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Rating: 4.5/5 (350 votes)
Comments (68) | Views (11,541)

Doracanabalt.gifYou can't hear your heartbeat, but you can feel it pounding in your temples. You can't hear the slap of your feet against the rooftop, but you can feel the building shudder beneath you. All that fills your ears is the thunder of the mechanical monstrosities moving through the city at your back with cold precision. Maybe you're not important enough for them to notice, but you don't dare stop to find out. All you can do is keep running for as long as your legs will carry you. Or until something stops you permanently. Is it a nightmare? Or is it Canabalt from Adam Atomic?

Best of Casual Gameplay 2009Created for Experimental Gameplay Project's 2009 August theme of "Minimal", Canabalt is a brief but addictive little action game. How brief? Well, that depends on you. You play a frantic man fleeing the destruction of his city by giant robots. You control him as he hurdles across buildings, leaps over gaps and obstacles, and tries to stay one step ahead of the mayhem. This, of course, would be much easier if people would stop leaving office chairs in his path. And dropping bombs. And destroying buildings beneath him. His reward? High score, baby!

Canabalt handles everything except jumping for you, and all you need to do is tap [X] or [C] at the right moment to cause our hero to vault over obstacles. The game is randomised to a certain extent, so there's no point in plotting out your course. No, you're going to have to deal with things as they come, and timing will play a big part in it. Jump too soon, and you may plummet off a building. Jump too late, and you may miss that plate glass window you were trying to smash through, Bruce Willis style. And you'll keep doing it until you miss. All you're aiming for here is a high score, represented by how far you run.

But Canabalt is so well presented that it's easy to keep coming back to it. There's so much going on around you that you'll want to stop and smell the roses, but there's that whole "rampaging robot" thing to worry about. So you keep moving, trying not to get distracted by how wonderfully detailed the environment is. Birds take indignant flight at your passage, and giant robots duke it out in the background. It's all very lovely and full of poignant subtext. And awesomeness. Canabalt is a prime example of a simple idea executed extremely well. It's not going to consume your day, but makes for an addictive addition to your coffee breaks.

Just remember, real life is not like a flash game. In the event of robot rampage, please proceed in a calm, orderly fashion to the nearest exit. Because that'll give me time to beat all of you suckers out the door first.

Play Canabalt

Thanks to Jeff for sending this one in! :)


Wow, fast, simple, and incredibly addictive. My favorite part is when

Buildings collapse just as you jump off of them.

The randomness does make it feel like it is impossible to "beat", if there even is an ending.


The atmosphere in this is amazing. The game itself is challenging and addictive, at least for me.

I do wish you could see in front of you a bit more. Once you hit breakneck speeds it's a little difficult to plan your jumps. Timing a jump to get through a window can be especially tricky at those speeds.


I discovered that if you get going too fast, you can just run into some of the little boxes and desk chairs and it'll slow you down without killing you... unless, of course, you're still tumbling and miss a jump.


Have someone have finished the game can tell me how far to finish it ??? Thank :D

semperspes September 1, 2009 7:22 AM

This is definitely bad for my eyes


Oh wow. This game was the most amazing "runner" type game I have ever played. The atmosphere was perfect. The buildings were well varied. I especially like the explosions of the ordinances and the rockets flying in the background. Even the little chairs, crates, and - Boxes on legs?- helped to slow me down when I was moving too quickly.

OmeletteBox September 1, 2009 7:50 AM

I love the things it says when u die. :)
"You ran 2141m before turning into a fine mist" Lol.


I ran 1550m. That was my farthest.


I just got to 3165m.



Yeah my main gripe is that it seems to be largely of a matter of "how long is it until you come across a window, can't react in time and die?"


I entirely agree with your gripe Crab.

I got to 3450~ before I found a window, couldn't react in time and died.

RedRevolver September 1, 2009 11:18 AM


Cool game - it becomes much easier when you get used to the controls/layout.



