Canabalt's an interesting title. A port of the ultra-successful (and repeatedly cloned) iOS original, it's concept is so incredibly simple it will take you awhile to accept that there's that little to it. It will take slightly longer to figure out why, given its simplicity, that you're so addicted to it; shortly after you figure that out, you'll understand why it's so popular. Want to try it? You can play it in your browser, right here
The story, all of which is implied, is that the city in which our unnamed hero currently resides is currently in the throes of a fully-fledged giant robots of unknown origin apocalypse. Huge metallic beasts can be seen roaming around in the background, obliterating things with weapons of mass destruction. It's bad, basically, and running away is pretty much the only option at this point in time.
The gameplay, then, is all about running away. More specifically, your character will automatically run across the rooftops from the left hand side of the screen to the right; all you need to do in order to keep him alive is press "jump" at key moments in this perilous journey. The controls are so simple, in that only one button is required, that the developers have let you decide what the button will be: any button (even the d-pad), when pressed, will make our hero jump.
It may sound simple, and it is, but it's not that simple. How you press the button will impact things dramatically, just as deciding when to press it will directly influence your ability to survive any given scenario.
There are objects on the top of each building to avoid, although the fact that hitting a box or a chair will slow you down is actually strategically important, as running too fast might make a jump (or a drop) to the next building impossible.
Each time you play, the world is randomly generated, so if you're hoping to see the end (there isn't one) or remember the pattern (you're out of luck here, too), too bad. Instead, Canabalt is all about learning how to make decision on the fly. It's about twitch reactions, luck, and stacking plenty of "oh shiiii" moments on top of a set of mechanics so simple that even your grandmother could get something out of it.
Price at $4.25, the PSP minis version of Canabalt is a whopping 6c more expensive than the universal iOS app. Which version is right for you will come down to personal choice (and platform availability), but I wouldn't let its simplicity turn you away. Simplicity, as Jamie Oliver often says of food, can be of great benefit to the ultimate success of the recipe. Canabalt is fun to play and, at a minute or so per attempt, is perfect for both on-the-go gaming and "just one more" compulsive play. A great addition to the PlayStation Store and the perfect "mini" gaming experience.