Developer: Black Forest Games
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Tested on: PC
Giana Sisters: Dream Runners – Preview
Competitive games is what it’s all about right now. Everybody loves playing against their friends, owning them and then rubbing it in their face. Giana Sisters: Dream Runners is a game that offers just that. You race your friends on a map that loops around until you outrun everybody and they disappear off the screen.
SpeedRunners, a game widely played and famous for destroying many friendships finally has a competitor. Black Forest Games are taking on the fight with Giana Sisters: Dream Runners.
The game itself is pretty simple to play but hard to master, like most games. It can be played with a keyboard or controller. Basic movement are the arrow keys (really, people still use those for gaming?) but can be changed in the launcher before the game starts, other actions include swirling (slowing your fall by spinning), dashing, using a power up, sliding and boosting.
Other things that can be changed in the launcher before the game starts are the graphics quality and audio volume. Speaking of graphics and audio, Giana Sisters: Dream Runner has the best of both worlds. Graphics are really nice and the maps look great, player models also look great (and cute…) and it’s just a pleasure to look at. Music and sounds are also really nice. The music is very upbeat and fast and contributes a lot to the racing and competitive atmosphere.
Giana Sisters: Dream Runners currently features 9 maps 5 player models. You can play as a normal girl, robot, ninja, knight or a bird (the bird can not fly better than the rest, don’t worry). All maps are unique in their own way and you won’t find any repetitive elements, making it very pleasant to play. The first map gives you a nice tutorial about how the game has to be played, but you’re on your own for the rest!
So the goal of the game is to outrun your opponents so they disappear from the screen. Every time you do this you get 1 point, at 3 points you win the game. So how do you do this? Be faster than them! There are some tricks you can use on certain maps that can give you an edge, like taking a different, higher path which gives you extra diamonds. Diamonds fill your boost bar, the more diamonds you have, the longer you can boost! You can also try brute force and throw as many items at them as you can, but this will probably end your friendship.
There are a total of 9 different items, ranging from offence to utility. You can pick up a cannonball that you can shoot at enemies and dazes them, an item that drops 3 owls behind you (you get dazed when you hit them), an item that switches your place with an other player or entity, something that makes you dash through obstacles in a line, another item that twists the world and slows opponents, another that makes you invincible, a seeking meteor that stunts, a power up that dazes enemies and steals their gems and last but not least, a barrage of slowing pellets.
Apart from other players screwing you over, there’s also the environment. The map is usually swarming with tornadoes and some even have a lot of spikes that ruin your game when you get stuck in them. Tornadoes can usually be jumped over or you can slide under them, hitting them slows you down quite a lot. Another aspect that makes the game quite unique and dynamic are some kind of gateways and flying balls. When you hit one of these balls or run through a gateway, you twist the world. Various things can happen when you twist the world, like some platforms may disappear or tornadoes may appear or disappear.
As said, a lot of things can screw you over! On top of that, some areas of a map are rather hard to get past because of the precarious jumping and swirling you have to do. It will probably take some practice until you get good and learn all of the maps. Once you think you’re skilled enough, you can try ranking yourself and climbing the ranks to become better than your friends.
Giana Sisters: Dream Runners has received appraisal so far, but there’s also some downsides that hopefully will be fixed. Sometimes, the game says you lose when you outrun your opponents and are in first place, but this is obviously a very hard thing to detect and it’s probably still being worked on hard as we speak. Another thing is the options menu, the game would look so much cleaner and professional if everything was integrated in the game itself, instead of having an ugly gray panel where you have to change everything.
Giana Sisters: Dream Runners is without a doubt a very competitive game. A lot of things can screw you over but that’s what makes it fun and not repetitive. It’s a lot of fun to play with friends and even more fun when you can make them angry. Hopefully, the downsides mentioned will be fixed sooner or later and make the game even more fun than it already is.