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"Your 'reality', sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever."
— Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Freiherr von M√ľnchhausen

Friday Free Game: Dino Run

Pixeljam brings us a casual triumph called Dino Run, and it's this week's Friday Free Game. Jay Bibby gave it a rave review and I'll have to admit that I agree: it succeeds admirably on a number of levels, and I have no hesitation putting it in contention for one of the best Flash games ever made.

It has simple controls, nice visuals, and mega-fun gameplay with a strong theme, a cool soundtrack, and lots of rewards to string you along. Even the retro, pixelated graphics work for the game rather than against it. When you're playing Dino Run, you're delighting in the veritiginous feeling of movement, captivated by the flashing shapes on the screen. It's game design that would make Shigeru Miyamoto proud, just running and jumping. It's very original but feels incredibly familiar.

The end is coming for the dinosaurs, and you're just a sauropod who's fleeing its impending doom. As the prehistoric world comes to an end, throwing flaming meteors at you, you have to run as fast as you can, trying to escape the onrushing doom. While you're add it, collect various powerups and bonuses, hitch a ride with a pteradactyl, and eat worms to get a boost of speed. Linger too long or get stuck, and the wave of destruction will overtake you, dooming you to extinction.

This game has everything: seamless multiplayer, trophies and achievements, hidden stuff, character advancement, character customization. I've spent hours playing this game, first seeing what it's about, then trying to raise my stats, then trying multiplayer, then trying to unlock the trophies... the production value for a Flash game is stratospheric. This is a game made by professionals.

If there are any real complaints about the game, it might be that the gameplay does become shallow after a time, but that's inevitable for a game this perfectly casual. Stop whatever your doing and play. I cannot recommend Dino Run highly enough.

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The Red Bull Diary is the personal pulpit and intellectual dumping-ground for its author, an amateur game designer, professional programmer, political centrist and incurable skeptic. The Red Bull Diary is gaming, game design, politics, development, geek culture, and other such nonsense.