It’s no secret that one of the signs of a great game is that sooner or later clones will start to appear in their droves. It’s been happening as far back as the dawn of the video games industry since the endless Pong clones that were released before the advent of the Atari 2600. Anyway, the online flash game, Canabalt, is the subject of this “homage”. Simplicity is the key to Canabalt and it’s one of the easiest games to play. If you’ve never seen it before, you are controlling a character who is on the run – what from is never explained – but you just have to run across a city as fast as you can.
The game screen is continually scrolling, getting faster and faster and you have to jump from rooftop to rooftop and through open windows and through buildings surving as long as possible, and jumping over any obstacles in your way. It’s all controlled by a single button to jump and that’s about it! It’s addictiveness lies in its simplicity, and while the graphics are basic and functional, you want to keep coming back for more to see if you can get further and further in each attempt.
So onto I Must Run… to try to take things a step further, a storyline has been added to the game to try to justify the unavoidable comparisons that are going to be made to Canabalt and a few extra features have been added to try to move the gameplay along and develop the game further. You take on the role of a convicted criminal who is on the run – you have just 24 hours to run from the prison you have escaped from to the city to rescue your wife. She is being held captive by the father of a someone who was killed during an assault on your wife which resulted in your original conviction. Now you’re being blackmailed and time is running out…
Unlike Canabalt which just uses a single button to jump, I Must Run is a far deeper game (or as deep as this type of game can be considering the limitations of the format). As well as pressing X to jump, pressing it again while in mid-air will double-jump (essential for the longer distances), pressing down will crouch/slide (which you can use to either destroy objects blocking your way or will be essential for later levels including the underground level when you are riding atop a train and need to fuck overhead obstacles) and you can also destroy other obstacles by punching them.
These alterations, while not a major difference, do add an extra twist to the game and do lift it above the original and break up the repetitive nature of the run, jump, run, jump gameplay. The variety in the graphics of the six different zones really break the game up well and blend seamlessly and the music adds to the frantic pace which never lets up for a moment. Of the two games, this is vastly superior and despite being incredibly frustrating it also has that strange compelling appeal that keeps pulling you back to play again and again. It’s one of those games that is quick enough to load up for a few short games whenever you feel like something a little less taxing on the brain and more importantly than anything else, it’s great fun!
Definitely a game that you should add to your Minis collection and at this price it’s criminal to miss out on this one!
At A Glance
- Title: I Must Run
- Publisher: Gamelion Studios
- System: PSP Mini
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: No
- Online Multiplayer: No
- Local Multiplayer: No
- Memory Card Space Needed: 9Mb