“HELLO MR. OWL, I’M GOING TO JUMP ON YOU!”
Giana Sisters DS is a squeaky-clean remake, developed with much love and attention paid, indeed. However, like all “remakes,” part of the original concept is lost along the way, making it seem underdeveloped, and at times, underdesigned. For all intents and purposes, Giana Sisters DS achieves what it sets out to do—it provides generally mediocre yet thoroughly enjoyable retro-influenced entertainment.
If you’ve been following the trend in the videogame industry where games are constantly being remade, you probably know what to expect from Giana Sisters, like new features. Of these new features, the stages and world map are genuinely decent updates to the game. Also, the collectible crystals are now available in two varieties, and collecting all the red crystals in a single world unlocks the bonus level for that world.
This remake also includes unnecessarily tacked-on DS controls (which also should have been expected), such as touchscreen and microphone functions. Luckily, use of the touchscreen can be kept to a bare minimum. Also, gameplay takes place entirely on the top screen, using the buttons on the DS, apart from the occasional touch-screen function.
Thankfully, the microphone functions can be deactivated entirely. It is not that they’re awful (although they are clearly tacked-on); it is moreso that, whilst riding a bubble-gum bubble, the DS microphone spazzes out and Giana will just float indefinitely toward the top of the screen. Deactivating the microphone controls takes less than a second and stops those inexplicable deaths during levels that require bubble flight.
One particular area where Giana Sisters DS shines is in its audio. The soundtrack, from beginning to end, is a Chris Hülsbeck-influenced score, which meanders around the musical themes of the original Giana Sisters. Any followers of Machinae Supremacy may recognise parts of their track, “The Great Gianna Sisters” (yes, completely misspelt) within the various musical themes in this DS remake.
Amongst other pleasing areas of this title, erotica artist Pikomi (hint, search him up on Deviantart) provided the illustrations and character designs. I thoroughly appreciate the character design and art direction, because it not only completely reinvents the series’ style, but it also makes the game much more kiddy friendly. And you might have realised by now, I like cute things.
Some dismay arose among fans of the series because Giana Sisters DS only contains one sister—Giana is on her own now. It’s unknown why the character of Maria was removed from the game, but she still lives on through the design of the Punk Giana power-up. Besides, only a small number of people complained about Maria’s disappearance, and to those people I flip the bird.
Sadly, the rarity of this title has restricted it to those mad enough to go to eBay or Amazon.de for it. DTP Entertainment should seriously consider a worldwide release; I believe this game has a great deal of potential for the UK alone, before even taking into account the growing number of casual gamers in the US and worldwide. Besides, this title is a guaranteed success if “Touch Generations” is slapped onto its cover.
And the potential for a sequel—well, does Giana Sisters DS have anything else it could offer? Wireless multiplayer, Maria as a selectable character, but most importantly—a Super Mario 64 parody? Imagine the absolute masterpiece that could be—and Nintendo would lap it up regardless of the overall similarity to their flagship Italian. C’mon, DTP—do something amazing. Gather the resources, and get ready to advertise with Ant n Dec, because Giana Sisters DS would take America and England by storm.
Take my word for it, guys. While this game is not the best game ever made, it is sure as hell a money-spinner, and a pretty damn good game, too.
If you’re unable to get ahold of Giana Sisters DS (because of reasons already made quite clear), try Giana’s Return, which is considered to be the unofficial sequel to The Great Giana Sisters. Or, check out the iPhone/iPod Touch port of Giana Sisters DS, which does not fail to deliver.
My favourite feature was the surprise unlock of one long level that consists of EVERY ORIGINAL GIANA SISTERS STAGE IN A ROW.