180061_5I got a first look at Semi Secret Software's Canabalt [App Store] back at GDC Austin, received a preview build a few days later, and since then the game has soaked up an extraordinary amount of my free time.

Canabalt has the same appeal to it as other extremely simple games for the iPhone like Doodle Jump [99¢] or the various NimbleBit games such as Scoops [$1.99]. The premise is simple-- You play as a guy who is running across roof tops attempting to escape from some kind of alien invasion that is constantly taking place in the background scenery.

Along the way you will need to hop over boxes, break through windows, jump from crumbling buildings, and avoid other obstacles. The only control you have in the game is over your character's jumping. Tapping anywhere on screen jumps, and the longer you press the screen the higher you jump. What sounds like a very simple game quickly turns in to a fast paced reaction game that will have you trying over and over again to make it just a little farther.


Canabalt for the iPhone is a port of the extremely popular flash game of the same name. Absolutely everything has been preserved in the transition, and Canabalt is a perfect for a mobile gaming device. It loads quickly, and the games (unless you're really good) rarely last any more than a couple minutes. Canabalt badly needs an online leaderboard system, which according to the developer is coming in the first update.

There is no lite available, but Canabalt (in its complete form) is playable online for free at Canabalt.com, and we've also embedded the full game here.

Click below to play the full flash game. Click your mouse button to jump.


I highly encourage you to give it a try, I've probably sunk more combined hours in to Doodle Jump than any other game on my iPhone, and Canabalt has the exact same appeal. The pixel art graphics are great, the soundtrack is phenomenal, and short of the lack of an online leaderboard it's hard to find anything not to like about the game.

App Store Link: Canabalt, $2.99

TouchArcade Rating

  • monkeys37

    The flash version is fun as hell.

  • NotReally

    This game is not worth $3. You just jump all the time and it's impossible to see far enough to avoid some crashes. It wouldn't even recommend it for $1.

    • arn

      and yet I'm uncontrollably drawn to it again and again. 🙂


    • http://www.tbenjaminlarsen.com T. Benjamin Larsen

      Man, how did you ever wind up with an iPhone? You seem to be one of those persons who only read spec-sheets and not care about the actual experience of using stuff.

      This game is a BRILLIANT piece of work, showing how honing and perfecting one single mechanic can make a game that demonstrates playability in its purest form.

      • tsharpfilm

        Yeah, it's brilliant, but it's still over priced. Canabalt is $2.99. Jet Car Stunts is $1.99. Nuff said...

  • Nic

    The web game is just incredible (my current record is > 11000km). Been refreshing all day but it's not showing up in the Singapore store 🙁


    • Anonymous

      11,000 km? The game measures your progress by meters. Are you sure it isn't 11,000 m or 11 km? 😉

    • Michael

      Dang. Mine is only 4400...

      • Nic

        Sorry - Ms not KMs 😉

        Still not out in the Singapore store....

  • http://www.kotodama.net/blog Zak


    I NEVER would have bought it without first playing the flash version here, but there's something about the music and the graphics that just grabs you. Instant buy.

    (I love how the levels are randomized, in particular, so repetition doesn't lead to boredom.)

  • Pancakes

    I love this game. And if you don't think it's worth $3 then you are spoiled.

    • Jaime

      yeah I'm definitely spoiled

    • tsharpfilm

      I'm not spoiled. I just don't like being nickled and dimed. There's no reason why this game should cost more than $0.99 when you can get a game like Jet Stunt Cars or Meteor Blitz for $1.99.

  • JD

    OS 3.1 or later only.
    Ew ew and ew. I'm not upgrading from 3.0 just for this.
    Also, asking 3$ for a free flash game is a bit cheeky.

    • JD

      Loved the flash game btw, so I'm really bummed out by the OS 3.1 thing.

      • http://jespersunivers.dk/ Plast2

        You're definitely not the only one...

      • Chad

        Yep. There's no point for a game this simple to require 3.1. It's far too early to be shoving it down people's throats.

    • Micro1

      Good luck playing the free flash game on your iphone.

