Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is a platformer made by the Indie developer Black Forest Games. The game is currently available for PC and Xbox Live Arcade for $14.99 and 1200 Microsoft points respectively. Giana Sisters will be releasing worldwide on the PSN and on the Wii U in the near future. The game is the successor to the controversial Commodore 64 title The Great Giana Sisters and the sequel to the more recent Nintendo DS release Giana Sisters DS.
GAME NAME: Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams
DEVELOPER(S): Black Forest Games
PUBLISHER(S): Black Forest Games
PLATFORM(S): PC, PSN, XBLA, Wii U
RELEASE DATE(S): March 20, 2013
We would like to thank Brian Rowe for the opportunity to review Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams.
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is a blistering hardcore platformer with contrasting worlds. Warp Giana’s vivid dreams to alter your abilities and destroy the twisted creatures lurking within. Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams combines the challenge of retro era platforming with graphics that pack a visual punch and tight controls.
Fluidly morph between two dynamically different dream worlds to solve puzzles and combat grueling enemies. Players will have to intertwine sweet Giana’s twirling jump attack with Punk Giana’s hammering dash attack to survive the dualling dimensions.
The plot is fairly simple. You play as Giana and your sister Maria is abducted in the dream world. You have to try to save your sister from a dragon-like creature. In order to do so, you must manipulate your persona between a cute girl and a punk girl. Manipulating your persona also effects the settings of your dreams. As the game progresses the need for changing between the two personas becomes increasingly more rapid and is a necessity in order to get through several parts.
Being a platformer, it is very important to master the controls early. The controls are very well implemented, but at the same time, they are tight. This serves as a benefit though as some platforms are rather small and require precise jumping. The left analog stick is used for movement while the right analog stick is used to see a bit farther in any direction. The A button is for jumping, X button is for the punk girls dash attack, and the Y button is for the cute girls twirl ability. The left and right triggers are used to switch between the personas of cute and punk.
The game features 23 levels across the dreamlike universe, three of which are boss battles. The bosses you’ll encounter are ‘Hansel and Gretel’, ‘Octor Freud’ and the ‘Gurglewocky’. In addition to this, the game also features 12 achievements on Xbox 360 and will feature 12 trophies for the PSN version once released.
There is no failure for running out of lives, because you have unlimited, but dying does affect your score at the end of each level. You can die from enemies hitting you, falling, touching spikes, and a few other ways. Pretty much your standard platformer deaths, nothing out of the ordinary. After each level you are rated on how many gems you have collected, and how many times you have died. This is with the exception Time Attack Mode which rates you on time of completion for each level.
There are 5 gameplay modes to choose from: Adventure, Score Attack, Time Attack, Hardcore, and Uber Hardcore. Adventure Mode, which is the default mode, is how you unlock all the levels for other game modes. Score Attack has the objective of beating each level while collecting all the gems as fast as possible and defeating enemies for extra points. Time Attack Mode’s objective is to just beat each level as fast as possible without having to worry about the gems. Hardcore Mode is the same as Adventure Mode, but every time you die you must restart the level. Uber Hardcore Mode, as the name suggests, takes Hardcore Mode to the next level. If you die at any point in Uber Hardcore Mode, you must restart the entire game.
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams features several different kinds of collectibles, all of which are different variations of gems. The most common gem is a small blue gem that adds to your overall score. Yellow gems and red gems also add to your score, but they can only be picked up when in a specific persona. The yellow gems require you to play as the cute persona while the red gems require you to play as the punk persona. Another gem that is very useful is the medium sized pink gem that gives your character additional hit resistance. This allows you character to receive two hits opposed to the standard one hit death. The final gem, and the largest, are the huge blue gems that are often hidden or put just out of reach so you have to problem solve in order to reach it. This gem not only adds to your overall score, but it also unlocks additional content for the Gallery at the start menu.
The audio for Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams was done by the original The Great Giana Sisters composer Chris Hülsbeck and the Swedish heavy metal band Machinae Supremacy as well as Fabian Del Priore. The music is layered and has a noticeable change when switching between the two personas.
The overall sound effects when taking hits and jumping are also very well done and sound as they should. The dash and spin move have excellent complimenting sound effects for them.
The graphics are one of the greatest appeals to Giana Sisters. The cute persona’s world is very colorful and vibrant while the punk persona’s world is very juxtaposed as it is dark and shadowy. The background doesn’t just change from light to dark, but it shows the quick transition during the change and looks great throughout the game. In addition, the background never gets stale as it appears to be different for every world, and the changing sequences also become more interesting.
Down To The Nitty Gritty:
I’m goning to be completely honest that the original Giana Sisters game and the more recent DS release both flew under my radar. However, having had privilege to play Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, I can confidently say that this game has become one of my favorite indie games of all time. I am even on the search now for the DS version to get more Giana Sisters gameplay. The first thing that sticks out is the graphics as they are very diverse and vibrant. The game mechanics themselves are also very interesting and keep the gameplay fresh throughout.
The cool easter egg symbols made out of gems were great and made it more interesting to find as many gems as possible. My favorite one was an instance where the gems spelled out “I Heart U”. The game has several instances that you will have to take guesses or shots in the dark to find these hidden treasures.
There were instances where I kept racking up the death count on myself for simple, stupid mistakes like changing my persona at the worst possible time and getting killed by the vines or spikes that emerged from doing so. The game was extremely forgiving with the amount of checkpoints in the game. I never found myself getting frustrated, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself even during the difficult points. The developers must have known exactly where players would have trouble as well because it seemed every time I died I was only a stones throw from a checkpoint. I cannot stress enough how great Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is. With it being so widely available, I recommend giving the game a shot.
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