Giana Sisters – Mario Bros. Little Sister
Tested version: 1.4.2
Latest version: 1.4.7
Requires Android: from 2.2
Giana Sisters >><< Mario Bros.: today’s featured app's name says it all, right? Giana Sisters is a Mario clone, and it is now available for Android. The game has been around for years – 2 decades according to the developers – and I do vaguely remember a C64 version from a few years back. Then apparently there were some copyright complications (Nintendo was not too happy, according to the rumours at least), and the game disappeared from the Market… Only to resurface as a cult game, with avid fans spending big bucks for rare original copies. Copies were going for up to 250EUR back in 2005—collector’s items in other words. Let’s see what the Android version has in store for us.
Features & Use
Test device: Samsung Galaxy Nexus
Android version: 4.0.2
As mentioned Giana Sisters is Mario Bros. clone, and a not particularly subtle one at that. The concept is a 1-to-1 adaption of Mario.
Your character is fun and cheeky, the gameplay is jump ‘n’ run and the power ups are balls of fire that you can launch at your enemies. Should you not be able to toss fire balls at them you can always jump on them or avoid them, especially seeing as some opponents are invincible, or rather they can’t be killed off at all.
There’s more than baddies obstructing the way towards the level goals: holes in the ground, and mind you don’t stumble into one lest you want to start the level all over again.
Collect the stars in order to score more points and even rake in extra lives; the faster you finish a level the higher your score will be.
Red stones are hidden throughout the levels. Collect these and a bonus level will be activated after you successfully complete a level.
A lot of aspects are very reminiscent of Mario: the menu in form of a map, the big boss enemy…
There are not terribly many settings options, just deactivating the sound or changing the language. That said, a ‘Controls’ feature is listed which currently only explains the controls, but leads us to believe that there may be more than one control mode in the future.
As far as the app’s soundtrack goes, you will have to make up your own mind. The developers describe it as legendary, I found to become a bit annoying the longer I played.
Giana Sisters is a pretty good Mario Bros. clone. Seeing as Nintendo still hasn’t released an official version of Mario we have to contend with other jump ‘n’ run style games for now, and Giana Sisters is a fun one.
Screen & Controls
The Giana Sisters controls are actually pretty neat: there’s no fixed d-pad so what happens instead is that users can make the d-pad appear at will by placing their thumb on the left side of the display. You then swipe in the direction you want the character to move in.
Drawback: you can’t really tell where you placed your thumb to begin with, meaning it may happen that you’ll swipe in one direction but mean to run in the other.
Furthermore, controls are fairly slow to react and not very precise.
I like the graphics a lot: they’re cheeky, quirky and fun and look great on AMOLED displays. Both the characters and backgrounds are lively and animated.
Speed & Stability
Giana Sisters is relatively fluid, but there were some bumps and lags along the way, despite dual core. Furthermore, it happened more than once that the game stopped reacting after I had briefly switched off the display, meaning you can’t just pause away as you please, which is a bit annoying.
Giana Sisters is available for 3,99 € from the App Center. There are 112 levels, but almost four Euro is a bit too steep IMO.
There is an option to buy 10 extra levels for 79 Cent and here I really have to say these levels could’ve been added as an update/bonus.
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