Demonstration Module: I Must Run

It's somehow so... familiar.

Oh my goodness, I’m so ill. This is the longest I’ve managed to sit upright for two days. Something is definitely wrong with with human body when it cannot sit up without then needing an hour’s sleep. But such is my dedication to the wonder of RPS that I feel compelled to at least write something before the week is over. So what more appropriate game name than I Must Run – an activity that if I were to try my legs would shatter like frail china, collapsing me to the ground in a thousand pieces. Although as you start the demo it adds the apposite tagline, “And never come back.”

It’s an outrageous Canabalt “tribute”, but it does add a few new ideas. Probably most significantly, it has an ending. The idea is that you, an escaped prisoner, must save your wife. Rather than jumping all obstacles you can punch them out of the way. You can slide your guy along the ground for whatever reason that may help. And most importantly, you can double-jump.

Although the game’s own FAQ recommends that you don’t. Boo.

And talking of that FAQ, it contains this rather splendid entry:

Q: Why IMR is so difficult? I hate this game. I hate you.
A: There are enough easier games out. Don’t blame us for lack of your gaming skills.

The PC version is described as a “demo build”, the main game actually intended for PSN, Android and iOS. Which is odd. But free.

Even watching a little man run has exhausted me. I’m going back to bed, hopefully to emerge in time for Christmas. Meanwhile, here’s a video:


  1. Colin Marc says:

    This reminds me of Marvin Spectrum, which is the hardest game ever

  2. PleasingFungus says:

    Heh, I was just linked to this a few minutes ago. Glad to see I’m not the only one who enjoyed that particular FAQ.

    Oh, and don’t forget: select platform… AND BUY!

  3. Navagon says:

    Get well soon, John Walker of Pukesville.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Aw, and he’s such a poor healer, too! Get well soon!

  4. Tei says:

    I can see Steve Jobs as Tina Turner in the movie “Max Beyond Thunderdome” asking very talented game devs fight for the spotlight in the thunderdome, to sell games for 1.99 € what looks like Flash Game, but really are much, much more polished… I herd u liek iOS games.

  5. drygear says:

    When I got to, “And most importantly, you can double-jump.” I thought “this must be written by John” and sure enough it was.

  6. Simon says:

    Honestly surprised that nobody’s mentioned Canabalt yet. Nice presentation, though.

    • Phydaux says:

      John mentioned Canabalt in the second paragraph of his article.

  7. Al3xand3r says:

    I wish more indie developers tried to be at least somewhat creative instead of copy the latest online sensation. This is not a tribute, it’s a monetised copy cat, like those Death Worm clones. Retro City Rampage is a tribute. See the difference? No? Then you shouldn’t be designing video games.

  8. Thants says:

    “So what more appropriate game name than I Must Run – an activity that if I were to try my legs would shatter like frail china, collapsing me to the ground in a thousand pieces.”

    Reminds me of this: link to

  9. Gunrun says:

    You know, this looks a bit like a Lo-Fi version of the iOS version of Mirrors Edge. Anyone else think so?

  10. MasterBoo says:

    Hmm this is a total rip-off of Cananblat… Looks exactly the same in the way it plays.

  11. noom says:

    I don’t know why anybody even bothers making this style of game anymore. Robot Unicorn Attack already perfected it :D

  12. Srekel says:

    Looks like a game I made earlier this year, but with better graphics. Except my animations are fucking awesome. link to

    Well, awesome considering I made them myself with no prior animation experience.

  13. Eclipse says:

    So wait… there’s a PC demo but you can’t buy it for PC? Wow, it’s so stupid I can’t believe it’s real

  14. Matzerath says:

    Um yes, that’s quite the Canabalt … tribute.

  15. Isometric says:

    How can they get away with this?!?!!?? So awful. Man, Im also very sick.

  16. Devenger says:

    It seems to lack the visual elegance of Canabalt, and its soundtrack, or at least what I have heard of it, does not compare to the Canabalt soundtrack which I actually bought it was so good. The gameplay showcased in the demo also seems inferior (considerably less interesting). I would have thought that such a ‘tribute’ would at least try and bring something new to the table that makes the game more enjoyable, or even just different in a good way. As noom observes above, Robot Unicorn Attack did such a good job at adding to the horizontal-unstoppable-run concept, this just seems pointless. Perhaps the levels beyond the demo are different (giving a purpose to that slide key would add something I suppose), but I doubt there’s enough there to redeem the game.

  17. noobnob says:

    From the demo, it lacked the vertical distance between platforms that Canabalt had, so the jumps between platforms aren’t exactly exciting. You don’t speed up as fast as the well-dressed lad in Canabalt as you avoid hitting the obstacles, so the game is considerably slower in this regard. Platforming controls aren’t precise, so forget short-hopping over obstacles: you have to punch them out of your way instead.

    Canabalt’s basic principle was “platforming with one button”. You use more than one in this game, yet the platforming just doesn’t feel right. Would still give the full version a shot, though.

  18. DerShcraa says:

    How is this a PC game?

  19. Malawi Frontier Guard says:

    That’s the worst player sprite in the world. It’s exactly like the one in Canabalt, but they went the extra mile and used cheap prerendered 3D for the animation to make it look even less interesting.

  20. ascagnel says:

    There’s something elegant about the simplicity of Canabalt, and I think the added features (sliding, punching namely) detract from it rather than add. Also, I want to see how the cell phone versions handle. Canabalt was great because there was only one input (tap to jump), so it worked perfectly on a touchscreen phone. Drawn-on buttons never work well on a phone, so I’m curious to see what they do.

  21. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    It is interesting to compare this game to Canabalt, in my opinion, not for the similarities, but for the differences between the two games. And not only is Canabalt pretty good, the way it’s presented and offered by Adam add to it.. in a way which makes me think the people behind I Must Run should be feeling rather embarrassed for this.