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Video Game / Dino Run

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Dino Run is a Flash-based Platform Game developed by PixelJAM Games and XGen Studios and released in 2007, which follows a dinosaur as it attempts to survive the end of the world.

The game is Exactly What It Says on the Tin - the player controls a dinosaur as it runs through several levels filled with pitfalls, other dinosaurs, and an Advancing Wall of Doom that is destroying the landscape behind them. Along the way, players can pick up power-ups that will boost their speed, strength or jump power, as well as collectible eggs that unlock further content.

In addition to the original game, a Speedrun-centric minigame called Dino Run: Marathon of Doom was released in 2011, which focuses on a single stage where the player dinosaur must survive as long as possible, as well as an Updated Re-release, Dino Run SE, that adds more levels, an extra gamemode and plenty of new hats.

Play it for free here or here.

A sequel, simply named Dino Run 2, is in the works. It was first announced in 2014 but was shelved until further notice after the associated Kickstarter failed to reach its goal. In the meantime, the developers were crowdfunding an updated Updated Re-release Dino Run DX until September 2017 when the developers decided to make Dino Run 2 possible again; more information can be found here and here. A second Kickstarter was launched on January 24, 2018 and was successfully funded on February 22, 2018, garnering $26,556 and 1,298 backers.

This game contains examples of:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: The speedrun levels "Stego Stampede", "Meteor Meltdown", "Dactyl Dodge" and "Dino Derby".
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: The whole game. Luckily, you can get caught up in the edge of the wall and live (and get bonus points for it).
  • Alien Invasion: Inverted. The aliens came to save the dinosaurs à la Noah's Ark and take them to their planet.
  • Alternate-History Dinosaur Survival: If the Golden Ending is any indication, the dinosaurs were saved by aliens.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • Stegosaurs, diplodocoids and brachiosaurids were already extinct long before the K-Pg extinction.
    • The plans for Dino Run 2 include levels set in the Pleistocene Epoch and modern times.
  • Aquatic Sauropods: Averted. The sauropods in the game either stand on rocks, are inside the aliens’ UFO or are trapped in a tar pit.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: SE and DX include new speedrun levels - "Circus Tryouts", "The Hitchhiker", and "Surfin' Safari" - designed entirely around boulder-rolling, dactyl chaining, and doom-surfing respectively, making it much easier to get to grips with them and unlock their trophies.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Every ending (besides the Golden Ending) has the player's dinosaur make it to the "dino sanctuary" (an underground cavern). However, the world outside is ravaged and there's little to do except stand around. It's potentially even more so in lower difficulties, wherein the cave isn't even that big.
  • Black Bead Eyes: All the characters have dot-eyes, though they don't necessarily come in black.
  • Camera Abuse: The screen shakes whenever a massive meteorite hits the ground in front of the dinosaur.
  • Close-Contact Danger Benefit: The game awards you points for "surfing the doomwall" (staying inside the Advancing Wall of Doom while it's onscreen).
  • Cloudcuckooland: The "Planet D" speedrun, a chaotic alien world that drops balloons on the player instead of boulders. The SE and DX versions add a "Planet D" game mode as well, which brings back the balloons for one level and throws various other gameplay quirks at the player.
  • Collection Sidequest: The larger eggs of other species are well-hidden, and sometimes require a bit of backtracking (yes, in an Advancing Wall of Doom game) to grab. Of course, you're rewarded plenty of DNA and bones for finding them, so if you want to upgrade your abilities and buy things without grinding, it may be in your best interest to start searching.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The player's dino turns green after grabbing a speed boost, purple after a jump boost, and red after a strength boost.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Running above/through active volcanoes? No problem. Running on a flaming meteor? No problem.
  • Cosmetic Award:
    • A message on the title screen informs the player that they can unlock new hats by "being awesome" (which entails beating stages on certain difficulties, etc).
