Review: Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams – Director’s Cut
The Giana Sisters franchise has a pretty interesting history that I’d recommend taking some time to read up on. The short of it is that the original Giana Sisters released in 1987 and was strikingly similar to Super Mario Bros. So much so that the game had to eventually get pulled from store shelves completely. Just five years ago Giana Sisters returned as a DS game that served to be a sequel/remake of the original. The third game, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, was then developed by Black Forest Games (made up of members from the DS game’s development) for release on consoles and PC. In the time since the original release the Giana Sisters have distanced themselves from Mario and taken on their own unique identity.
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams opens with one of the two sisters being kidnapped by a dragon. It’s up to the other sister to adventure through a large number of levels collecting gems, taking down bosses, and even twisting the world itself. As one of the two Giana Sisters you have the ability to twist the world around you which changes the appearance of the world as well as yourself. Switching between both a yellow and red haired version of yourself also grants the ability to use specific powers. The red haired version allows you to dash in any direction, rapidly bounce off walls, and even chain dashes together as you take out enemies in succession to reach high places. Conversely the yellow haired version gives you a gliding ability that can be used to manuever through tight situations. In certain instances both abilities can be used while twisting the world allowing for some really fun gameplay opportunities. Twisting the world and using each ability together feels completely natural.
Each stage in the game contains hundreds of gems and often times allows for multiple routes through a stage. In my experience I rarely found every gem on my first playthrough of a level and there were a number of times that I only found half of them. While each level ends in the same location the few branching points in each level gives reason to play them at least a second time. If you’re up for collecting everything the gems are just one way that the game offers up some replay value. (The others consist of time trial modes, hardcore difficulty settings, and even some bonus levels that are themed after Halloween and Christmas.)
The environments in Giana Sisters all look fantastic and watching the world morph as you twist things around never gets old. While there are differences the art direction and backgrounds actually put me in the mind of Trine. The only minor gripe I have is in a certain set of platforms that would only become solid in one version of the world. Some of these platforms would blend in with the world in such away that it would sometimes be difficult to discern whether or not I could land on the platform. That aside Giana Sisters looks pretty fantastic.
While it takes a little while to happen the game ends up taking you across a pretty large variety of locations from the forest, a castle, a beach, underground, and even on a floating pirate ship. Unfortunately there’s not as much variety in enemies. I found the boss designs to be well done, but it’d be nice to see a bit more variety with the general enemies.
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams surprised me. It’s a mechanically sound platformer that, considering the origins of the franchise, has managed to differentiate itself in a pretty big way. Simply put Giana Sisters now feels like one of the most unique platformers on the market.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- The twisting mechanic is really cool and it never gets old watching the world change around you
- Great level design
- Switching between both of your abilities feels completely natural
- The environments look really great
- Holiday themed stages
What I Dislike:
- Sometimes platforms can appear solid in one world when that's actually not the case
- I wish there was more enemy variety