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You can play this game online Friv Games. Racing friv games are usually rather similar to one another, despite whether the vehicle’s a car, motorcycle or jet-ski, we’re usually put into a rather realistic looking setting and asked to drive as quickly as possible. Proun, however, was developed over six years by indie developer, Joost van Dongen, and does things a little differently — including the way it’s a adopted a ‘pay what you want’ pricing strategy.

It’s still about speed and being first to cross the finish line, but replace the road with a tube, the realistic setting with something more fitting within a Tim Burton movie and the vehicle with, well, a ball. It’s described by the developer as an ‘abstract racer’, and that’s right on the money. It’s like nothing I’ve seen before. I’d imagine that if a golf ball was somehow able to consume copious amounts of LSD, this is what it may experience.

There’s three game modes on offer within Proun, Single Race, Championship and Time Trial. All of which are rather self explanatory, but there’s four different speeds thrown in to help increase the game’s longevity and difficulty. They’ll need to be unlocked by succeeding in Championship Mode, and the latter one’s make it extremely tricky, it’s difficult enough to see what’s coming on the slowest speed. So there’s a real old-style arcade sort of feel to it, where repeated practice and knowledge of the tracks is vital if you’re to top the online leaderboards, which are all very well integrated and display just want you want to know.

The gameplay itself is all about momentum really. Controlled simply with forward, back, left, right and boost buttons, the key is to build up speed and keep it there. Not only will bumping into objects stop a player dead in their tracks, but rotating around the tube will also slow you down. So keeping the ball rolling is a very fine art — and you’d better choose when to use boosts wisely or impact is imminent, turning your ball into what I can only describe as a toy I remember from my childhood known as a ‘Koosh’.

Proun is absolutely beautiful too. The mixture of hard shapes, soft curves and bold colours is like a sort of sensory overload in a rather pleasurable way. But you won’t want to look too much, that’ll cause a few bumps. There’s also some rather funky background music included which matches the game’s visual madness perfectly.

The only complaint is that there isn’t more of it (an online multiplayer mode would be nice as well, but I’d hate to push my luck and there is a local, splitscreen mode). Only five tracks are included, though, or four if you download it for free, the fifth being reserved for those that choose pay more than $2.00 for the game — after all, you can ‘pay what you want’. The developer even urges you to download it for free and then come back for a paid version should you enjoy it, and the effort that’s gone in is certainly worth parting with a few of your precious quids. More should be coming by way of tracks too, as mod tools are available for the game which means anyone can go ahead and make a track of their own to share with the world — of which there are already two available via the Proun Website.

While this isn’t a huge title, it’s definitely a very solid one. It does what it does and it does it very well. It’s these types of smaller games and developers that bring us the ‘next big ideas’ in the world of gaming. Sure, go out and buy the latest big sequel that’s released (and enjoy it too), but this is something fresh and unique. I’d love to see it progress beyond what it is now or see what other ideas the developer has.For which reasons you should not only go and check it out but should also throw Joost a few pounds of your hard earned cash, because after six years of evenings and weekends working on Proun, he certainly deserves it.