Canabalt was first released as a Flash-based browser game on August 31th, 2009. An iPhone version followed on October 2nd of the same year, ported by Semi Secret Software. The Android version was later released March 19th, 2012. It was created by Austin/Texas-based developer Adam Atomic using his own flixel Actionscript library in just five days at the Experimental Gameplay Project Competition that also spawned an early version of World of Goo in 2007. The Android version was ported over by Kittehface Software.
The game takes place during the chaos of a robot invasion in a partially destroyed city. No further backstory is provided. The player takes control of a human inhabitant who is trying to escape this mess.
Canabalt starts with the main character jumping over a few obstacles and out of an office window, landing softly in a parkour-esque move. After that, he just keeps running from left to right, jumping over the gaps between the rooftops. The player's control is limited to just one button: Jump. By holding the button instead of tapping it, you can jump higher. To make things even harder, the character keeps getting faster until he reaches his maximum momentum, making it harder to jump on time. On the other hand, this makes longer jumps easier to perform.
Falling to death is not the only challenge for the player. On his way, he has to deal with obstacles that slow him down, like office chairs and boxes, making long jumps impossible. Other things to deal with are screen-shaking flying robots and occasionally dropped bombs. The game features randomly generated levels, making every run a new experience.
Graphically, Canabalt is as minimalistic as its gameplay, using only a limited greyscale palette. The pixel art, the animations of the character, crashing windows, white doves flying away as the player rushes by and aliens destroying the city in the background imagery are where this game visually shines.
There are just a few sound effects, making place for the only song in the game - dannyB's " RUN".
You can play Canabalt for free on its official Website, buy the iPhone version on Apple's App Store, or the Android version can be bought from the Google Play Store and the Amazon App Store
Besides buying the iPhone port, it is possible to support the developers by donating money. After doing so, you get access to two Wallpapers and a 5-minute version of the Canabalt theme song. The Android port allows you to download the three songs, RUN!, DARING ESCAPE, and MACH RUNNER as ringtones and provides new exclusive 3D artwork.
On December 14th, 2009 an update for the game became available that changed up some of the gameplay and included global leaderboard support. A few different platforms were added and occasional rockets will crash into a building, replacing it with a smaller platform made of the wreckage. The ability to pause was also added. In addition, new background music was included, " DARING ESCAPE" by Danny Baranowsky. A third theme, " MACH RUNNER", also by Danny Baranowsky, has since been added. The music can be changed before a player starts their run.
In 2010, a "Typing Tutor" edition was released for the flash-based website version of the game, in which the player must type a prompted letter to make the runner jump.
Commodore 64 Version
On January 8th 2012 a Commodore 64 version of Canabalt was released as a downloadable ROM and a full-fledged cartridge. Due to a memory limitation of 16 kb, two versions were released: one which uses "RUN" as its soundtrack, and one which uses music from the indie game ThrustBurst. The game's packaging was designed by Adam Saltsman.