Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams
 BLOG ABOUT THIS

Review: Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams

2:00 PM on 11.03.2012 // Audun Sorlie
  @AkumuAudi

Project Giana finally realized

Giana Sisters is a game that generally incites one response: plagiarism of Super Mario Bros.

When Black Forest Games launched its Kickstarter campaign for Project Giana back in July, the intention was to provide gamers the chance to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Giana Sisters with a unique new game. As one of the first Steam Greenlight games released, it's finally here for us to see Giana all dolled up and ready for her graduation.

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams (PC [reviewed], PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade)
Developer: Black Forest Games
Publisher: Black Forest Games
Release: October 23, 2012 (PC) / Early 2013 (PSN, XBLA)
MSRP: $14.99

Black Forest Games has kept a firm stance on its approach since launching the campaign to have the game formerly known as Project Giana released: to create something unique and exceptional, giving Giana a game that truly feels like her adventure.

Giana, now a teenager, is drawn into her dream alongside her sister Maria, and they have become separated. It’s up to Giana to save her sister and escape her dream, but Giana is now grown up -- she is no longer scared of her nightmares and hates the cute, sugary dreams she once used to love.

So in the center of Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, you’ll find the dream-change mechanic. At the touch of a button, Giana will switch between her twisted nightmare and cute dream, and depending on which she inhabits, she’ll also change her persona. In the twisted dream, “Cute” Giana will twirl and dance her way through the scary world filled with demons, while in the other, “Punk” Giana will bring her fire dash and aggressiveness out to combat the cute owls and sunshine.

Switching between these personas is essential. As the dreams mirror each other, obstacles and routes will appear depending on which dream you inhabit, requiring you to switch on the spot to progress or figuring out the best approach to switching between the abilities of the different personas.

Some spots call for “Punk” Giana to dash and bounce off walls and enemies, while others call for “Cute” Giana to twirl and glide through the air; there's a good amount of puzzles to solve. At certain intervals, boss battles will appear, also requiring things to be switched up to defeat them. Think Donkey Kong Country 2 and its tag system, just with less monkey business.

The difficulty increases steadily as progress is made, and Twisted Dreams also allows for players to go at their own pace. For those who enjoy exploring and treasure hunting, the stages are vast and feature numerous routes. For those who just wants to jump and run, the game still packs a challenge. On a standard run through, it's about 5-6 hours to get to the very end, so it feels a bit on the short side despite its 23 levels however.

Throughout each stage, there are also several hundreds of crystals. The blue ones can be picked up by either Giana while red are obtainable by “Punk” and yellow are specific to “Cute.” Reaching these different colored crystals often requires some strategy of interchanging the worlds to reach. Giant mega crystals are also scattered around to be found and collected for secrets.

Stages are also able to be replayed after completion to find all the crystals, and extras are rewarded after each stage depending on how many you found and the number of times you died. Some of the secret crystals are damn hard to find, so expect to revisit quite a few of the stages if you want a perfect score.

Several new modes can be unlocked based on your completion rate -- "Time Attack," "Hardcore," and "Uber-Hardcore" -- upping the ante and giving you only one shot at clearing a stage, or be sent back to the beginning. A gallery mode is also unlockable.

The controls are very responsive, and feel natural once you pick the controller up. Using an Xbox 360 controller, the button layout is properly balanced out to make all the abilities accessible without too much thought or practice, and sign posts on the first few stages will help you get the hang of things. With a keyboard, it's a bit more tricky to get the timing down however, and several sections require some finicky maneuvering that'll bring back memories of the submarine stages of Earthworm Jim so you're really better off using a gamepad to fully enjoy the game.

Great Giana Sisters was most famous for its soundtrack by Chris Hülsbeck back in the day, and they brought him back for this to go full circle. Like the dreams, the music will also change when the switch is made. The twisted world features Chris Hülsbeck’s new arrangements and compositions, while the cute features a metal rendition of these tracks by the band Machinae Supremacy. It’s a bit of a risky move to constantly have music change on the fly, but thankfully, they spent time balancing out the arrangements -- the switch is done with a subtle cross-fade. It’s a really great soundtrack, made all the more interesting by it being dynamic and interactive, though it would have been nice to see some more new compositions. Overall, the quality of the soundtrack isn't too hampered by this due to the strength of the music that is in the game.

Graphically, the game packs a visual punch and is really aided by the dream-twist mechanic. At the touch of the switch button, the scenery will come alive and transform itself before your very eyes, and changes are made as far as the eye can see. This attention to detail makes the game very fun to interact with, as castles and mountains will grow from the ground in the twisted world, while nature and rivers will flow through the screen in the cute world. The later stages feature some very nice lighting effects, and the textures are clean throughout. The art style is a tad inconsistent between some of the enemies, however, and can range from strangely realistic to overly cartoony.

The graphics also introduce some of the game’s more frustrating points, the most apparent being the lack of distinction between foreground and background. Enemies don’t always stand out from the vivid scenery, leading to deaths that feel cheap. Another issue is the fact that certain hazards come to life when the switch between the worlds is made, and might spring up right beneath you, or remain hidden behind a piece of foreground objects. Although it's not too often this happens, it certainly will at certain moments, which will undoubtedly cause some gritting teeth.

