Review: Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams
Platform: Xbox One/ Xbox 360 / PS3 / PS4/ PC (reviewed on Wii U)
Developer: Black Forest Games
Publisher: Black Forest Games
Release date: EU: August 22 2013 | US: September 05 2013
TL: A brilliant platformer with an amazing duality system.
Family Friendly?: Mostly. Check bottom of article for details.
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is everything it says it is and is absolutely stunning. The sequel to the 1987 Amiga game The Great Giana Sisters is something special, and is hardly recognisable next to its predecessor. The new games revival was started through a kickstarter campaign created by Black Forest Games. With an epic soundtrack from Chris Hülsbeck, Fabian Del Priore and Machinae Supremacy, engaging art work and an ambitious duality system, Twisted Dreams is easily one of the best made indie games on the Wii U’s eShop. Giana Sisters isn’t known for its hand holding, and you will be constantly learning from your mistakes, but this is what makes Giana Sisters a true challenge.
We enter Twisted Dreams as Maria is being abducted to the dream world where a giant dragon holds her prisoner. It’s up to her sister, Giana, who has now grown into a teenager since the last game, to rescue her sister from the dream world. Because she is at the stage of her life that is all about transformation she has now learned to manipulate her dreams. She must use her newly developed ability to jump between dreams and manoeuvre between her “cute” and “punk” persona while on her journey to rescue her sister. As per the last Giana Sisters game, Giana can pick up crystals to collect points and discover secrets.
The duality system in this game is something I’ve never experienced before, and certainly catches my attention right from the offset. Cute Giana has access to a twirl manoeuvre, which allows you to float between flying fish and spike punches. Punk Giana is equipped with a fiery dash which can be used defensively or to boost your sprint across gaps.
“The duality system in this game is something I’ve never experienced before and certainly catches my attention right from the offset of the game”
Not only does the shift in the dream-like state signify a change in skill, it also signifies a change in art style, level layout and soundtrack. The world switches between scorching hell-like creatures and a beautiful world of sunshine filled with lavish trees and button mushrooms. Platforms that were once translucent are now visible and crystals that were once unobtainable are now in reach. You can change the world at a touch of a button and the transformation is always astounding to me.
“The few bosses throughout the game are extremely challenging, to say the least”
Occasionally this can work against you when playing certain levels. It’s easy for the spikes and for the flying fish to blend in with the scenery and this can cause subsequent death. However, this doesn’t happen too often and only adds to the challenge of the game. There are a lot of check points throughout the game, so however challenging you may find the levels at least you will never have to go too far back into the level to start again.
Stars are collected throughout the game after completing levels, and are awarded on the amount of gems collected and how often you die. Collecting stars is fundamental to the game as they will unlock seals preventing you from fighting bosses. The few bosses you encounter throughout the game are extremely challenging, to say the least, but if you learn from your deaths – and there will be many – then you will find yourself enjoying the challenge presented to you. Eventually you will reap the benefits as you begin to unlock different modes throughout the game. It’s great that the game doesn’t end after 20 levels, and continues to unlock other modes such as score attack modes, ticking clock mode, time attack mode, hardcore and uber-hardcore modes.
Giana Sisters’ confidence is backed up with great mechanics that are simple and leave the game room to inspire you with a captivating experience. Giana Sisters has definitely stepped out from the shadows of Mario and if you end up enjoying the game as much as I do, keep an eye out for Giana Sisters 2, TBA in 2015.
- Amazing duality system
- Crazy art style
- Challenging bosses
- Sometimes obstacles blend into the background
Giana Sisters is a PEGI 7 as its art style and sound FX may be scary for children under the age of 7.