I would like to prefix this review by stating I have not played the previous titles in the Giana Sisters series and this is my first.
The Giana Sisters Series started as a 2-D Sidescroller where you controlled one of the sisters (Giana or Maria). There was actually a lot of controversy surrounding the release of The Great Giana Sisters as it felt so similar to Super Mario Bros.
Giana Sisters: Dream Runners (sequel to Twisted Dreams), the multiplayer platformer is developed by Black Forest Games and was published by EuroVideo Medien.
Giana Sisters Dream Runners platforming gameplay is drastically different to previous titles in the series. Whereas in previous entries the emphasis was on being slow and accurate with your platforming Dream Runners takes the series in a much speedier direction. Pun intended. You are expected to play through tracks as fast and efficiently as you can. But is it fun?
When I play a 2-D platformer I expect punchy, exciting and satisfying gameplay. I unfortunately with Giana Sisters: Dream Runners just felt like I was going through the motions and after a few races felt like I had played the whole game.
The four gameplay options available to you at the main menu are ranked, local, quick match and custom match. You will spend most of your time in Ranked and Local when learning the gameplay mechanics. Local you can play with up to 3 bots ,local players or even fill up the party with online players that can join. Ranked throws you online where you are ranked on how well you do in races and will rise or fall according to your performance. I definitely felt the game lacked content at 9 tracks.
Races work by players looping around the same track and if you fall behind you are automatically excluded from that part of the race until a player wins. The player who manages to still be standing after everyone has fallen behind wins a star. Once a player is awarded three stars they win the race. You have an assortment of power ups to use against your rivals to win the race from boosts to minion-like creatures that will attack your rivals. My biggest issue with races was because the tracks just loop round, even one race starts to feel repetitive. On top of that if you haven’t unlocked any characters (there are four) you get one base character with a different colour for each player. Ultimately though this isn’t good enough to determine where your character is and found myself multiple times not able to find mine. As tracks can get very busy in certain parts you really have no clue where your character is.
One thing I did enjoy was the art style of the game. Dream Runners took inspiration from other 2-D platformers like Sonic and Rayman and it was an exciting blend of the two.
That being said the pivotal part of 2-D platformers is that the gameplay must be fun and interesting so the art style doesn’t save it I am afraid. After played the game for 30 minutes I honestly didn’t want to play anymore. I felt like I had to play for a few more hours to give it an honest review. If I am enjoying a game I will sit there for hours playing it but I had to take breaks with Dream Runners as I simply wasn’t enjoying it.
I cannot say Dream Runners is a bad game as it functions well but the game just didn’t excite me. I didn’t get that addictive feel when I play a platformer wanting to master every track. The game is fine for a few races when your friends come round but that is the problem and how I would describe the game. Fine.