      Oh, right, you can't. Like the many other free flash games that sell in the store.

      Don't buy it if you don't want to, but $3 for this isn't that bad, and besides we all know it'll be 99 cents in three weeks anyway if you wait.

  • Chad

    You don't charge more than 99c for games that have this little depth. Mr. Aaah! has it right.

  • JinglesO'Flaherty

    That price is absolutely crazy for a game with no online highscores which is competing against the highly-polished Run at 99c. You'd be a bit mad to buy it now, because that price IS going to come down.

    • http://www.tbenjaminlarsen.com T. Benjamin Larsen

      Yes spending 3 BUCKS to have some fun is the definition of insanity. Er...

  • http://oszczedzanie.net Paweł Kata

    Not available in Polisg AppStore 🙁 Boooooo 🙁

  • dave

    The game is cool and all, but the price is definitely not right. There doesn't seem to be any more content than what is provided in the flash version.

  • http://www.kotodama.net/blog Zak

    What don't people like about 3.1?

    • http://oszczedzanie.net Paweł Kata

      i also don't understand those complaints. if it's about battery, then my 3gs 3.1 works like a charm.

    • futuresplash

      Usually, those are people who have jailbroken phones...

      • http://www.kotodama.net/blog Zak

        Ahh, I see. Developers should put in time supporting old OSs specifically for people who break their EULAs. It all makes sense now.

        (Not that I see anything wrong with jailbraking, just that it's odd to jailbreak and then complain about not being supported...)

      • Chad

        Developers should be concerned about the # of potential customers, not Apple's pointless and overbearing EULA. Did you know that those that break it accomplish standard technology like apps running in the background? They also had copy and paste since almost the beginning. As long as the app will be approved, the developer should be concerned with how many people they can support to buy the product. Apple isn't buying the software...customers are. They are who matters. It is ALWAYS worse to force an update, since you don't go backwards in versions (not easily anyway) you are guarenteed to get less people than if you support earlier versions. We're not talking about 1.0 support here.

        Unless there's something oh so critical in 3.1 that necessitates this forcing it on people, it would always be smarter to let 3.0ers download it. No matter what your opinion is on those who don't want to upgrade.

      • http://www.tbenjaminlarsen.com T. Benjamin Larsen

        Sorry Chad. While I agree that developing soley for 3.1 if you don't use any 3.1 specific API's is pointless I find it hard to agree that developers should cater for people using what is essentially hacked hardware. You mention opening the possibility to run apps in the background: Memory issues is the number one reason for apps crashing on the iPhone + this sucks life out of people's batteries AND makes each single app running slower.

        Do you seriously think developers should avoid using the latest official technology because people hacking their phones can't use it!? That's like punishing the people actually honoring the EULA and keeping the whole platform from improving...

      • spiffyone


        You iPhone users are once again forgetting about iPod touch users. The upgraded OS for touch users is not free, so quite a few do not make the plunge to OS 3.1.

        And while there's less iPod touch owners than iPhone owners out there, analysts have indicated that a higher percentage of touch owners buy games, and more of them, than iPhone owners. So while on a developer wishing to use the best tech level going 3.1 only seems a good idea, for those that wish to sell their games to the widest possible audience not making it OS 2.x compatible leaves out quite a number of iPod touch users, and, again, they're the ones most likely to buy games.

        I'm not one of them, of course. I paid the $5 to upgrade to 3.1, for more pages, spotlight, and landscape keyboard alone 😉

    • http://Www.noreagle.com T. Benjamin Larsen

      Sorry spiffyone 3.1 IS free it was the 3.0 that cost money. For developers there are SO many improvements and possibilities. I don't know the details behind this project but the generalities stand.

      • Joel

        3.1 is not free for iPod Touch users.

