Giana Sisters won’t win any awardsfor creativity, but the gameplay is solid and the high fun factor will keep youcoming back for more.

If you love Super Mario Bros. buthave always found it just a bit too masculine, then your dreams are about tocome true. Giana Sisters gives you all the brick-breaking, fire-throwing,flag-reaching action you could want, and it wraps it up in a tidy femininepackage.

While there’s no doubt that thisgame is a total rip-off of the Nintendo classic, it’s not a pixel-for-pixelre-skin. The levels are new, the bad guys are different, and the controls feellooser and more jaunty. None of these are bad things. The game is actuallyreally fun, which proves once again that if you’re going to steal, you might aswell steal from the best.

The paper-thin story tells the taleof a blonde-haired girl whose treasure chest full of diamonds explodes,blanketing the 2D platform-filled land with her gems. Her only recourse is tohop, skip, and jump around until she gets them all back. By herself, she’s weakand can be killed with one hit. But nab a powerup, and she transforms into herred-haired, fireball-slinging sister.

You take control of the Giana girlsusing a simple left/right D-pad and buttons to jump and shoot. The touchinterface is responsive and totally up to the task of navigating the perilousterrain you’ll encounter. And make no mistake: The environments are expertlycrafted, with pits, platforms, and enemies packed into every level. The stagesare fairly short, too, which makes for great on-the-go gaming.

Like in all iDevice platformers,falling in pits due to the lack of tactile feedback from the touch buttons canbe annoying. Giana Sisters sidesteps this issue by placing checkpoints in thelonger levels, meaning that you’ll never be put back very far when you bite thebig one.

Giana Sisters is a very fun game,but we have to note its astonishing lack of creativity. This game borrowseverything and pioneers almost nothing. From pipes to powerups, breakablebricks to gem boxes, this game is a shameless clone of Super Mario Bros. Thethings that set it apart, like the chewing gum bubbles that allow you to float,are nice touches, but they’re very few and far between.

For a game that originally came outfor Amiga and Commodore 64 more than 20 years ago, it’s impressive that GianaSisters can still provide such enjoyable gameplay. The original 32 levels areintact, an impressive 80 new ones have been added, and the whole thing hasreceived a pretty facelift. That’s a lot of bang for your buck. And since Mariowon’t be making an appearance in the App Store any time soon, we encourage youto give this one a try.

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