I think I would like it better if I had control of the running guy.

Dino Run did this better.


First: This game reminded me of Mirror's Edge, if anyone else has ever played it.
Second: Anyone else think the little running man looks like Michael Jackson during the "Black and White" video?


Almost perfectly executed little game. I love that the dev's used every choice at their disposal to heighten and focus the experience - including less frequently used choices like aspect ratio and color palette. Even the way you don't get any (or need) instructions adds to the "GO! GO! GO!" feeling. I have to give props to the music, too.

The stripped down play controls were a good thing in general - they serve to increase the frantic nature of the game, as you can't muddle through a bad jump with arrow keys, plus having to learn on the fly increases the excitement level.

However, I agree with the gripe about jumping into windows, and there were a few times where I'm not even sure the window placement made a jump feasible, regardless of your timing. Also, I found it difficult to consistently produce the shorter jump that seemed to be available if I tapped as briefly as possible.

Overall, a tense little gem. I might give Dino Run the edge overall for the runner genre - is there a runner genre? ehh, why not - but that's a much more involved, beast.


This might be counterintuitive or obvious, but I found it helpful to

intentionally run into objects in order to slow down, as long as I had enough time to recover and make the next jump.

Otherwise, it just got too fast. But seriously, how far until the end of the game?



I wouldn't be surprised if ending doesn't exist. I mean, there are no stages and game isn't becoming harder.

BTW you can also jump with space.


What is the console (press 1) for? All i can see is some sort of FPS and the version number?


really nice looking game. reminds me of dino run. unfortunately I agree with semperspes, couldn't play for long before it starting causing me some serious eye pain...


Extremely addictive. It's hard to stop playing.

lumberjacks September 1, 2009 9:47 PM

Is it just me, or does the little man resemble a 1980's Michael Jackson? Or perhaps it's just top of the mind awareness...?


Just got 5593m. I think it just keeps goin...

Mushroomfly September 2, 2009 12:02 AM

I got 5651 and saw something that looked alot like the Flying Fortress from the Movie "District 9" but that distracted me and broke my triple window break chain :P


This is one of those games where I'm really kicking myself in the rear for not getting involved with it earlier.

Though I'm fat, I love watching parkour, and that was the first word to pop in my head when I booted this gem up, parkour. The music, the constant ramping up of speed, the little rolls and the lightning fast responsiveness all give that beautiful sense of urgency.

In fact, I daresay this is more adept at creating that sense of flying foot speed than Mirror's Edge did.


Well, this game is...Fun. I love beating my friends at it sheerly because I can think faster then them :p. Er, and Kyle, have you played the PS3 version of Mirrors Edge? If you think this gives more of a sense of flying foot speed then Mirrors Edge then Damn, but you are CRAZY!



No, lol, I was talking about the flash version done by Brad Borne. Sorry about that. My latest gen consoles are PS2 and Wii, so I'm kinda out of the loop of mainstream gaming.

Oh, link if you wanna try it:


I give this one the edge only because the speed is constantly ramped up as opposed to ME where you have to build it on your own.


Great little game. Is there an actual ending? Do you ever see the robots up close?

Curly_Brace_FTW September 2, 2009 12:15 PM

I got to 7849 and there still is no ending. Very addicting.


Just got 31027m no end


While there isn't an ending, a large flying fortress appears in the background once you reach 5000ish, anyone notice any other milestones?


3461 m so far.

What a brilliant little gem. Brilliantly executed and a prime example of a great 'minimal' game. The music adds to half the fun - the tense, edgy and gritty tune realls keep me going through and makes me start again time after time every time I lose. The music and set-out really lets you feel like a character from a movie - I dunno, perhaps Sam taking the Cube up to the tower at the end of Transformers? The sound effects also really add to it - as its been said, its the great detail put into this simple game that makes it such a winner.
This is quite fun and addictive, and I'll be playing this one in my breaks for a while to come.

brokenrecord September 3, 2009 12:35 PM

3872! I wish there was an ending.


