overhead close to the action, but in my experience it’s not possible to die by hitting one of the planes.
If you ever feel like bragging about the distance you’ve run before losing, the game offers you the option to automatically post about it on Twitter. I’m not one to brag, or else I would have tried this functionality by now. It might also have something to do with the fact that I’m pretty sure my scores are pretty lame compared to others out there…
I’ve been playing Canabalt for a week or two now, and it’s currently my favorite “time-waster” game, for when I have a few minutes to kill. It costs $2.99 over at the iTunes Store, which to me was well worth it. Don’t take my word for it, though; the developer (Semi-Secret Software) actually developed a free Flash-based version before porting it to the iPhone/iPod Touch. You can play it at its website, located here.