Avalanche


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Mikenitrome-avalanche-screen1.gif'Tis the season for festive, holiday-themed casual games! Sure as snowfall, Nitrome brings us another seasonal, wintry browser offering. Avalanche casts the player as a sled-bound penguin who is just trying to get home to his brood in the face of a relentlessly adversarial natural disaster. A running game reminiscent of Dino Run and Canabalt, Avalanche will test your agility and reaction as you pilot your little Antarctic hero to safety.

The [right] arrow key propels your penguin forward, while [left] slows him down. The titular avalanche is in constant pursuit from the left side of the screen, and you can only move away from it, for it is not your friend. You can jump with the [up] arrow, and holding or double-tapping [up] will execute a tricky double-jump. Use these tools to avoid obstacles, exploit useful features like rocket sleds and ski lifts, and navigate treacherous terrain as you escape the great white onslaught.

Analysis: Leave it to Nitrome to find the cute and cuddly side of ecological catastrophe. The comparisons between Dino Run and Canabalt are obvious to those who have played them, but those games manage to inspire an amount of panicky dread. Avalanche distinguishes itself with adorable little cartoony graphical details in the signature Nitrome style, from the frightful, eye-popping look on the penguin's face when the avalanche gets too close, to the expressions on your fellow fauna's faces as they roll haplessly by in the snowballs that entrapped them, to the cheerful aspect of your welcoming penguin family morphing into alarm as snowy doom engulfs them at the end of the level. It's less apocalyptic and more like a slightly twisted Saturday morning cartoon, and Nitrome deserves kudos for taking an existing formula and giving it a personal twist.

While cute, Avalanche still manages to create a sense of tension as you race away from your frozen foe. The level design earns most of the credit for this. I especially like the levels that are designed so that the avalanche roars right behind you just before an opportunity for escape presents itself. Several levels rely on a degree of timing and anticipation that benefits from a certain amount of course memorization and repeated plays through. These levels in particular would benefit from a checkpoint system, a feature which Avalanche sadly lacks.

Dave Cowen continues to impress with his soundtrack work at Nitrome. His music for Avalanche perfectly fits the mood of the game: tense and energetic but cute, with a glistening icy sheen. Sound effects are somewhat less impressive; most are adequate, but the sound your penguin makes when he double-jumps is particularly grating.

Avalanche also features a Survival mode, in which the setting is an infinite, randomly generated mountain course, as opposed to the pregenerated levels of Adventure mode. Like Canabalt, the goal here is to abjure your inevitable doom for as long as possible. I found the generated elements to be a little repetitive, and not as seamless as those found in Dino Run or Canabalt. Still, it offers a nice break from the level-based play of Adventure mode and adds to the replay value of the game.

Avalanche is a great example of Nitrome's telltale style and gameplay. It captures many of the features that made Dino Run and Canabalt great and presents them in its own unique way. It is a fine example in company with its worthy forebears.

Play Avalanche

37 Comments

I know this comment has nothing to do with Avalanche, but being that it's winter-themed, I just gotta say one thing.

I miss Mission In Snowdriftland. :-(

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This reminds me simultaneously of dino run and canabalt.

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I'm stuck at level 7.

When you go up the steep hill at around 2500 meters (there is normal snow than a small gap then ice).

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Yeah, I'm stuck at the same place in level 7 as well.

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@anon

I have exactly the same problem.

Overall the game is pretty fun but not one of nitromes best games. And after like 6000 meters the survival level seems to restart... it doesn't seem randomly generated.

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Yay, I submitted this! I have to say, level seven seems impossible at the moment...

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For level 7

at the top of the steep hill, jump and hold jump until you land

that's how I did it. Hope it helps!

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annabanana December 22, 2009 4:11 PM

i wish my family did not have to die at the end :(

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i like this!!!!! it is similar to those games...

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@Mike

The problem is that it doesnt seem possible to jump over the gap.

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annabanana December 22, 2009 5:23 PM

I am having some trouble on level 9,

How do you get past the snowball that is rolling UP the hill?