      • jackofhearts

        Wait, were the jailbreakers going on about having cut and paste from the beginning?? Hahahhahahah. JB cut and paste options were completely laughable. Absolutely useless. JBing has a few things going for it (and even more against), but cut and paste is not one of them.
        Saying that JBers had cut and paste from the beginning means you are either intentionally trying to mislead people, by omitting to mention how completely useless those cut and paste programs were, or you are so obsessed with JBing that you can't tell the difference between 3rd party cut and paste CRAP and the real thing.

  • http://www.nothowitlooks.com Brett Archibald

    Tell me there's an option to turn off that "music" and keep the sound-fx, and I'll buy it...

    • thidjuz

      There is, just open the game while leaving your music on. No option to turn off the sfx though.

  • http://adrian-clement.com Adrian

    Played the flash game and loved it and it works and plays like a charm on my iPhone 3GS. Overpriced? No way, it's fantastic.

  • popejohn

    instant buy IF it was a dollar!

  • beetle004

    3 $ is too high a price for a free flash game.

  • Vicenterch

    Cmon Semisecret! No love for my country? Canabalt is not available in Chile... Booooo! -_- .

  • KllrDave

    I agree with the price comments. $.99 seems like an appropriate price for a port of a free flash game, especially when I can use the same $.99 to buy something like Alive4ever (a game that could easily warrant a $2.99 price IMO.)

  • differenz

    GREAT GAME! I just played the flash version for over 30minutes! man I want this on my iPhone.. but sadly, I can't seem to find it in my appstore! 🙁

  • Tilmann Freienstein

    Great crap. I hate games that are based on hazard and I detest paying for something you get for free on other platforms.

    • user7

      Then don't play.

  • Syferus

    While it's undoubtedly interesting, and there's the argument of 99 cent games retarding the growth of fuller and more ambitious experiences on the iPhone, when a game's contemporaries are .99 cent endevours and it itself is based on a flash game, it comes across as a little rich to try and charge 2.99 for it.

    These are exactly the types of games that are natural .99 and 1.99 productions - simple one hit mechanics, mini-games essentially.

    I'll just play the flash version until the envitable price reduction like most of the other whingers.

    • Syferus

      On reflection and playing the flash version I feel I underplayed the quality of the game - this is undoubtedly a fantastic mixture of stylized pixel art and distinctive music. If anything, it's the existence of the flash version that perversely prangs the frugal among us; why should we pay 'so much' for an experience we can get for free?

      I'll be buying this game without a shadow of a doubt - I just am completely undecided on when that will be.

  • http://www.buzzabit.com/aaron aaronsullivan

    I was a bit surprised at the $3 price, BUT what else can you get for $3 that is this cool or fun and addictive. There is sort of a perfect storm here of theme and primal gameplay and it's worth the price to me. (If you're that worried about the cash, eat a pb&j for lunch today.)

    My record so far 4898 and it gets to be quite a rush.

    As far as comments about not being able to see far enough ahead... you DO have more control than you might at first think (even though you can only jump).

    I personally enjoy the music, but I agree the dev should have an option to mute the music and even let your own music play through... it could be fun to try out your own soundtracks. Plus, it IS a repetitive game after all.

    • Ink Asylum

      Another simple time-killer game that overrides your iPod music? Gah! That KILLS the playability of a game for me. Games like this are perfect for subway rides but I don't want to have to interrupt the podcast/music I'm listening to just to play. When I'm listening to something already and I scroll through my games I'm about ten times more likely to pick one that won't override my music.

      Apple needs to make it a required option for a game to have a music playthrough option.

      • Robert M.

        I agree with this!!

    • JinglesO'Flaherty

      "I was a bit surprised at the $3 price, BUT what else can you get for $3 that is this cool or fun and addictive."

      Three other equally good iPod games, which is the point...

  • http://www.buzzabit.com/aaron aaronsullivan

    I will say this about the price, though. If it were me, I think I would have gone for $2 just because of the inevitable backlash from a game that looks on the surface like it might be something else. If someone is under the impression that this is a more traditional platformer, they may not appreciate the genius of its simplicity. 😉

  • monster

    3USD is too rich for my blood, would get it if the price came down though, or if the dev was offering to support it in the future with additional content (but since it's a port that doesn't seem likely)

  • Fuze911

    I dont think the 3USD price tag is going to stop this game from becoming one of the most popular. Its easy, its quick, its fun, it looks good, and it takes a long long time for this to get boring. That doesn't necessarily change the fact that its 2 bucks to expensive, just stating that its a great game for which once you actually spend the money, you wont look back with regret.