I made it at least 4,800 miles. Very hard game, but entertaining.


Almost like escape the red giant, with randomized levels and set milestones along the way. Does that make sense or am I rambling?


5728...jumped right onto a bomb. WOOO that was fun. :D

wouldn'tyouliketoknow September 4, 2009 2:02 AM

So addictive! Its like a revamped version of Jetman! (it also reminds me of District 9. When you get your score around 4,000 you can see the giant spaceship in the background... just an interesting observation)

Here are a few hints if you are interested!

Pressing on the space bar quickly, lightly or heavily makes him jump differently, making your timed jumps easier.

Boxes slow you down

@ a fast speed, you can jump over two buildings (depending on how small) and it can help to reset your timed jumping.)



I think Dino Run is an entirely different game. The point of this game is that you can't stop. It puts a much larger emphasis on timing and momentum.

Personally, I love this game. It's calming and exciting at the same time, if that's possible.


I've been playing this for a couple of hours and noticed something interesting. I wouldn't be surprised if this has already been noticed, but

you can hear a "pop" sound every time before a bomb hits. It's very faint, like what you would expect from an artillery gun firing a mile away, so it can be masked by other sound effects(like a gunship flying by or the louder portion of the music playing), but it's always there. Whenever you hear it, there will always be a bomb landing on the next rooftop.

I've also tried

slowing myself down whenever it seems like I'm going to start going fast enough to jump over a building without touching it; going this fast can make it hard to avoid bombs, jump on time or hit windows.

I hope this helps. Use these carefully and cautiously enough and you'll be able to get to the 10,000s in meter distance.


I have a 'beta' version of a Mirror's Edge Flash game, and it reminded me strongly of it. That being said, this game is addictive to no end. I do hate

When you're going (nearly?) top speed, and a window is about level with you. You can't jump, or you'll hit the wall. You can't NOT jump, because you'll fall down.

Fun, though, all in all.


got 88437m still no end....and i think there will be never be one!


Got 1600-something on my third or fourth playthrough. Fun stuff. Slightly reminded me of Dino Run, mainly because of the "you have to keep running or you die" aspect (though this one forces that aspect). Not so much Mirror's Edge 2D (the Flash game), but that's probably because the only window I jumped through thus far was the one at the beginning.


Man. Was stuck in the 5000s for a while, but just had my best run at 8233 (!) m. I find it helps to

jump as early as possible, given your speed, so that you land on the next building with time to jump over boxes/chairs/box-chairs (or deliberately run into them, if you're going too fast), bombs, etc. I would also recommend keeping your eye as far right as possible (navigating obstacles out of the corner of your eye), so you can time your jumps into windows better.

Awesome game.


Does anyone know how to break the glass? I always die there.


I notice that as you go faster, you move slightly closer towards the right of the screen, However, if you hit a box and slow down, you go back to the left. Could it be that the game is won if you reach the other side ... ?

Seems impossible, though, at those speeds ....



i was stuck forever getting 1k's and 2k's but i got lucky and got 8026m so i dont think there's an ending! If you're having trouble getting through windows my trick is:

Don't go too fast about a builind a second is good and try to jump on the beginning of the next building.

Also try not to hit any boxes till you get to about 1k m and then just try the tip above and don't worry about boxes or anything else! (except bombs) obviously! this got me that high score of 8026m. You might get unlucky and come to a really big jump and die!


>Is it just me, or does the little man resemble >a 1980's Michael Jackson? Or perhaps it's just >top of the mind awareness...?

He reminded me of Bruce Lee :0)

Seriously, what is he running to do? With such superhuman acrobatic ability, I hope he's doing more than saving his skin. His family, maybe. Or SOMETHING to drive off those death machines.


awesome game!

it reminds me of the rooftop chase scenes in the Matrix

Twilitlord October 12, 2009 3:15 PM

I just got thrown two windows in my first 1000 meters. Therefore I only got 850-ish meters. I've done in the 3000's before though. I'm way too addicted to this game!


