Version Reviewed: 1.0
Graphics / Sound Rating:
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Canabalt was a killer app for sure, taking the simple platforming task of running and jumping and turning it into something awesome. It had sharp, minimalist graphics, smooth animation, great jump mechanics, and was extremely simple to pick up for short periods of time.
Like any good game though, it created its fair share of imitators. Imitation isn't always bad though, it just has to be done right to step ahead of the pack.
Cave Run is the next in line in the Canabalt imitation genre, and it does a bunch of things right. The concept is pretty much exactly the same, but there are a few things that add some pizazz to the experience. For starters, instead of just running for your life in an escape from a building, you are an Indiana Jones type that is running from a crumbling cave while collecting coins. The high score at the end reflects not only your distance traveled, but also the amount of coins you collect.
There is also much greater sensitivity in the jumping, allowing you to make short jumps with taps and huge jumps with holds. Along your path are various obstacles that do various things to your character, all of which should be avoided with quick, snappy jumps.
My biggest gripe with the game is with the childish animation that doesn't quite take itself seriously enough. There's a balance that games of this type have to find between childish and serious, and Cave Run is a bit on the childish side. Unlike the stunningly serious feel of Canabalt, your character in Cave Run tends to run a bit more casually, and worst of all, flaps his arms like a bird during jumps to try to get more hang time. I just don't quite feel enough of the immediacy that I should feel in a daring, high speed cave escape.
All in all, even with the graphics gripe, I think Cave Run will do quite well. It's a fun game, and if you are into the Canabalt genre you'll be playing this one for weeks. Just don't expect it to be better than Canabalt.