Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams
Published and Developed by Black Forest Games
Available on the PC. Coming soon to XBLA and PSN.
When I first started reviewing Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, I didn’t know that it was a 25 year old IP, although I knew about the Kickstarter and the Steam Greenlight projects. The original 2D platformer title was released back in 1987 under the title The Great Giana Sisters. While that one received quite a bit of praise praise, it got into some legal issues with Nintendo by being too similar to Super Mario Bros.
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is a 3D side-scrolling action/platformer game developed and published by Black Forest Games. In it, you control Giana in a quest to save her sister Maria, who’s been trapped in Giana’s dreams.
In the game, you’ll find yourself with an interesting dream-changing mechanic. At the touch of a button, each stage feels like two different games. As you control Giana, you can seamlessly change the planes within the dreams into either dreams or nightmares. In the dream plane, Giana twirls and floats, while in nightmares Giana can shoot out in any direction as a fireball. What I found quite funny was when playing in dreams the world is dark and brooding, while playing as in nightmares the world is all cute and colorful. Talk about twisted.
Stage progression basically revolves around getting from point A to point B while collecting crystals. You need to change planes to collect all the crystals – since they exist in dream and nightmare – and to find hidden areas inside the stages. Doing so will allow you to complete each stage at 100%.
What I liked a lot was the constant checkpoints in each stage, since you can mess up and either take damage or fall down a pit or some spikes. You need to play calmly and not rush things since you need to collect stars inside each stage, which unlock the last stage inside each world. The game can get quite challenging if you rush it, so be prepared to die a lot!
The controls are fluid and responsive which is a must for platforming games. You can play with the keyboard, but I recommend playing with a gamepad. Being a platformer with the need to constantly and quickly change planes, you’ll need a gamepad. In my opinion, playing with the gamepad provides a smoother playing experience.
The graphics and character designs in the game are really nice. They range from dark backgrounds and evil creatures to the fun and colorful areas filled with cute animals, and all look quite good. Changing planes looks specially nice as you can see certain areas and the back and foregrounds transform within each stage.
While this is a good-looking game, I sometimes had some problems trying to distinguish parts of the stages. Sometimes I found myself wondering if it was safe to jump into certain places, or occasionally found enemies and platforms that blending into the background so well that I didn’t notice them, but for the most part I didn’t have too much trouble with that. Despite these problems however, the game still looks great.
The sound effects on the game are very good. Every action has its own sound: Giana grunts every time you jump, you get beeps with every gem collected, twirling has its own sound and so does the fireball. The music is where the game shines though, as it has a great soundtrack which contains music from The Great Giana Sisters composer Chris Hülsbeck and Swedish metal chiptune band Machinae Supremacy. The tunes change every time you switch planes, with poppy beats for the dream plane, and hard rock chip tune metal (they call it SID-metal since they use a SID chip from a Commodore 64 tomake the sounds) for the nightmare plane. You would think the change between the music styles would be jarring or unpleasant, but the music is smooth and will catch your attention with each change. I’m a fan of this game’s soundtrack.
I got to admit that I’m a platform and action game fan, (I’ve been playing them since the NES came out) so I really enjoyed the time I spent playing Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams. With a great soundtrack, nice graphics and smooth gameplay, I really recommend this game. If you really like platformers or old school games then I highly recommend this game for you, otherwise you might not like it if you don’t. But believe me that you’ll find yourself having a lot of fun.
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