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Been a while since you've found a good shareware game? This game is not only fun and addictive, it is non-violent and costs less than $20 (or free to try).

Dynomite is a puzzle/action game from PopCap Games, formerly known for their hit game, Bejeweled. The game was orignally titled Eggsucker and made by Raptisoft, until it was purchased by PopCap in January 2002. It is a descendant of the classic games Bubble Bobble and Bust-A-Move (Puzzle Bobble).

Dynomite inherits the "launch the thing at the big mass of things and match colors to destroy them" gameplay as Bust-A-Move. On the other hand, Dynomite adds many fun new features that it makes Bust-A-Move (and Bust-A-Move 2,3,etc.) seem boring in comparison.

Gameplay

The premise is simple: you hatch dinosaur eggs by creating groups of three or more adjacent eggs of the same color. You control a rotating cannon that is continuously fed colored eggs, one at a time, and has the ability to shoot them at the eggs in the play area. You can also bounce the eggs off the wall for a bank shot.

Hatch several groups of eggs in a row to score "combos" for extra points. Also, some eggs will shake occasionally. If you hatch them fast enough, a "bonus baby" will appear and award you with a bonus. Bonuses include extra points, score mutiplier, widen the play area, or a flashlight that shows the path your eggs will travel.

Dynomite has four modes of play: Endless, Stomped, Fossil, and Time Trial. Each mode is considerably different and requires different styles of play, which I have described below. I found every mode to be very fun, although Time Trial is a little slow paced for my taste. In addition, you can choose Easy, Normal, or Hard difficulty.

There is one major gripe I have about the game. It is single player only, which is disappointing with today's huge number of multiplayer games. Bust-a-Move always had multiplay, and Eggsucker had internet/LAN play, a great feature that was removed during the transition to Dynomite. Another minor annoyance is that saving your game causes you to return to the main menu.

Game Modes

Endless Mode:
As the name implies, the eggs fall in endless amounts until they reach the bottom of the screen, ending the game. The object is to score as many points as possible before that happens, accomplished by clearing eggs. In order prevent the game from going on forever, play becomes increasingly difficult. Every so often, a pterodactyl named Whirly flies around, carrying a new color of egg. If you shoot him, the eggs speed up. If you don't, he adds the new color of egg to the mix.

Stomped Mode:
This mode consists of a series of puzzles, each one more difficult than the last. The eggs do not move as in Endless Mode, but fire too many eggs and Mama Brontosaurus will stomp the eggs lower. Clearing all the eggs will solve the puzzle.

Fossil Challenge:
Another puzzle sequence like Stomped Mode, except instead of clearing all the eggs, you must make the fossil in the center fall. This mode has two submodes: Strategic and Panic. Strategic progresses like Stomped Mode and in Panic the eggs descend like Endless Mode.

Time Trial:
Clear a set number of rows of eggs in the shortest time possible. The eggs do not descend, nor do they get stomped downwards.