    • Chad

      It will. There are lots of quick, easy, good looking, fun games that take a long time to get boring that cost 99c. This developer made a mistake and is banking way to heavily on the 15-min of fame the flash game got.

  • intake66

    the game is sooo awesome but I can not justify 2.99

  • http://www.tbenjaminlarsen.com T. Benjamin Larsen

    Why is Alyssa Milano apparently posting under a gazillion different names on this topic? 😉

  • Mark

    yes it slightly more expensive than i thought..SO WHAT... i bought it, im loving it and im happy.. to all the people that are complaining about the price.. GET REAL.. price should be calculated based on enjoyment and longevity, not whether the game is ported from flash or not or how many options it has. if i pay $3 for something that i will get a weeks worth of FUN then im happy. i would hate to go shopping with you ppl, i mean how do u buy things like jeans and shoes??? they are expensive items to buy and you turn your nose up at $3... go play with the flash version if you're such a cheapskate

    • Jase

      Calm the f*** down.

  • KwikPwn

    I'm starting to think escape is not possible, and that the cake is a lie!!!

  • user7

    Most intuitive control scheme on the iphone yet. ;>)
    Super Awesome game!

    • Jase

      Hey dev!

  • Brian

    After getting addicted to the flash version, I happily paid $3 for the iPhone version. Why? BECAUSE IT'S WORTH $3 of fun. Also, it supports the developers to make the game even better. ^_^

  • http://www.yourpersonalrobot.com your personal robot

    This game is a blast!!!
    Worth every cent!
    If it's too much for you, simply stay away
    and miss some simple but GREAT fun!

  • Anonymous

    I prefer :Shift: at $0.99. There's suppose to be another :Shift:-like game coming out, but in color. Can't recall the name...

  • Corey

    Reply with a "Yes" if you think this game should be .99cents
    Reply with a "No" if you think this game stay at 2.99cents

    • Syferus

      You know, I'm sure alot of people will say ''please don't lower the price''.

      Or maaaaybe they won't. Y'know.

  • http://www.badbumble.com BadBumble

    Personally, good on ‘em. If they can sell the game for $3, do it and if you don’t want to buy the game for that price, then no one is forcing you. I’m sure after a few weeks the price will drop and if you want it then, then get it, but all this moaning about the price is pointless and from a business point of view, I think it makes good sense. I know that the flash version is free, but this isn’t the flash version and when you develop for the iPhone / iPod you do have to lay out money to do it, so why not make sure you can make your money back. It’s a good fun game and you would be amazed at the amount of work that is needed even for a simple game like this.
    As for the game itself, it actually looks a lot better to me when you see it running on the iPhone’s tiny screen and it feels just as good as the flash version. The only think that I would like is an option to turn the music off so I can hear the sf/x.
    It’s definitely a game I’ll keep play for a while yet and is worth the asking price.
    Think of it this way, if you went to the cinema, you would pay $10-$15 for a 2-3 hour movie. Your going to get a lot longer enjoyment out of this game.

  • spiffyone

    There seems to be a market for this game @ the $2.99 price point, so why shouldn't the devs sell it at that price?

    The rest of us who want it but at lower prices can be had later on. Let the devs get the best possible returns on their dev investment, I say. If that means some of us have to wait for a future price drop, whenever it might be, so be it. Let those willing to pay the current price enjoy the game, and let the dev enjoy getting better revenue out of it due to that fact alone.

    Personally, if it had added content over the flash version, I'd snatch it up. Right now I'll wait and see, especially since I have both Run! and Gingerbread Run on my iPod touch, and those games are similar.