    • The Bronze, Silver and Gold Crowns are awarded for beating all stages on Normal, Hard and Insane! difficulties, respectively).
  • The Day the Dinosaurs Died: The game involves you out-running the Advancing Wall of Doom that is debris flying as a result from the asteroid impact.
  • Death Throws: When AI dinosaurs or critters are killed by meteors or boulders, their corpses fall off-screen while slowly spinning.
  • Disturbed Doves: Birds will stay situated in their trees until the dinosaur gets close to them. Agile enough dinos can catch them midair and eat them for a nice point bonus.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: You can be rescued from the apocalypse by aliens, but only if you play on Insane! difficulty. The other endings have you holding out in a cave.
  • Epic Fail: Remember the sequence with the sauropod standing in the single pool of tar? Mess up the jump off its neck to the hilltop and you might get stuck against the hillside if you don't stop running. Costing you precious seconds and definitely screwing you over in harder difficulties.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: Hitting the speed or strength boost button with 500 DNA lets your dino run through most obstacles, including boulders and other dinosaurs.
  • Golden Ending: Beating the game on Insane! difficulty ends with the player dinosaur being rescued by an alien race and taken onboard their spaceship, which is relocated to Planet D with members of the other dinosaur races.
  • Halloween Episode: The Halloween Hellrun mode in DX, which is a series of five levels, each with their own gimmick, such as ghost dinosaurs. Beating it will reward the player with a horror film-themed hat, one for each difficulty.
  • Hard Mode Perks: Besides a bigger time bonus for completing a level, playing the Challenge mode on Normal or Hard adds an extra level not present on Easy, while playing on Insane! adds a further one in the form of Beyond Apocalypse, which ends with the Golden Ending and the area where the Bronto Egg resides.
  • Harder Than Hard: Insane! difficulty. Don't have the maximum stats? You'll be lucky to stay more than five seconds ahead of the Wall of Doom if you make NO mistakes. Got the maximum stats? One or two false moves or missed power-ups may still be all it takes to meet your pyroclastic end.
  • Helpful Mook: Any pterodactyls that aren't flashing red and flying to the left can be jumped into, and they'll actually carry you quite a ways before dropping you. In later levels, there are also Parasaurolophus you can jump on the back of for a free ride.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: There's Easy, Normal, Hard... and Insane!.
  • Interface Screw:
    • When the wall of doom gets closer, the screen gets darker to the point where you can barely see your dino, much less the obstacles you're trying to avoid. Right before the wall overtakes you, it will block out most of the screen.
    • The "Nightfall" speedrun, along with "After Midnight" in the Planet D levels, constantly makes the screen as dark as it is when the wall of doom closes in. The Lights Out cheat adds this effect to every level in exchange for a point bonus.
  • Justified Extra Lives: Extra lives are referred to as "time shifts", and further lives can be added based on how many eggs are acquired throughout the various levels.
  • Lava Pit: Present throughout the "Apocalypse" levels.
  • Made of Iron: Boulder hits your dino in the head? Caught in a meteorite impact? Run headlong into a Triceratops? No problem. As long as the wall doesn't catch up, your dino is A-OK, aside from letting out a squeak if they fall in lava or touch a meteorite's core.
  • Mighty Glacier: The ceratopsids and stegosaurs can destroy small boulders, but plod along very slowly (often in the wrong direction) and are nowhere as agile as the player dinosaur.
  • Mood Whiplash: Playing on Easy results in one less stage before the final level. This is rather jarring because the level in between serves as the moment of the game where you know it's all going downhill, where the environment becomes dark and overtly hostile. Averted if you play through on Medium or higher.
  • Multiple Endings: Three of them in the first game. To wit:
    • Making it to the end on any difficulty besides Insane!. The player dino survives by staying in a sheltered cave alongside other dinosaurs.
    • Beating the game on Insane! difficulty has the player dino rescued by aliens, who take it - alongside plenty of other dinosaurs - to their home planet, free to live out their lives away from the extinction event.
    • Finding a secret tunnel within the Apocalypse stage leads to a portal that transports the player dino to their own island paradise, far away from anywhere being ravaged by the doom wall or meteors.