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annabanana December 22, 2009 5:30 PM

Never mind, you just have to

stay in front of it

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Yeah for level 7 you just have to

double-jump. Just like Mike said, just when you think the avalanche got you, the extended jump takes you across.

Anyways, it's a decent game, but it totally copied Canabalt. They even put in the birds that fly off when you pass :P

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Interesting. I usually feel cheated by "rubber band" difficulty (the avalanche speeds up if you get ahead of it, and slows down when it's close to you), but it seems to work here.

If I hit a rock, the avalanche will almost get me, but I'll pull ahead, and in a few hundred meters I'll be as far ahead of the avalanche as I would be in a perfect run. But if I hit two or three rocks in a row, I die.

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@StephenM3 : Yeah I noticed that too. It's much more forgiving than some other Nitrome games where the difficulty spikes in further levels. I guess it keeps the game from getting annoying if, say, you can never time your jump correctly to avoid a certain obstacle.

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This game is just WAAAAAAYYY too cute!!! Caught myself giggling hysterically a few times.

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im stuck on lvl 2 for some reason

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I'm really stuck on level 4, just because I can't land on the sheep, and when I do, theres always a tree to stop me so that the avalanche can kill me.

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argh that last level is way hard than all other levels.

@JIGuest

you don't have to land on them, you don't even have to jump. just keep gliding until you hit it, if this doesn't work I can't help you

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Yesterday, before this page existed but after the game came out, I sought to post first about it. Now I am twenty-second. :( This is not one of my favorite games at all! With level 1's end literally in sight, its avalanche overran me. Kind of fun, but, needless to say, disheartening. It'll be some time before I come back to this game, I think. Oh well. Good concept, though! Doesn't Nitrome have another, extremely similar game? No names come to mind, but I'm sure I've seen this before on Nitrome. Strange.

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Hmm, it's kind of like Cave Chaos. However, in my opinion, it was much more exciting and interesting than cave chaos, with very good level design. The only problem I noticed was the distribution of the fish, which seemed to not follow the arcs made by perfect jumps. Unfortunately, this means it is impossible to get all the fish.

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I'm stuck at Lv. 15 at around 200m in. Any advice?

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um, am I the only person that Nitrome.com is not working for?

I just get two ads, and that's it

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bigletters December 24, 2009 4:09 PM

This was the first time Ive ever placed Number 1 on a game. To do this,

I beat the first 11 levels right in a row

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@julian

thanks so much! it worked perfectly!

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@ Duppy

Me, too. I cannot figure out how to wrangle myself in between the two snowblocks. I always either don't jump far enough or hit the overhead block. It's the last level and I want to beat it!

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annabanana December 25, 2009 4:36 PM

@ Duppy and Kris

ME TOO and its so irritating...

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@JIGuest: I get that too. I tried the main Nitrome page, and I just get two ads and nothing else.

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For the bit about 200m in on the last level (level 15):

The only way I can consistently get across is by NOT going off the ramp - jumping before the ramp slope, and then jumping (or jumping again mid-air to get to the other side). It's timing the sloping narrow columns afterwards that have me stuck!

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IUHoosiersFan (Cheesemeister) December 29, 2009 3:53 PM

Fairly easy up until the last level. This leaves with two Nitrome games left to beat. The ending was also nice.

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on lvl 15 on avalanche (the last level) it is almolst immpossible for me to get past the icy bit where your going over lots of small areas i have tried it so many times and got over them maybe twice :( if anyone has any tips plz plz plz help me!! the bit i'm talking about is around 600m ty

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THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE DOUBLE JUMP TIP PERTAINING TO LEVEL 7. It's something like 2600 meters in, when you get to the small gap after the huge incline of snow, that then turns to ice. DOUBLE JUMP. It looks as though it won't work, but it most certainly does.

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can anone help me on leval 10 i need help from about 700m

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I'm stuck at level 15 at the first set of ramps that are covered in snow. it is around 300 m. any tips? any helpful feedback would be nice. thanks.

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I can't beat level 13! help!!!

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