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Review: Canabalt

Posted by on April 1st, 2012 | 3 Comments | Tags: ,

Who here hasn’t heard of Canabalt? The popular endless running game has been around for a few years now, and at last it has been brought to the minis platform, which would indeed be the perfect platform for the game, if minis did indeed allow social features. As it stands, the minis version of Canabalt is an excellent game once again compromised by the restrictive standards of the platform. It may seem like I’m banging the same drum every time I review a score based game on minis, but it’s a point that bears repeating.

Canabalt on minis looks much the same as Canabalt on any other platform. An excellent and distinctly monochromatic art style serves to highlight objects of interest as you speed past them, and the game runs smoothly, without a hitch to be seen during my sessions with the game. Strangely, a couple of tweaks have been made to the game on the minis platform. From the lack of bouncing glass as you exit the first window to the slightly more constricting aspect ratio, the game hasn’t necessarily lost anything in the transition, but anybody used to the slightly wider screen space found in previous versions of the game will be mildly confused until they adapt to the new look of the game.

In addition to this, the game’s sounds have been tweaked somewhat, and a visual indicator has been added to the top right corner of the screen, to warn you of any incoming objects. It isn’t distracting, and though it upsets the over visual look of the game when it appears, it remains much appreciated as a form of alleviating frustration. From a gameplay standpoint, I can’t help but be pleased with Canabalt. The game has lost nothing in the transition, and everything that I love about playing it has made the jump extremely well. It’s the lack of leaderboards that frustrates me. Once again, a minis title has been somewhat undone by the weaknesses of the platform as a whole. Not being able to compete with your friends is aggravating and, though the game tries to alleviate this somewhat by placing your most recent and also your highest scores on the title screen, the effect of thrusting your PSP in your friend’s face with a triumphant “HA” isn’t quite as entertaining as shooting them a sly “check out my time”. Especially if the PSP slips out of your hands and hits them in the face.

Canabalt is still a bunch of fun to play, but you can’t help but miss that competitive drive found in other versions of the game. While it is still entertaining to run across those signature rooftops on your lonesome, without the ability to rub your time in a friend’s face from miles away via leaderboards or the twitter integration found in the iOS version, Canabalt on minis is a lonely affair. Its fun in controlled bursts, but you’re not going to find yourself coming back to it repeatedly to show your friends how to nearly survive an alien invasion.

A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation Portable version of the game.

General Info

  • Everything that hamstrings minis as a platform hamstrings Canabalt here

  • http://www.psnstores.com Chris K

    PlayStation Suite can’t come soon enough.

    • Agent X

      Chris, do you have a hunch that they’ll make a Suite version of the game? (Sweet!)

      Ironically enough, I just got the Android version yesterday, which has online scoreboards and also includes some newly enhanced “3D” graphics (you can freely toggle between the “3D” and original graphics at any time). If they ever do a version for Vita (or Suite), then they should consider porting this version of the game.

      As it stands, it’s a pretty good Minis game. I agree with Ben in that the online limitations of Minis hold it back slightly in comparison to other versions, but it’s still a fun time-waster that’s worth playing.

    • http://www.psnstores.com Chris K

      I hope so, really isn’t the same game without the trash talkin’