  • Nitro Boost: Ducking while running over any flower results in a speed bonus. These bonuses can be chained to make the dino run much faster than normal (to the point that it's possible to run off the right side of the screen).
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • An exclamation mark appears over the player dinosaur's head when the wall of doom gets close.
    • For players, falling through the ground pillars during 2nd, 4th or 5th stage. On a difficulty past Medium, hope of evading the wall here is seriously diminished.
  • One Dino Limit:
    • Played straight when a dino successfully makes it to a challenge ending, since you get a differently colored dino to play as for a new game. (While you might think you got the yellow -your first- dino again at first, note that there are patterns on it that make it different.) Averted if you fail, as though the screen says "Your dino is extinct", returning to the main menu still shows the "extinct" dino ready to go again.
    • After 'saving' enough dinos, you can customize your next dino's colors. And make them wear 'hats' too.
  • Power Up Mount: The pterosaurs and Parasaurolophus are useful for bypassing obstacles and speeding up progress.
  • Randomly Generated Level: The basic geography of the level stays the same, but the positioning and frequency of the obstacles change each time it's played.
  • Raptor Attack: Although heavily stylized, concept art of Dino Run 2 shows that the original raptor player character is meant to be a Jurassic Park-style dromaeosaurid, with featherless skin and pronated hands. However, the same concept art also shows that Dino Run 2 will feature a playable Deinonychus that is depicted more in line with current scientific understanding.
  • Retraux: It's pixel-art style done in an early '80s style.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Several, some of which are pointed out (but not necessary) by the game itself:
    • Doing a low-level run (when your stats are at their weakest).
    • "Boulder Riding" or "Doom Surfing" (the latter of which has the dino stay as close to the wall of doom without dying) for as long as possible.
    • Using either of the "mod" cheat codes (Lights Out and Meteor Storm) during the various speedruns, which ups the overall difficulty and number of obstacles. Completing a run with one on will award the player with bonus points.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The aliens who appear in the Insane! difficulty ending look like the Xenomorphs from the Alien series.
    • Many of the hats are pop-culture references, encompassing everything from Atari 2600's Adventure to Minecraft, to Spy Vs. Spy, Michael Jackson, DEVO, Destructoid and much, much more.
  • Shown Their Work: Ever since the revival of Dino Run 2, the developers have confirmed they will be designing the dinosaurs and other animals to be more accurate at least in anatomy. Particularly, Spinosaurus is depicted as semi-aquatic and with a sail based on the latest discovery.
  • Spanner in the Works: The rats and lizards are basically powerups, but they can really mess up your day if they happen to step on a bridge you're crossing.
  • Sugar Bowl: Look at it. Cutesy 8-bit graphics, dinosaurs with beady dot eyes, vibrantly colored settings… What Could Possibly Go Wrong? The Sugar Apocalypse. That's what.
  • Time Stands Still: The "time freeze", although it's technically the pause option.
  • Time Trial: The speedrun levels. In some levels, it's actually harder to stay ahead of the wall.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Most of the larger dinos actually run toward the doom wall, instead of away from it.
  • Try Not to Die: The goal is to avoid dying for as long as possible.
  • Unlockable Content: A surprising amount of content can be unlocked by collecting bones and redeeming them in the menu. The unlockable content includes concept art, desktop wallpapers, songs and even the original prototype of the game.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: One of the goals is to save as many eggs as possible. On the opposite side, though…
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: …you can ignore every egg in the game and go straight for the end as fast as possible, leaving them to be engulfed by the advancing wave of destruction. You can even directly cause their demise by rolling stones or trampling your Parasaurolophus mounts over them.
  • Video-Game Lives: The dino is doomed should the wall catch up. The player may retry and the game rewinds time to the start of the level. Additional retries are obtained by collecting eggs to a certain amount.