  • Eric

    To the folks saying it isn't worth $3 - things are worth what people will pay. This comment thread is making it pretty clear that a lot of people are willing to pay $3 for Canabalt on their iPhone. You might think those people are idiots, and that's fine, but by definition, if people will pay $3 then it's worth $3, just maybe not to you. Either way, the price isn't a bad move if they can sell it - why wouldn't they want to make the extra money? I'm sure it'll come down in the near future and then they'll make another round of sales at $2 or $1.

    For me, ordinarily I would hold off, but I've put so much time into the webgame at this point that I feel like some of my $3 is rewarding Adam for that version, and I'm a-okay with that. The iPhone version is polished, fun, and just as addictive as the web one.

  • http://www.badbumble.com BadBumble

    Just on a side note. I've found that if you leave the game and your iPhone turns itself off, when you go back to the game, you don't get the music playing (just the sf/x), which is the way I like it to be honest.

  • Guibs

    Seriously, 3$? In all faireness, with the number of great games at .99$ that do more than this, I would have a hard time justifying it to someone else. I love the flash game and for 0.99$, I was ready to buy it on my ipod touch, but 3$, seriously, for this game?

    • Eric

      Give it a week or two and it'll drop in price. Right now he's just getting a loyalty bonus from folks like me who have already played the hell out of his webgame and are willing to reward him for that as well as pay for the iPhone version. And since several of us are, why shouldn't he?

      Once that number tapers off, I'm sure he'll bring the price down.

  • 2kitties1cup

    looks great, flash game seems great BUT...

    The price is way too high. The flash game is free, why would I pay $3 for such a simple game when the flash game is free?

    I appreciate the quality of the idea and execution but its not worth $3. Perhaps if there were more content, more modes, more gameplay.... but... thats not the case.

  • larme

    No love for hong kong store?

  • sdmg

    why don't ya play the free flash version when its so expensive?
    no reason to complain...

    Canabalt rocks!

  • BushDoctor

    i can't believe that you guys are worry on the 3 dollars price tag! Try to make a calculations how much other things you can buy for this few bucks which gives you THE SAME AMOUNT OF FUN!?!? (except other iPone games) Have you ever tried to develop a game ? Just becouse there are some games for this .99 cents it not means that all the other developer must to sell their games for the same super low end pricetag. For some developers its simple too low and lost some money. For you guys, i think its simple the SAME to pay 2 or 3 usd, but for him maybe the only choice to make another game.

  • Peter

    The game is awesome and worth the 2.99. I want more games like this so I support the dev ..........people are out of control with the whole .99 thing ........when you look at all the money most of us spend everyday, it's nothing. I say leave the price alone and let the cheapskates suffer !!! They want it but are just being super cheap 🙂

  • moocow

    This game oozes style. Pure gaming goodness.

  • Anonymous

    i love this game- high score is 12,000.

  • Dan

    Have to agree that $3 is far too much for this game. I appreciate that enjoyment and value for money are subjective but when you look at what else you can buy for the same price it's far too steep.

    For just under the price of this one game you can buy Star Defense, Alive 4 Ever & Flight Control. Hell just recently you could buy Monkey Island for the same price!

    To me it's a 59p/$1 app and I thinki its current pricing is setting a dangerous precedent. What I love about the app store is that it's easy to just splurge and buy various and sundry games/apps as a job lot when they're at that price, you're not losing much if they're not particularly great. Once you get up to the $3 mark I always have a quick look at the reviews for it - and I mean 'proper' reviews not the ones on the store itself from Jeb in Cleveland - and that kind of negates the point of those titles for me.

    My ipod touch is full of little games and apps that cost 59p purely because they were just 59p, if they'd cost me £1.50/£2 then I wouldn't have half as many as I do.

    It's not about being a cheapskate, hell I've got the full price version of Real Racing which I love, but for the most part the iphone is a budget gaming system. $3 for a quick and easy port of a flash game that didn't take particularly long to make is too pricey for people who have grown accustomed to games of similar depth being available for a fifth of that price.

