You Can’t Parkour Here: Canabalt

By Kieron Gillen on September 1st, 2009 at 1:00 pm.

I was going to do a RUN, forrest, RUN gag, but I think we've already done that one.

Late last night, Comrade Ariana forwarded me the webgame joy of Canabalt at me. It’s a one-button velocity-based randomly-generating oddly-atmospheric parkour webgame and is – as another friend puts it – probably what Mirror’s Edge should have been like. I got 2900-odd last night, but my skills seems to have atrophied overnight. I also recommend turning down the sound to the bare minimum (“-” reduces it) and play it to the sound of Music Go Music’s Warm In the Shadows (Youtube link or Spotify one), as it’s leisurely propulsiveness – and sheer length – seemed to compliment the game elegantly. No, really.

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83 Comments »

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  1. Ian says:

    1256 is my best so far. Good fun, that.

  2. 678 says:

    Does it have an ending ?

  3. Mike says:

    Look, screw you guys and your Mirror’s Edge digs.

  4. k0ster says:

    2923 ^^
    awesome music ;]

  5. Mike says:

    Alright, so that’s quite good. I like the fact it’s randomised too.

  6. ChaosSmurf says:

    Got like 3k last night, will play again. Super awesome, personally I love the music.

  7. sset says:

    Nice game. I like that the guy is wearing a tuxedo for whatever reason.

  8. gulag says:

    Cheers KG! Stumbled over this yesterday, but couldn’t remember what it was called when I got home from work. Still trying to master the tricky roof-top to window jumps. 1947 so far.

  9. Toby says:

    Just got 4056, but got the feeling it was definitely an easier course than several previous ones… nature of the procedural generation eh.

    Its nice; I like the robot things (?) stomping around in the background.

  10. Dead Fish says:

    I like it. A lot of times my score depends on when the first window is going to appear, though, which happened shortly after 4100 last time.

  11. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Cooool. 2725, so far. Must try again.

  12. JB says:

    Just did 3054 on my third run, I think my eyeballs might be bleeding now though. Good work Toby & Dead Fish, I tip my hat to you sirs.

  13. Sp4rkR4t says:

    That is freaking superb, 2604 is my best so far.

  14. Naurgul says:

    Great game. Good visuals, good music. Good gameplay too, really give a sense of speed. There are, however two problems with it: 1 – Sometimes the algorithm makes a jump impossibly hard and 2 – I totally suck at this game. >.>

  15. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    5000! Whoo.

  16. Schmung says:

    The screen shake is a bit much (on my terribad work monitor at any rate) but it’s jolly fun. 27ish is about my best. It’s the window jumps that tend to do me in – I always end up splatting into the wall just above them.

  17. El Stevo says:

    After a string of sub-1000 scores I managed to run 3565m.

  18. skizelo says:

    Problem with the procedural generation is that it occasionally throws impossible combos at you. And often those bleeding office windows. Things are friggin’ impossible. Good thing it’s so easy to restart.
    Just got to 4K, before falling to my first window.

  19. Tweedo says:

    i havent even tried the game yet but thats some spooky music, strangely moorish though.

  20. Helm says:

    Adam Atomic makes great small games like this, check out his other stuff too. I liked this one in particular too, very good visuals, music, and the gameplay although simple in concept takes some getting used to to get good. I did 3 kilometers or so.

  21. Persus-9 says:

    The ingame music is ok but I like Kieron’s alternative sound track better.

    3784 is my best so far. It seems rather odd that running smack into the side of the air conditioning units and office furnature rather than jumping over makes the game a lot easier. That’s one mechanic I won’t be trying out in real life.

  22. Orange Required says:

    Okay:

    1) Learning to control your speed through the crates and so on is invaluable. The jumps do mostly adjust to your speed off-screen but hitting two obstacles in quick succession will probably leave you jumping into a wall.

    2) I’ve not reached an end yet, but there is an ominous… new element in the background after you reach about 5000. I do wonder if there are some more interesting bits further on. I’ve only gotten to 7000 so far.

    3) Wowser is this game atmospheric. An indie 2d post-apocalyptic freerunning platformer? Delightful!

