I absolutely adore the PixelJam guys. So much so that the next few editions of Indie Revolution are going to be completely devoted to them! Their “neo-retro” style allows for some wonderful looking games that are so simplistic yet a heck of a lot of fun. They are possibly one of the most original indie developers out there, creating fantastic game after fantastic game.
This week, we’re going to be looking at Dino Run. The basic overview of this entire article will be that it is awesomely fun. But I get nothing for writing a paragraph and a line and inserting a nice banner. So, I’m going to tell you about this indie masterpiece.
In Dino Run, you make yourself a dinosaur, in my case Frederick, and then you have to run from left to right avoiding the Huge Doom Cloud of Death pursuing you to extinction. The whole idea of being chased is very similar to that of games of past eras where your aim was to essentially escape the thing chasing you. As such, Dino Run is easy to just start up and get going with, as the format is very similar to a lot of people.
This format may seem quite simple, however, instead of showing you where the Huge Doom Cloud of Death is, be it via a bar on the top of the screen – physically showing the cloud on screen, the game does not tell you where it is. For instance, you could be happily trotting along, eating smaller dinosaurs and eggs to find a steep hill, which lowers your speed, and then the music slows down and the screen becomes darker and a sense of “OMFGWHATHESH–HELPMEARGHNO!” washes over you.
This feeling is nothing short of nerve racking, to hear the dark music and watching the screen change as the dust and rocks creep in from the left side of the screen. To escape, you need to somehow get a boost of speed and “Doom Surf” your way out of there. “Doom Surfing” is exciting, nerve racking and exhilarating. If you can pull it off properly the adrenaline rush is ridiculous. Some of the best moments of the game is when you narrowly escape extinction.
Once you reach the end of the level, if you have collected enough eggs or other creatures to gain DNA, then you can level up. However, there is one flaw with the game. You have to grind if you actually want to get anywhere. To get a decent dinosaur you need to play for hours, literally. It can be an extremely time consuming process as each DNA point is given when the dinosaur eats around eight eggs/creatures. Also, to actually be able to play the higher difficulties, your dinosaur needs to be fast or the “What’sthatrumbling?It’sgoingdark.HelpmemummyOHCRAPIT’SHERERUN” feeling will consume you pretty quickly, which means you have to grind to actually play another difficulty.
There is multiplayer as well in Dino Run, which is so much fun. You have to race your pimped out dinosaur against other people’s dinosaur to see who can get to finish first without being killed by the Huge Doom Cloud of Death. The problem is that if the dinosaurs you are against are lower levels than you then it just seems unfair. You probably will still laugh in their faces and taunt them but it just doesn’t seem fair in the end.
The game does, however, look and sound uniquely amazing. You really need to see the game running to see how beautiful this is in a sort of retro, pixelated way. Every single explosion, character and location looks amazing. The detail (or lack thereof) makes this easily some of the best pixel art I ever have, and probably will ever, see. The cheap tunes that play in the background also sound amazing considering it’s quite minimalistic and low-quality feel that just, ironically, bumps the quality up even more.
I love Dino Run. It’s amazing. So just play it