Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams [Review]
Back in July of this year Black Forest Games started a Kickstarter campaign to create Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams; a sequel to the 1987 game The Great Giana Sisters. The original sisters were basically a clone of the Super Mario Bros. and were consequently pulled from shelves. Thanks to the 6,149 backers, the sisters are back. As the story goes, the sisters go to their dream world to play; but this time Maria gets eaten by a dragon. Giana must now save her sister on her own, however, she has two sides.
Giana has a cute and a punk side. The cute Giana’s dreams are full of spooky monsters, demons, and is generally very grim looking. Even though she sees everything in a dark way she is still light hearted. This gives her the ability to do spinning jumps, which give her more hang time or just help slow her fall. The punk Giana sees things in the opposite light. Her dreams are full of fluffy animals and smiling suns. She is able to break through rocks and do wall jumps.
As you go through levels you will find and collect gems. Most gems are blue which can be collected by either Giana. However the yellow gems can only be collected by the cute Giana and the red ones are for the punk Giana. So in order to get all the gems you must switch between the two Gianas. Keeping in mind when you change characters the whole world changes. So a ledge you are standing on might disappear or an open space might become full of thorns. There are also hidden large blue gems which unlock pictures in the games gallery.
All in all this is a typical platformer, with the added challenge of switching between two characters to make it through levels. For example, there is one area where the only way to go is up, but you have to switch back and forth between the two Gianas in order to use all the platforms and get to the top. The controls to move are just the directionally keys or the direction pad if you are using a controller. The directional controls work great for both the keyboard and controller. As for the controls for switching characters using the special abilities, the controller is the way to go. With the keyboard controls I just keep hitting the wrong buttons. I think the problem lies in the buttons are too close together. Yes you can remap the keyboard buttons, but the controller has a perfect layout.
What really makes this game are the graphics and the music. I was shocked at just how good the graphics are for this game. The colors are so vibrate and the images are so sharp. It seems like a lot of platformers these days are keeping visuals simple with 2D cartoon like graphics. Even thought the gameplay is only in 2D it feels like you could run into the background.
As for the music, I just loved it. It has an old school 8-bit feel to it, but still has a very modern sound too. It’s also great how the tone of the music changes with which version of Giana you are. After all, a punk girl doesn’t typically listen to the same music as a cute girl.
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is a great example of just how good the Kickstarter program is. This is the best platformer I have played all year. All too often graphics and music are forgotten about in this style of games, but Black Forest Games nailed it.