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Canabalt's Run-Jump-Go Splat Format Massively Addicting

Simple and Addictive, Canabalt Will Destroy Your Productivity
What it is: 'Canabalt' is a simple game, available both as a free Flash game and as a $2.99 download for the iPhone. The premise is basic; you play a tiny man, fleeing what appears to be an alien invasion, leaping from rooftop to rooftop, dodging obstacles, and smashing through windows.

What we like: This game is as pared down as it gets. There is only one button: jump. There is no 3-D environment in which to position the camera, no punching, kicking, or shooting -- you can't even control movement left or right. To accompany the simple game-play mechanics, the game employs an equally simple aesthetic design. The world of 'Canabalt' exists almost entirely in four shades of gray, and is stylishly pixelated.

Every time you play the course, the route your character takes to escape his impending doom is randomized. This makes every 'Canabalt' journey a unique and unpredictable experience. Randomness is only part of what keeps 'Canabalt' exciting, though. The expertly executed soundtrack and ever-increasing pace of the game makes sure to keep your heart racing till the moment you slam into a wall or plunge to your death.

What we don't like: While we love the game and love supporting independent game developers, $2.99 does seem a bit steep for something so simple, especially since it feels like a genius idea thrown together in one afternoon.

Another issue to consider is that since 'Canabalt' is completely random, there is no "getting good" at the game. Every session will likely last less than a minute, and end when some seemingly unconquerable obstacle is thrown in your path. That can happen in the first 200 feet, or may not happen for 6,000. While we find that detail a part of what makes the game exciting, we've seen people get frustrated with their inability to reproduce good runs.

Bottom line: 'Canabalt' is dead simple and a complete time suck -- in the very best sense. This is exactly the sort of game that the iPhone was designed for, and if there were any justice in this world, DMV lines would be filled with people playing this instead of 'iMobsters.'

Play for free here or click here to download it from the iTunes Store.

Tags: canabalt, features, game, handheld, iphoneapp, switcheddownload, top

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