3…2…1! The race begins! I frantically try to find the controls, searching for the way to move forward while the others leave me in the dust. I find the controls to be awkward for me at first, having the movement keys be arrow keys instead of WASD. They (meaning easy AI players, as I could not find any real people online) left me so far behind that I died from the classic “Oh, you’re off screen? Time for you to DIE” phenomenon that is common in so many games. I become frustrated as I cannot, for the life of me, figure out the controls…
Let’s try this again. 3…2…1! Now that I can move around, I feel I actually have a fighting chance! I move forward, speeding along faster than I ever have before… only to find I am still lagging behind! I discover, to my shock and horror, that even the easiest AI is still better than me! I try harder, refusing to let myself be beat by a stupid piece of code! I then discover how boost (hitting shift) by using crystals (one gets them by passing through special glowing areas). I zoom ahead of two people in front of me, leaving them in the dust. I then turn my attention to the last person I need to beat, only to lose at the last second…
One more time. 3…2…1! The controls feel smoother now… I can run, jump, hover/glide with ease, with the last move I have to master being to duck under obstacles (the game says to hit F15… I have NO idea what that is). I rush ahead confidently, knowing how to move around without hitting most of the obstacles. Having learned how to use the powerups, I take out some of my competitors, finding joy in their temporary confusion. I stay ahead of the others most of the race, with only a few slip ups. I win, and feel a sense of relief, knowing that I can beat the easy AI’s without too much effort now… The only problem: I know that real people and medium AI’s will be way harder, but who cares? I won!
Giana Sisters: Dream Runners is a racing game developed by Black Forest Games, published by EuroVideo Medien and released on Aug 26, 2015. It’s interesting in that it has a different feel and look than most other racing games. It doesn’t have planes, trains, automobiles or any other kind of motorized thing-a-majig. It involves four sisters running at first, with options for other animals as you win and unlock those characters. It is a moderately fun game…. once you can get a grasp for the controls. For me, the controls took some time to learn, as I am not used to having to use the arrow keys, WASD, the space bar and some other obscure keys in order to move and do anything other than die.
I personally also had some issues with the graphics settings. For my old computer I had to dial the settings way back, to directx 9, windowed, 720p and turned down some of the other settings from high to medium or even low. Of course, your results will vary depending on how powerful your computer is and how new it is. It may take some trial and error, but you will find the right settings for your computer within 20 minutes or so.
The game, once running, is fun to play. However, another issue I ran into is that whenever I would jump online, there would be no one else to play with. Now, that could be the result of a number of things, ranging from the fact that it is a new game with few people playing right now to the fact that I could be jumping on at a bad time of day. Despite this, you can still have fun against the AI players, and trust me, even the so-called easy AI is not easy to beat. It took several races before I acquired the skills to beat them. The last race I played, when I placed a medium AI into the lineup, I lost, despite the fact that I was playing at my best. Now, as I continue to play this game, I will eventually be able to beat the higher level AI. But this does not change the fact that the Easy AI is not easy to beat for new players, and heaven help you if you try to go against a Medium AI player, let alone one of the Hard AI players.
In addition to the obstacle of incredibly challenging AI players, there are, well, obstacles (and boosts). From stalactites to mini-tornados, bottomless pits to running through electric bolts that “warp the world”, wreaking havoc on those behind you, there are many hazards to avoid, flee and die from. The designers of the game placed the hazards brilliantly, as the hazards are placed in the most inconvenient and critical places of the map. For instance, passing through the electric bolt can cause the platform you were running on to collapse, forcing other players to run through a bunch of mini-tornados. The powerups are placed and designed in much the same way, being placed in critical areas and designed to be incredibly useful (like hitting an opponent, switching places with another player, becoming invincible for a little bit, anything to make the lives [real or digital] of the other players painful).
Giana Sisters: Dream Runners, despite its flaws, is still a fun game to play. It is full of colorful worlds packed with enough action to keep most players satisfied. I personally enjoyed playing, even though I had to 1) Swallow my pride, 2) Get my butt beat my Easy AI players and 3) Learn a new set of controls. While the game does not spoon feed you, it gives you enough hints for even a brand new player (such as myself) to learn fairly quickly and begin crushing those deceptively named “Easy” AI Players. It makes you work hard, but once you build up the skill, it is truly satisfying to watch the other players lose at your hands.
Giana Sisters: Dream Runners$9.99
Toughness of AI7/10
Quality of Fun9/10
- Nice Looking Maps
- Actually Fun Racing Game
- No AI Player is too Easy to Beat
- Fact that Easy AI is Hard...
- Learning curve is fairly steep...
- The AIs Have the Reflexes of a Ninja