OK so I'm obsessed with this game. My friend has it on his iphone. Anyone know if it will ever come out for blackberry? I neeeed this game on my phone pronto!


that was awesomely fun and amazingly addictive. the best part was smashing through those windows.


I'm probably REALLY late on this whole Canabalt thing.

1. Love the music, sfx etc.
2. Love the visual feel of it.

3. Wish there was a little more variety in terms of obstacles or things that can happen. Not so much the obstacle thing, but I mean the drama that goes on like the crumbling buildings. I'd love to see buildings falling over sideways or robots passing in forground. Or the occasional laser blast across the screen. Visually imparing me for a second might actually make it funner.

I do think its a bit pricey for such a simple iphone app, but it is addicted and fun.


3414 meters before falling to my death. I jumped over a box, and landed just past the edge of the building I was supposed to jump off of. :P

One of the more addicting games I've ever played.


2beat: 7490 :-)


the robots in the back remind me of the ones in Terminator whenever he has flashbacks and stuff

TheMusicGirl January 21, 2010 1:47 AM

I like it. The "Sonic" feel makes me like it more.

TheMusicGirl January 21, 2010 1:52 AM

You guys, I think i've fallen in love with the soundtrack. Anyone know where I can get it?

menschenjaeger February 9, 2010 4:26 PM

Decided to revisit Canabalt after playing RUA. I didn't like Canabalt originally, because I felt there was far too much luck involved.

Almost 6 mos later...my game has imporoved, and I see the strategy involved, but I just don't get the Canabalt love-fest. It's all the windows - they are almost PURE luck, particularly if it's a window below the level at which you're running.

I don't see the "revolutionary," "genius" etc stuff. It's a cool little game, especially for 5 days work, but it has some big flaws and is far from groundbreaking. I'd give it a 3.5, but I'll go to 4.

TheMusicGirl March 9, 2010 12:18 AM

The music is commanding. Bravo. I want it.

TheMusicGirl March 9, 2010 12:19 AM

I just realized I have posted 5 times, counting this one. I do believe it is because this simple idea has been executed so wonderfully. I will stop now.


I've found that you can control jump height, to an extent.
If you lightly tap the bar (for a quarter of a second or so), you will jump about half your normal height.
But it might not always work, so proceed with caution, little buttonmashers. (But not too much caution, or you'll not jump at all, and then get blown up, or die, or miss the meeting or whatever you're in such a hurry to do.)


I'm so terrible at this game... Really, I'm terrible at any and all games that revolve around timing. Ah well, I still adore this little game. So inexplicably addicting, it's one of the only flash (is this flash? Java? Shockwave? Whatever, you get it.)games I regularly come back to.

Anonymous May 15, 2010 10:52 PM

Atmosphere is fantastic.
I hate the game.

Wildtails July 17, 2010 5:20 PM

I can say, the game is addicting, I wouldn't say good, as they are different things. It may be good, but a person without an addictive personality will have to tell you.

Love the music, is it gotten from somewhere, or was it made for this?


what I want to know is, when the game ends and, if he is late to a meeting with his alien boss or something?

Takudenatsu February 4, 2011 6:30 AM

FINALLY!! I finished it! The end of the game is so nice. You slow down at the edge of a building after 25 000km of running. A guy in the helicopter talks to you about how the world is ending and you must follow him to a different place. You take a few steps back you have to make a massive jump to the helicopter otherwise you have to start again. I hope Canabalt 2 comes out!



yeah, you finished the game congratz !! But do you know that if you increase 1 more KM you'll see a different ending.

hint: Jump over the helicopter.


I really think that there should be a movie based on this, with a lot of superhuman running, just like in the game! :)


Sorry to be irritating, but shouldn't this have the "onebutton" tag?

[Good call. Added. Thanks. :) -Jay]


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