What We’re Playing: Canabalt

Cool fact about Canabalt? The entire game was made in 6 days! Granted, there probably wasn't too much sleep during that time, and Adam and Daniel are pretty hardcore, but it's still pretty damn impressive how quickly a fun, polished experience can be sculpted.

Canabalt is short, sweet, and a lot of fun. Created by Adam Saltsman and with music from Danny B (Benmergui?), you can play the whole game in about 10 seconds, but you’ll probably get addicted and keep going for an hour if you’re anything like me. Set in a post apocalyptic nightmare, you take the role of some well dressed dude just trying to run away. The game is incredibly simple – jump to avoid obstacles and clear the gaps between rooftops. That’s it. What makes the game so enjoyable is the sense of urgency that the developers manage to pack in, largely thanks to the music. It really feels like you’re in the Matrix, trying to outrun robots who will sooner or later destroy you. The fact that they managed to get that aesthetic in a game that is so simple (pixel graphics, grayscale coloring, one button controls) is pretty damn impressive.

So what’s extra cool about the game? The little touches are great – making the screen ratio 2.86:1 really works for the game, allowing you to see what’s coming up in the distance. The procedural level generation makes the game always feel new and fresh. The way that your character isn’t always centered vertically on the screen helps the sense of jumping and height as you dash from rooftop to rooftop. The way the smashing glass flys a distance proportional to your speed makes the world seem real. And that somersalt the hero does after a long drop is awesome.

Interestingly enough, the game is actually pretty accessible too, as it is a one button game. It loses some points for being so dependent on reflexes, but if you are a one switch gamer I would *strongly* recommend checking this game out.

My record so far? 4984 meters. Beat that Turnip!