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Dino Run SE for Mac Review

Developer: Pixeljam Games

Price: $2.99/£1.79

Description: A Retro Racer with a Prehistoric Twist

App Store Link

Rating

Pros: Good graphics, addicting, other modes and cheats.

Cons: Free online flash version – not worth $3 for the extra content, empty multiplayer lobby.

Advised Control Method: All (keyboard control)

Review

You’ve had a nice life. Eating other small insects, collecting eggs at leisure, improving relationships with other dinosaurs. But unfortunately you’re on the brink of the extinction of your whole race and somehow you have got it into your little dino head that you need to run, and run fast. Dino Run is a retro racer with a twist and plays remarkably well with an added multiplayer bonus. It is just a shame that it is almost identical to a free online version of the game and therefore, doesn’t make it worth your $3.

In Dino Run, you control a desperate dinosaur eager to put-off his oncoming demise of pure doom. Forget about your friends and family, climb upon their backs and get a lift if you have to. Just don’t die. And that is the basic premise of Dino Run.

Along the way you meet a plethora of other dinos with the same objective as you. Some may get in your way and hinder your progress wheres other may do the opposite. The other escaping (or not) creatures gives you an idea of the scope of the disaster.

You also need to pick up eggs scattered around each level to earn points and subsequently DNA to level up your dino. To get anywhere in the game, you need to improve your characters performance first.

Dino Run has very few levels in the Challenge mode itself, but the concept is that you play through the game until you can’t progress any further, die and then go back to the beginning and try again, hopefully with an improved dinosaur. This regurgitation of content has the potential of getting old, but thankfully the levels are unique and, especially the later ones, are enjoyable enough to play over and over again.

This is due in part to the loveable retro graphics and the game’s variety also. As you will have probably seen from the screenshots, the game is set in a vibrant pixelated world that never ceases to get old. And its not just static hills that you’re running across. There are a few of different obstacles and staged events in the game such as a meteor crash or an avalanche of huge boulders threatening to crush you. However, these events occur more often the further you play through the game leaving the first few levels feeling a bit lacklustre – my favourite level being the Volcano.

The campaign is quite short and for an extra challenge I recommend you bump up the difficulty a bit. However, to add a bit more content, there are Speed Runs, which are a number special individual levels and Planet D, which is just random. The more Speed Runs can be bought using bones you have collected already which serves as an incentive to keep playing. There are a few mods and cheats to activate for a bit of a laugh. But probably the best feature is the enjoyable online multiplayer. This is where you race against others online across a level to be the first to get to the sanctuary. Well it would be enjoyable if there were any players online. I found it hard to find one person to play against, let alone the 4 maximum you can have on one race.

And this is where the problem lies. Dino Run is a freely available flash game you can play online, who’s identical multiplayer component has way more of a following than the purchased version on the Mac App Store. So why would you buy this version? Well the developers say that the Mac App Store game includes more levels – which includes a new game mode called Planet D -, creative hats for your dinosaur and a free copy of the game’s soundtrack. Beside the levels, which aren’t abundant anyway, some simple aesthetic tweaks and a worse multiplayer component certainly doesn’t make Dino Run SE worth the $3 asking price. I suggest you go play the flash alternative and if you find yourself really getting into it and feel like giving a contribution to the developers for their hard work then go buy the full version.

In the end though, the game’s title speaks for itself. SE stands for Slight Evolved, which sort of sums it up. It is not evolved enough to warrant a purchase of the full game. It certainly isn’t a bad game, but why spend $3 when you play a slightly inferior version of Dino Run for free?

Gameplay Video