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One Single Life for iPhone: Like an incredibly unfair Canabalt that we can’t stop playing

One Single Life does what it says on the tin; you get one life and one life only. If you screw up and die that’s it, game over. No continues, no second chances, no extra lives.

But you can’t just simply start again from Level 1, oh no. Once you’re dead that’s actually it – the app just sits uselessly on your iPhone’s screen. The only way to have another crack at it is to delete the app, re-install it (it’s free) and have another crack.

Annoying right? Right. But this is also what gives One Single Life a bit of an edge.

Developer Anthony O’Dempsey explains on his site that extra lives, checkpoints and continues have removed the element of risk from games:

“The reason I was never truly afraid of that ‘perilous’ jump in an otherwise thrilling adventure game was that deep down, I knew the worst possible consequence was having to start the level over or be returned to the nearest checkpoint.”

It’s actually really easy to screw up on One Single Life. We’ve died about eight times already this morning, most of the time around the fourth level (we know, we suck).

But knowing that failure is just a mis-calculated tap of a touchscreen away injects a much-needed element of fear into a game that’s otherwise a building jumper in the same vein as Canabalt and Robot Unicorn Attack.

This nervy could-screw-up-at-any-second quality (not to mention the fact you need to re-download the darn thing each time) has seen One Single Life rocketing up the Top Free charts.

The app description says that there’s a tournament edition coming soon; better start getting your practices in now.

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