Typically, in order for a mobile game to be considered truly worth it, is for the game to be addictive, have decent graphics and a good soundtrack. Most gamers ask even less (especially since most gamers in this category fall in line with "casual players"), willing to sacrifice a good soundtrack or decent graphics for dead simple, addictive gameplay. However, every once in a while, there is a game that manages to nail simple and addictive gameplay with still-stunning graphics and a killer soundtrack. The best example of this available to Apple's iOS platform as of now is most certainly Canabalt- a game about survival. You run. Dodge. Jump. Pray that you make it. It's fast. Simple. Addictive. It's every casual gamer's wet dream come to life. But is it worth the five dollar asking price? Read on past the break to find out.
Trying to survive has simply never been so much fun. In Canabalt, you play as a name-less man making a daring escape from a dilapidated office building, only to have to run and jump endlessly to escape his imminent death. Apparently, the un-named hero of the game is escaping from some sort of apocalypse in which metallic debris is falling from the sky and just about every building is crumbling or about to fall apart. You must dodge crates, debris and somehow make it from building to building, even willing to crash into a window of one (which is extremely frustrating).
As mentioned before, this game never ends. It's all about making it the farthest without dying and being a classy snob in your friends faces as a result. You die. A lot. There is no escaping death in this game, and instead of making you want to throw your iPhone, iPod touch or (gasp!) iPad at a wall, it actually pushes you to try it again, to beat your previous accomplishment until either you MUST put the device down or you yourself die. It's that addictive. No, seriously.
The graphics in this game reminds me of something that should have and could have been on the Nintendo Entertainment System. There is no color at all in this game- which definitely contributes to the mood and instinctive need to be spontaneous instead of distracted while jumping around like a maniac. Everything in this game is fast and moving. From the player, to the buildings, the debris and the background. This is what someone would think of when watching a Mission Impossible film.
Although some spoiled players may find this title to be too low quality for their tastes, one must understand the true artform that is the 8-bit game. There is simply nothing more nostalgic or fun to play, at least, for my own tastes. However, this game certainly looks gorgeous on all iOS devices (yes, even the iPad!)
One cannot mention this game without mentioning the soundtrack. It's upbeat, fast, dark and beautifully melodic. And with headphones on (as will be recommended in one of the starting screens for the title), this game throws you in and causes you to be even more involved with the action.
For a casual title on a mobile device, Canabalt has a lot going for it. The collectivity of the gameplay, the graphics and music really make for a brilliant title for iOS. And although there are plenty of fun titles on the platform, there really isn't much that beats this game. Not by a longshot. So do yourself a huge favor. Go to the app store, do a search for Canabalt and buy it. It'll pay for itself in the dozens of hours you WILL spend playing it.
GAMESCORE: 10/10 (Perfect)