Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams – A beautifully imagined experience
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is one of those games that when you are playing it, you are amazed with how seamless and beautiful it all runs. It has become one of my favourite modern platformers, and takes old concepts from classics such as Sonic and Mario and adds in enough new variety and crazy beauty to make you want to see each and every level. I went into the game with fairly mixed emotions – I had not really researched it much (other than reading the steam store info) and thought “yeah, Twisted Dreams looks cool… but unsure if it is exactly my thing”. I used to love platform games – although I was a 16 bit gamer, and to be one of those you better love platformers, since around 50 percent of the bloody titles were platformers (I am only slightly kidding)! But recently our relationship has soured, and I guess we both felt like seeing other people – me, I’ve been in a serious relationship with fighting games, FPS and MMORPG’s… platformers kind of drifted about for awhile. Now they are starting to make a comeback, and there have been a few really good examples – most recently Deadlight. But now, it must be said, that Giana looks and feels beautiful.
Twisted Dreams – Beautiful Graphics
There are some who say that 2d games are not beautiful, those people are wrong. Trine (especially the second) and the already mentioned in this article but still highly relevant Deadlight are examples of how that isn’t true. Sure, Deadlight ‘cheats’ by using the unreal engine, but even so, it looks incredible. Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams on the other hand just looks like something out of a Disney movie and then something from Tim Burton’s imagination the next. As you ‘shift’ between ‘realities’ (default the Right Trigger for those using a 360 pad) you see everything morph around you. The cute cottage in the background suddenly becomes a tomb, and the log bridge suddenly bones. It looks amazing as it shifts in real time, the transformations smoothness to me almost as impressive as the graphics itself. Everything, the enemies, characters down to the waterfalls are all animated with obvious love. It is not just impressive looking, it is done with style.
Dreamy Sound ?
There is little in the way of voice work, but there are sound effects until the cows come home. More than that, there is an impressive music track that just pushes you forward and makes you want to progress. As you warp the reality in Giana Sisters, you’ll find the music changing along with it. The ‘nightmare’ worlds track having a slightly gothic tone to it.
The Gameplay of Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams
Is not quite perfect, but it is pretty damn awesome. If you are a fan of platformers you will be in for a treat. There are unlockables galore (including time attack modes for example) and the ability to replay stages if you want to beat old times or collect something you missed. Your character can of course jump, you can also spin in the air which gives you the effect of being able to travel great distances (if you were fortunate enough to play Earthworm Jim back in the day, you’ll get the general idea). You can also launch yourself forward like a meteor, and like later Sonic games you can bounce off of certain enemies and surfaces. It’s important to constantly switch between the two unique worlds. For example, a gate might be blocking it in one world and so you phase and can pass, or possibly a spike trap is there in one and not in the other. Other times you need to switch while performing complex jumping puzzles. Say for example a wall you need to bounce off is not there at the bottom in world a, but is in world B. However, half way up, the reverse might be true meaning you need to quickly switch as needed. Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams is cleverly designed – if I had to criticize it, it would be the difficulty ramped up a little too quickly between a few worlds. But that’s just something you will quickly adjust to, and hardly worthy of note.