Free Online Games : Canvas Rider
Free Online Games : Canvas Rider
Not many free online games survive without flashy graphics and engaging sound, but Canvas Rider finds a way.
This addicting game uses monochromatic line drawings, basic keyboard commands, and an unlimited supply of bicycles to create an amazing time-killer. You can jump into the race on a random track created by anonymous riders in cyberspace, or you can create your own custom terrain and contribute it to the Canvas Rider database.
When it's too cold (or hot) to go outside and actually ride a physical bicycle, try this game. If your boss actually expects you to remain at your desk throughout the workday, this game offers a nifty substitute for punishing your real body.
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Canvas Rider is a user-supported gaming system. You have thousands of tracks from which to choose. You can choose to have a random route chosen for you, or you can click on the Track menu option and browse through a short menu of selections. Twenty seven tracks at a time appear in the menu: more are available in subsequent screens.
You can drill down into the track database by the following categories:
- Most played
- Most thumbs up
- Contest winners
Assuming that you have some familiarity with other folks who are involved in the web site, you can also search for a track by designer/author. Many designers have submitted multiple tracks.
One Interesting Track
A very interesting track is "Little Big Planet" by a designer named marckisawesome. You and your bike are placed in a furnished living room. Your challenge is to ride the edges of all the furniture, the bookshelves, the hanging pictures, and the area rugs.
You get to jump from item to item in the room. If you land off-balance or (heaven forbid) upside down, you end up in a crumpled heap and the game ends. Don't worry too much: you always get a new bike, for free, and a new body to pedal it around the room.
How to Lose
The game ends when you crash or ride off the track into oblivion. Crashes are not gory in the modern style of a graphic video game, but your little stick figure flips and flops in an uncomfortable manner. Your bike gets mangled beyond virtual repair. Should you crash on an incline, your body and ride may slide downward until reaching equilibrium.
Crashing is probably no big deal to battle-hardened online gamers who have grown accustomed to blood and guts. Witnessing a little stick figure get twisted and mangled probably won't scar anyone to any great extent. However, if you've ever crashed a real bike on a real trail, watching your helpless avatar suffer a similar fate just might send a virtual chill up your spine.
How to Win
We don't know.
We were never able to defeat a track. Perhaps there's a beginner track that's easy to ride, but we didn't find it.
Staying upright and balanced is the overarching goal of every track we encountered. Should you pop a wheelie, you may find yourself over-rotating, landing on your head, and crushed by your ride. It's not a pretty sight.
Always look ahead and be prepared to pedal harder (press the up arrow on the keyboard) should you encounter an uphill climb. If you find yourself flying through the air, use the left and right arrow keys to bring yourself back into balance, with wheels down. It's imperative to try to land with your wheels roughly parallel to the landing surface.
Visual effects are slightly more modern than 1980's Pong games. Simple and elegant line drawings can be surprisingly engaging, but don't expect 3 dimensional scrolling multi-player first-person shooter real-time experiences. All this game needs is a slightly undulating black line on a white background. You and your bicycle challenge those lines.
This game has no sound that we we able to identify. Given that the courses are user-contributed, the only reasonable background noise that the web site could provide might be a tedious repetitive back-beat or the sound of a chain running through a derailleur. Most track designers are not audio engineers, so it's probably unreasonable to expect them to provide sound effects along with their courses.
There are some nifty physics built into this game. A physical bike isn't going to change its rotational direction in midair, but using the keyboard to balance the machine and rider in mid-flight is a mini-lesson in momentum.
Perhaps young riders will learn that they truly do not want to crash. Certainly experienced riders who have lived through violent crashes (including this author) will be reminded of how much it actually hurts.
Is this game safe to play?
Advertising appears on both sides of the gaming window. We noticed no offensive images or products. The game appears to be child-safe. Ads can be removed entirely by maximizing the game window to the size of the browser window.
- 1 = poor
- 10 = superior
We rate this game in relation to other free online games.
Game Concept:: 7. Controlling a bicycle in 2 dimensions is a unique concept
Strategy: 1. Grasping the game strategy is simple. Mastering the game is still challenging.
Playing Experience: 8. The game remains challenging because a virtually infinite number of tracks are available. Every track has nuances and artistic values as a function of the designer. Visual effects can be stultifying if you're not simpatico with the track designer.
Multimedia: 2. Black lines on a white background are not engaging, relative to modern online games. The visual effects are absolutely sufficient to communicate the look and feel of the game, but most players will expect more.
No sound can be better than bad sound. Open Pandora.com or Slacker.com in another browser window.
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