Originally released in 1987 on the Commodore 64, The Great Giana Sisters was a 2D side-scrolling platformer more memorable for its controversial production history and similarities to Super Mario Bros. than its actual gameplay. It’s a strange choice for a reboot, but developer Black Forest Games successfully “Kickstarted” a new installment in 2012, resulting in the 2013 release of Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams. And two years later, the Giana Sisters are off on another adventure in Giana Sisters: Dream Runners.
Dream Runners is a side-scrolling racer where players compete against one another in nine different obstacle course-like stages, each varying in difficulty. Throughout the race, players can collect power-ups and sabotage their opponents along the way Mario Kart style! Those that can’t keep up and fall behind get eliminated. The last player to not get eliminated wins.
There are two teams of characters in Giana Sisters: Dream Runners. While the teams don’t mean much (every character can do the same thing) it does add a layer of much needed detail in an otherwise straight forward game. Each incarnation of Giana is different in both color and personality. Alternate costumes are also available for each character. For instance, Yellow Giana can become a ninja, while Red Giana becomes a knight.
ON YOUR MARK! GET SET! GO!!!!!!!
While a fairly simple game, there are a few tricks and techniques players must master if they want to beat out the competition.
- Dashing: Causes Giana to do a quick dart forward.
- Twirling: While twirling Giana is partially immune to gravity. This allows her to slowly float through the air.
- Crouching: Allows Giana to avoid low hanging obstacles by sliding underneath them.
- Gem Boost: Once Giana collects a certain number she becomes incredibly fast for a short time.
- Not staying in the lead: As weird as this sounds, staying in the lead can actually hurt you (literally). Players in first place have less time to react to any obstacles or stage hazards the level may throw at them.
Giana Sisters: Dream Runners is a casual racing game akin to Speed Runners or Micro Machines. Packed with great multiplayer potential, Dream Runners ends up being a good, albeit chaotic, time for all. Surprisingly, it does have a strong online component as well. I didn’t touch the competitive play as much but it contains online match-ups, player rankings and leader boards. If that’s your thing, go for it.
Gameplay - 7.5/10
Design - 7/10
Challenge - 8.5/10
Giana Sisters: Dream Runner is a very entertaining racing game that is best played casually with friends. While light on content, Dream Runner makes up for it with its hilarious (and sometimes heated) multiplayer sessions. It does have a solid online ranking system for those who like to compete against others. A great game but nothing to write home about. Would be enjoyed by any fan of “battle” style racing games such as Mario Kart.