Canabalt Review

The Steam version includes a 3D-style version of the game as well as the traditional, low-res 2D version.

  • Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
  • Developer: Finji/Kittehface Software
  • Publisher: Finji
  • Release Date: 1 May 2015
  • Time played: 1 hour

I'm pretty sure this happens to be another of those games I received as a gift from the always generous Mix-Master, so thanks again!

Why was I interested in this game? Well I've heard quite a lot about it, like how it was responsible for popularising the "endless runner genre", although I think I originally heard about it years ago from my brother (since I do recall watching him play the game on his smartphone). You see, the original game came out ages ago, back in 2009 as a web-based Flash game and was eventually ported onto iOS, Android and a few other platforms. It's only in 2015 when it was finally released as a game available on Steam and not long after, I received my free copy :).

What I like:

One button gameplay

You just click the mouse button in order to have your character jump - and that's it. So it's really easy to master the controls, but being good at the game itself is another story.

The goal of the game is to run as far as possible before dying. While this objective doesn't sound too difficult there are quite a few obstacles in your way such as collapsing buildings, falling debris and the simple fact that your character keeps building momentum (provided he or she doesn't collide with any boxes and furniture strewn around the place). In order to survive as long as possible timing is everything as well as managing your speed.

Choice music

The game doesn't have many tracks but they're all catchy and fit the game perfectly. The composer, Danny Baranowsky, is quite an accomplished video game music composer, having composed soundtracks for Crypt of the Necrodancer, Desktop Dungeons, Super Meat Boy! and The Binding of Isaac.


The game is surprisingly addictive, especially with Steam leaderboards as you'll want to keep playing to either beat your friends or all of Steam's Canabalt players overall. There's also Steam trading cards and achievements to collect too, so it should keep you going for a while.

Different game modes

The game also has 8 game modes which are variations of the standard game. For example, in the Purity game mode, there are no obstacles at all (which means your runner can build momentum in less time) whereas in the Box Tripper game mode, you'll be wanting to avoid as many boxes as possible or else you'll be running too slow. My favourite of the game modes is probably Leap of Faith where the buildings are invisible and you have to use sitting pigeons (which fly away as soon as you land on the roof) to gauge when to jump.

The game also has a local co-op two-player mode so if you have a mate visiting you can both play the game together.

Quick games

It only takes a matter of seconds (or minutes, if you've got the skillz) to finish one run. That means it's the perfect game to play while you're waiting for something else to finish or when you only have a few minutes to spare. Probably a good reason why it was so successful as a mobile game (that and the fact you only need one "button" to control the game).

What I dislike:

There really isn't much to the game

It's just jumping over obstacles for as long as possible. Sure, there are different game modes but in the end it's just variations of the standard game.

It's free

Not really a dislike but those of you who are stingy, er I mean frugal, you can play the game for free here.

Score – 7/10 (Good Fun)

Canabalt is a very simple game where the only objective is to run for as long as possible, avoiding obstacles that will cause your demise. However, thanks to things like the Steam leaderboards, the game can become quite addictive as you try your best at beating your friends. Yes, you can play the original game for free but for only a few bucks you can experience the definitive edition of the game and it's a perfect time waster when you only have a few minutes to spare.

Is the game worth $2.99 USD?: Yes. It's true you can get this game for free, but it provides numerous hours of fun especially if you're the competitive sort wanting to beat friends and the gaming public alike via the leaderboards.

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[ LINK: Official Canabalt Website ]