One Single Life

So this one wasn’t made with people who write about games in mind. Play your cards wrong and One Single Life will turn its back on you in all of about 12 seconds.

Like Canabalt, the player controls a man who, for whatever reason, has taken to bounding across lofty rooftops in his free time. In Canabalt this was modestly justified by an alien invasion. No such explanation here.

One Single Life’s gimmick rests in the title; the player has just one life. Fail to succeed at any of the ten jumps and that’s that, your failure becomes a statistic relayed to those who come after. Each of the ten levels begins with a billboard with data to the effect of: 61% of players die here. Inspiring. (That said, completing the credit sequence nets you an extra life and it’s a pity Fresh Tone didn’t have the conviction to stick with just the one).

After a few trial runs – or none if you failed to read the small print or ponder the name – comes the real deal. By tapping the screen the thrill seeker begins his dart and by tapping again he jumps. That’s it. At that point you’re buckled in for the ride, a slack-jawed observer until he either lands safely on the other side or fails, leaving you gazing on gloomily as any aspirations of becoming one of the elite 4% to reach the end plunge into the void to become a pool of blood, viscera and regret.

Throughout its brief stay One Single Life is tangibly fraught. Fingers quiver at the beginning of each gauntlet and eyes remain fixated once you’re midair as though something depends on the result of each jump beyond puerile willy waving.

And that’s it really. It’s quirky, inventive and remarkably tense and it’ll be over at best within 15 minutes and at worst well, within a minute or so.



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