I wasn’t sure if I would like Dino Run. It looks like a computer game from the 1990s, with seemingly 8-bit graphics straight out of DOS. But, I’ve read other reviews and heard the buzz around Dino Run 2. A PixelJam sequel is currently being crowdfunded, and it’s clear that the prehistoric adventure series has a strong fanbase. Is the original Dino Run worth the hype? After spending a few hours playing, I conclude that it is.
Sprinting Through the Apocalypse
Getting into the game can’t be any easier. With one click, I’m transported some 60 million years into the past. I’m running away from the Wall of Doom that destroyed nearly all life on Earth. The sky is darkening, flames are everywhere, and dinosaurs are fleeing for their lives.
Dino Run is hectic. At the same time, an instruction manual isn’t necessary. Arrow keys (and WASD) control jumping, ducking, and moving across the soon-to-be-destroyed Earth. The objective is apparent right from the beginning: keep moving to survive.
Feasting on Other Beings
The world is filled with living things. There are tiny running dinos, little lizards, and gliding birds. As a medium-sized dinosaur, I can eat any smaller creatures. Worms are easy to slurp, and fish are free for gobbling. Chomping on other animals has two benefits: points and speed. Points are good, but speed is better. That’s because any animals in the way are outright obstacles. The bigger they are, the greater their potential to decrease my speed. And when running away from deadly meteorites, I want to be fast.
Experimenting with Cheats and Mods
Dino Run is loaded with cheats and mods. Certain options, such as Super Speed and Mega Jump, make it easier to complete each level. Others, such as Low Gravity and Boulders = Balloons, are just plain fun. The latter turns potentially harmful stones into lightweight, flighty props. The aforementioned “cheats” prevent us from reaching milestones and submitting scores. But, they can provide endless entertainment.
Mods are the opposite of cheats, as they make each level harder to beat. Lights Out means that we run only at night. Seeing is difficult, and staying alive isn’t any easier. Meteor Storm brings an unstoppable assault of flaming rocks. We can ride or dodge the boulders, but there are too many to ignore. Complete a level with one of the mods engaged, and a hefty bonus will be in store.
Bones, Milestones, and Thrones
There’s more to unlock in this game than I can count. We can collect bones during each run, which become currency in the shop. There are out-of-the-game items for purchase, such as concept art, computer icons, and mp3s of the soundtrack. We can also unlock new Speedrun levels and uncover super eggs. On top of all that, there are gold, silver, and bronze awards for achieving milestones during non-cheat gameplay.
Dino Run might look old and basic upon first glance, but it’s quite the opposite. Play it here, and share in the glory of prehistoric wonders.