  23. Orange Required says:

    Oh, and:

    4) Don’t always jump into windows. There are some you can just run off the edge of a building and down into them. Jumping at these ones will kill you every time.

  24. army of none says:

    This game is actually really amazing for a single-button-jumper! The whole idea and atmosphere is superb! :D Quite a pleasant surprise!

  25. castle says:

    speaking of appropriate music, how bout the chromatics’ cover of “running up that hill”

  26. Tom says:

    He’s a fast runner though, doing 100 meters in about 5 seconds

  27. Orange Required says:

    Tom: Making a guy running a kilometre in about 30 seconds look even vaguely believable is probably this game’s biggest achievement.

  28. Buemba says:

    Wow, amazing little time waster. Would be cool to have a PSP or iPhone version to take with me.

  29. Xercies says:

    This kind of reminds me of The matrix really, but those damn windows are hard. Always get spllatered in the wall. And the precedral generation can either make it easy or bloody difficult.

    Good game though quite addicting.

  30. Zyrxil says:

    The problem with the game is that you -have- to run into boxes occasionally to slow yourself down or else it just becomes impossible. Having to “fail” to win is just bad design.

  31. FernandoDANTE says:

    I find it nauseating.

  32. Lucas says:

    Screen shaking is very abusive to players and is probably one of the most badly overused effects for this reason.

  33. Orange Required says:

    Zyrxil: Why is it a “fail”? It’s a way of controlling your speed that requires strategy, having to pick and choose when to avoid the obstacles and when to actively hunt for them. I’m pretty sure it was a deliberate design decision.

    I think you’re just conditioned by other games to think of the obstacles as a bad thing to be avoided.

  34. Orange Required says:

    Oh, and windows get easier with time. You learn when to leap and when to just do a tiny hop. And when to just run straight off the edge.

  35. Smee says:

    Obstacles that slam down without warning into your path while you’re moving at light speed are: cheap.

  36. PleasingFungus says:

    1851. Man, that’s brilliant. I can’t stop!

  37. Taillefer says:

    I got around 4500 to the sound of “Jumping Someone Else’s Train”, which made me think that jumping down onto a moving train which is travelling in the opposite direction to you would make a nice little sequence.

  38. Kitt Basch says:

    I managed 1200m before my brain started to force its way out of my skull through my eye balls.

  39. Mythar says:

    The Only problem I have with this game are the low hanging rooms. it is almost impossible to hit jump early enough to not hit the wall above it.

  40. Mythar says:

    The Only problem I have with this game are the low hanging rooms. it is almost impossible to hit jump early enough to not hit the wall above it.

    Also about 2.3k

  41. Orange Required says:

    Smee: Slow down! You move too fast.

    You’ve got to make the moment last.

  42. Adventurous Putty says:

    Mirror’s Edge was excellent and I hate you.

  43. Tyler says:

    For some reason I can only ever jump once in this game.

  44. Rakysh says:

    Love this. So many questions inherent. Where is he running to? Maybe the countryside, away from his boring job and the oppressive city? (I don’t know why, I just assume the building you start in is his office.) Just away from the giant robots which keep throwing bombs at him? Why is he wearing a tux?

  45. Pantsman says:

    Mirror’s Edge was almost exactly what it ought to have been.

    Also, this is splendid.

  46. Orange Required says:

    Okay, yeah, the UFO appears at about 3,200 meters, and I can get it about half-way across the background before I quite reliably fuck up.

    There better be something beyond that, by gum.

  47. Jon says:

    This is great. Can’t help but think that Mirror’s Edge would have struggled a little as a one-button minigame, though,

  48. Adam Atomic says:

    Obviously I’m a little biased toward Danny’s original track for the game, but Warm in the Shadows is a ridiculously good alternate track! Nice call Kieron :D

  49. Pags says:

    Like some mad, beautiful amalgamation of Spelunky and Hunted Forever. For whatever reason, I do better at it listening to forgotten ’90s emo gems Meadowlark than anything more ambient. Hm.

  50. Kieron Gillen says:

    Adam: Danny’s track is splendid. It was merely an odd moment of Midnight hour synchronicity I thought I’d mention. :)

    KG