With a gap of some 20 years between games, the Giana Sisters are now once again hot property following a DS update and the well-received Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, with Black Forest Games returning to the same world but offering a slightly different experience as rather than another straight forward platform game they are about to release a competitive 2D racer.
Allowing up to four players to race against one another, Giana Sisters: Dream Runners is a frantic and fresh attempt to inject something new into the age old platform genre and even though this being a BETA version there were plenty of glitches and issues to contend with, the basics that are playable offers great multiplayer similar to those classic party games like Micro Machines.
Giana Sisters: Dream Runners is played like an extremely fast paced platform game, with each character able to not only run and jump but also slide, dash and twist across a series of hazards around a huge circuit inspired by the previous Giana Sisters games, using your skills to react to whatever your competitors and even the environment will throw at you; where players will hurl owls in your path, fire cannon balls and even drop pellets that slow you down with the aim of each player is to reach the edge of the screen, essentially locking out all of the other players to earn a star, with the first to three winning overall.
With only nine levels to play at the moment it does feel a little light on content, however the nature of each level does offer numerous different routes, with players able to trigger the track to change, platforms appearing and disappearing, adding new hazards or offering risky but rewarding shortcuts.
My only real concern so far is the lack of a quick pick and play appeal that other games of the same genre offered to the new gamer as the amount of controls can be overwhelming, with wrong button pushes often resulting in a loss of position. Add to this the age old problem of the player in first place racing against the edge of the screen with no real idea of what they are about to run into and this game has already offered plenty of frustrating moments as well as good times.
With online ranked and local games available, Giana Sisters Dream Runners has plenty of potential to become another classic party racer to be fondly remembered over the years to come as a game that will make and break friendships.
Words by Ash Buchanan.