Preview: Giana Sisters Dream Runners
The long running Giana Sisters franchise is taking on a completely new venture with Dream Runners, one it pulls off admirably. A competitive multiplayer platforming racer, Dream Runners pits yourself and three opponents against each other as you race across a variety of stages ripe with traps, weapons and secret routes that you can use to your advantage. The fast paced and frenetic gameplay is ideal for local multiplayer, simultaneously evoking a sense of bittersweet joy and inner resentment as your friend uses a well-timed trap to boot you straight off the stage. I found myself swiftly jumping between stages to familiarise myself with all of the essential mechanics, as each stage can harbour different traps and weapons to test your abilities.
The main objective is to be the last player left on screen, and the first to achieve this three consecutive times is crowned the victor. As you speed through each level you collect gems that slowly fill your boost meter. Choosing a strategic time to use this is vital to taking the lead, especially when traps and weapons are such a constant threat. Thankfully you are rewarded for risky experimentation. Taking a more complicated route through a multi-layered path could net you additional gems and power-ups.
However the possibility of death is that much higher. The sense of satisfaction that rains down upon you when taking such an abundant risk pays off is so worth it though. Leaving your friends in the dust is the best way to experience Dream Runners. Playing with AI opponents is enjoyable, but certainly more flawed than the local multiplayer.
Visually, Dream Runners looks incredibly similar to the last Giana Sisters outing and this definitely isn’t a bad thing. The ludicrous combination of exuberant colours burst out of the screen, even if the character designs themselves aren’t the most attractive. The variety in the selection of stages more than makes up for this though. Ranging from lava infested catacombs to lush and expansive forests; there is plenty of eye candy here for you to feast upon. Each level feels contextually confined to the mechanics of the game however, and therefore feels somewhat restricted in comparison to their aesthetic design. Aside from some minor framerate issues; Dream Runners is shaping up to be quite the cutesy platformer.
Giana Sisters: Dream Runners is set to be a fun and immediately accessible multiplayer platformer with plenty of appeal. A rare treat for gamers with a liking for couch co-op style gaming. This title will be running onto PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC this summer, with a solid release date yet to be confirmed! We’ll be reviewing Giana Sisters: Dream Runners later this year.