But issues aside, it is a rather wonderful little platformer at a great price that brings back the joys that were had some 20 years ago. It might not satisfy the needs of action gamers, but for those who appreciate a classic style platformer with plenty of challenge and responsive controls in the vein of Donkey Kong Country and Genesis-era Sonic the Hedgehog, it’s an essential purchase, with plenty of history attached and an ironic twist of fate by breaking new ground with Steam Greenlight and Kickstarter.



THE VERDICT

8.5

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams - Reviewed by Audun Sorlie
Charming - Not perfect, but it's easy to ignore the rough spots when faced with so many engaging design decisions and entertaining moments. A memorable game that's hard not to like and recommend to others.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Audun Sorlie, Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure AkumuAudi Tips
A Norwegian journalist and published author, specializing in video game music and salami. Having lived in Brazil, United States, and Europe, he has been featured in many magazines around the worl... more   |   staff directory





 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams


  Dec 23

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams gets physical, physical

bitComposer to publish boxed and digital console versions


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Discussion Discussion on Games

PStoid Episode 38: Doomed from the Box Art

Cblogs of 2/9/16 - Only Slightly Late Edition

Narrative Mistakes: Mass Effect's Reapers As Primary Villains

Journey to Become a Jedi Knight - Jedi Outcast

Waifu Wars - The End

Hindsight Part II: Unreleased Games of the Past

Robbing Kirby of his Greatest Asset

The meaning of The Witness (Part 3 of 3)

Friday Night Fights: War Never Changes Edition

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

SpaghettiOReilly avatarSpaghettiOReilly
And when I said "as" I meant "this." The funk has ruined my mind.
SpaghettiOReilly avatarSpaghettiOReilly
It's been ages since I've been as addicted to a game. That changed yesterday. I can't stop playing Crypt of the Necrodancer. Send help. My hands hurt.
JPF720 avatarJPF720
As I'm back to studying, I can't help but recall that while it took me a week to read 10 pages of psychology theory I managed to read an analysis on Killer7's plot, that was 100 pages long, in a day. Good times.
WryGuy avatarWryGuy
"I don't trust you, pal." "Well I don't trust YOU, guy." "I don't trust ANY of you, friend." This has basically been the Marvel themed Werewolf game we're having in the forums right now. Real popcorn material.
JohnSmith123 avatarJohnSmith123
"I don't have time to explain why I don't have time to explain." Then she explains anyway.
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
id Tech 5 is a damn fine engine, but it's way ahead of its time. If The New Order and The Old Blood together need almost 70 GB of space, I cringe just to think what an open world game would need using that engine.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I'm definitely snatching Quantum Break on Xbox One so I can get dat crossbuy. Screw the haters, I'm excited for it and it's exactly what I hoped for when it comes to W10 exclusive gaming and crossbuy.
VIRGO avatarVIRGO
I've done nothing but read Pointandclickbait.com articles and now that's all I want to write like...
Ckarasu avatarCkarasu
People who think that Smash 4 balance patches aren't coming because Sakurai said development has ended don't know anything. I doubt he'd just drop the characters and leave, given the potential balance issues. He's a professional, not an amateur.
ikiryou avatarikiryou
Starting over from scratch after dying in a roguelike MMO
Occams avatarOccams
I've been listening to the live stream of the phone call with the remaining militia jackasses in Oregon all morning and its the saddest, funniest thing I've heard in a while.
FakePlasticTree avatarFakePlasticTree
Next South Park RPG is releasing in the first fiscal year of 2017, apparently. It'll probably be fractured but whole. Can't wait! D':
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
Waaaait a minute... From a design standpoint.. Wouldn't a bodysuit look better with shoes/boots, thus .GASP. precluding bare feet? Say it aint so! :'''(
gajknight avatargajknight
Hey guys, there's a new episode of PStoid up. You should go listen to it, I hear Phil takes his shirt off. I mean, it's a podcast so you can't see it. But you can IMAGINE it!
Larxinostic avatarLarxinostic
Yesterday, I brought a banana with me to my job for my lunch break. Some yokel must have swiped it, for I never saw it again, nor got to eat it. My response when: [img]http://i.imgur.com/wrZt8SO.png[/img]
darrenhupke avatardarrenhupke
"At launch, playing through most of the single player content will give you enough Fight Money to get Alex for free!" Will it be possible to earn enough FC by April for the next character DLC? I'm guessing not.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Right, looking for advice. Just redeemed four old XCOM games from a humble bundle a few years back, so I wanted advice on which one I should give a looksie to first. Got 5 choices, kind of thinking terror from the deep or apocalypse. Any suggestions?
ikiryou avatarikiryou
Never be first to avert your eyes when locked in a staring contest with a cat. You must push through the pain if you ever wish to become truly whole, to win this eternal conflict of wills. Bonus XP is awarded on Thursdays!
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
S Magala Plate first fight! :D
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
I have basic knowledge of two other languages (with certificates to prove so) and I decided today that soon I shall be fluent in both. One at a time though.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -