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Video Game: Canabalt
Someone is about to be turned into a fine mist.

You're the fastest man alive and somebody's really really mad at you. We think.

Canabalt is a 2D Side Scrolling arcade game that was created by Adam Atomic and Danny B. You play as a man who, immediately after the game begins, runs down a hallway and leaps through a glass window into open air. If that wasn't enough, he goes on to run across rooftops and jump through other buildings at ever increasing speeds until he finally meets his demise. It's never said exactly what he's running from, but the falling missiles and the giant bipedal shapes in the distance provide some clues (and someone even wrote an unofficial backstory designed to explain everything).

It is found here. There are also versions for various other platforms such as the iPhone, Android systems, and the PS Vita, each with a few additional features, including alternate soundtracks.

Part of the beauty of the game is the simplicity of the controls: there is one button, press it to jump. You can't control the direction you run in or the speed you run, you always run right and contantly gain speed unless you run into something to slow you down. And unless you do manage to slow yourself down your speed will become so high that reacting to the jumps will become impossible.

The simple controls makes it very suitable for playing on phones or tablets. There are many imitators of the basic idea (run right while constantly accelerating, use one button to jump). Such imitators tend to add more features since the core gameplay is as basic as possible.

If you are wondering if this could be any more awesome, check out Robot Unicorn Attack, which is a prettied up version.

Examples:

  • Benevolent Architecture: The buildings are always spaced close enough together that you can jump from one to the next at whatever speed you happen to be going, unless you get slowed down by an obstacle.
    • Or land on a damaged building that's too long for you to run across before it completely collapses.
  • Bomb Whistle: Just before a bomb (pictured up and to the right) lands on the roof right ahead of you. Although for some reason, it kinda sounds like a motorcycle.
  • Camera Abuse: The screen shakes when buildings collapse, a ship flies by, or the bombs land or explode.
  • Casual Video Game: The ease at which the game can be learnt, and can be picked up and put down is a great part of its charm.
  • Conveniently Empty Building: In the iPod version of this game, an additional obstacle is added in. After a one-building warning noise sounding like metal crumpling, this gargantuan thing crashes down through and completely obliterates the next building you were going for! Only a small platform remains.
  • Cool Plane: Or at least, we think so. Whatever it is will fly by too quickly to see with no warning or interaction.
  • Deliberately Monochrome
  • Disturbed Doves: Many roofs have birds on them that take off when the agent passes.
  • Endless Game: Keep running, little man.
  • Excuse Plot: Not even that, really. In the background Humongous Mecha stomp between ruined buildings, stopping to zap things out of sight. Closer by, futuristic craft roar past you and occasionally a missile will land in your path, wherever it is you're supposed to be going. Whatever's going on, it's a bad day.
    • The plot can be summed up with: "Press X or C to start your daring escape."
    • The Kongregate version describes it as "Outrun the demolition of your city with just one button!"
    • Achievements in the Android port mention such things as the Mothership, the Dark Tower, and a Walker.
  • Have a Nice Death: When you finally stop running, the GAME OVER screen will tell you how far you got and what took you out. For example:
    You ran 3604m before hitting a wall and tumbling to your death.
    • See the bomb in the page image? Run into it and the message will be:
    You ran 2509m before turning into a fine mist.
    • The iPhone port features even more messages for various situations, most of them snarky. For example:
      You ran 102m before barely stumbling out of the first hallway.
      You ran 3780m before riding a falling building all the way down.
      You ran 4510m before knocking a building down.
      You ran 2287m before somehow hitting the side of a billboard.
  • Humongous Mecha: As background scenery.
  • In a Single Bound: As always, your jumping prowess is inhuman.
  • Inertia Is a Harsh Mistress: It is possible to build up so much speed that it becomes impossible to react in time.
    • In some cases, it's actually a good idea to run into the cardboard box... things, which will slow you down. Just don't do it right before the edge of a building, or you won't be able to rebuild enough speed to make the jump.
  • I Meant to Do That: Invoked, as mentioned above, you have to intentionally trip over stuff to slow your momentum down to manageable levels.
  • Le Parkour
  • Randomly Generated Level: The buildings are pre-designed, and generated as you go.
  • Roof Hopping: The game is made of this trope.
  • Scenery Gorn: Columns of smoke rise into the sky and the buildings silhouetted in the background have chunks missing out of them.
  • Shout-Out: If you pause the game when you're on a crane, or if you die around a crane, you can see that the crane is clearly labelled Canabalt Crane Co., which might give you some ideas as to the backstory.
  • Soft Glass: The windows shatter spectacularly, but they don't even slow the man down.
  • Super Window Jump
  • Temporary Platform: The buildings with cracks all over them. (Though, to tell the truth, all platforms in this game are 'temporary', it's just that they sometimes fall downwards, not only to the left.)

You ran 12409 characters before running out of trope.
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alternative title(s): Canabalt
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