  • ndeplume

    I'm sorry folks, but this game sucks. The graphics are horrible, and the gameplay is pathetically simplistic. COMPLETE waste of time, and the thought of paying for this is utter insanity.

  • Jeb in Cleveland

    I love this game! 5stars!! instantbuy!!!

  • http://trade.tumblr.com/ DarkFractal

    In the 80's I remember paying $20 for Pac Man on the 2600. Its 2009 and people are whining about $2.99? Who are these imbeciles? Get a life!

  • Blades144

    Don't forget DarkFractal, PacMan was not only 20 bones for the 2600, it sucked too. People bitching about this 2.99 price is ridiculous. Buy or don't.

  • ClassicGamer

    To everyone that keeps complaining about the graphics: you obviously have no artistic taste, so you should go back to your fancy-schmancy over-hyped 3D games with no style and no actual gameplay.

  • ipodkafa

    come on apple where are games featuring open gl 2 ? gaming console playing crapy flash games?

  • http://brosefk.com Brosef K

    Holy shiz. The bellyachers and posturing drama queens here are at DEFCON 1!

    Just outrage, apoplexy, and way too much thought over price. These are the kind of people who are never fun in real life. Obsessing about a quarter or grabbing extra packets of fast food ketchup to store in their fridge. Parodied to perfection by Jeff Lewis' character in the web series "The Guild." He brought his own cheese to the burger place to save on cheeseburgers. Sad, but also funny because all too true.

    Listen, this game is hella fun and well worth $3. Anyone who allows their lives to get hung up over $2 ("I will not buy this game until it's $0.99!" Fine. Don't. The parade will continue without you.) for fun is just a miscreant. You're not being frugal. You're being anal.

  • http://brosefk.com Brosef K

    >> and the thought of paying for this is utter insanity.


  • oleg

    i reported the developere for making a game to the better business bureaue.
    This sort of thing needs to be stopped in the bud before the precendente becomes to charge money for the apps which should be less. if anyof you wish to support this I will start an online petition. by the way, twitter is also free and you can post the score with this app.... :-/

  • http://ialejandro.com iAlejandro

    My review says it all folks: http://ialejandro.com

    This game is a must have!

  • jackofhearts

    Tried the flash game. Not bad, but absolutely nothing special. How did this game get a five star review? I'd give it 2.5, to be played as a time killer at bus/train stops.

  • GiHubb

    The biggest problem with the game is the fact that it doesn't punish you for running into obstacles, quite the opposite - the runner slows down and moves slower and it's easier to time jumps. I stumbled onto boxes and chairs on purpose and easily got to 8000 meters. After that the slow tempo of the game wasn't as much fun.

  • Jack

    You're missing the point of the game though if you think every obstacle has to be avoided. Sometimes going slow for stretches is better. And then again... sometimes you hit a collapsing building and realise you don't have enough speed to escape to the next safe point. It's a classic risk / reward scenario. That's, um... a major part of the gameplay.

  • diffusion8r

    Sorry for 'resurrecting' what looks like a dead topic but have to say I got this game yesterday and it is phenominal! More addictive than anything and because of this easily 5 stars and a competitor for game of the year.

    Easily worth $2.99. EASILY. WAY more fun than literally every game in the long term.

  • http://eggnationmovies.com Shacklebolt

    At $2.99, Canabalt is worth every penny. My high score is 21381 and was 98th 'Best Run on Earth'... sadly it didn't last more than 24 hrs. Lowest local high score is 4000+. I seriously play too much.

  • Alex.B

    I will tell you what's to much my AT&T bill $125.00 per month. Most of you complaining about the price of some apps must have an Itouch because how can you afford the phone bill and not a $3.00 app.

  • Hitler

    It seems we have a bit of a Jew infestation on this website. This game is so fun, almost as good as iCopter (not the knockoffs). I'd get iCopter over this but seeing as I have over $3 of disposable income I can afford both.

  • theguedz

    I think the game is worth the money, some 3D stuff isn't has fun as this game and costs more. That's this games feature: it has fun inside. Some actually, don't.