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Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams (Video Game Review)

The Giana Sisters were initially introduced to the gaming world in 1987 with a shameless clone of the original Super Mario Bros. that was obviously meant to cash in on the success of the Italian plumbers that dominated the gaming world at the time. Despite being a pretty blatant knockoff of the NES' crown jewel, Giana Sisters received praise among critics and was a fairly successful title that saw release on nearly every system of the late 1980s and early 1990s not named Nintendo. The series would continue on with many remakes, ports and mods, but it wasn't until last year that Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams would release for PC after a highly successful run on Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight with the best release the series has seen that was completely unique unto itself. Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is a fun platformer set in a colorful world that easily trumps all other releases in the series, and many other games in the platformer genre.

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams stars the title character Giana on a mission to rescue her sister Maria from her captors in the Dream World. Giana possesses magical abilities that will be the key to her success in the game as she travels between worlds and uses her own powers and the abilities of her alternate form to take her foes leading to an eventual showdown with a deadly dragon that holds her sister prisoner. There are over 20 stages included in the game that are spread across three worlds. Like its old school predecessors, the storyline of Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is an afterthought that is rarely referenced between the opening scenes of the game and its ending, but it isn't really necessary for this type of game anyhow.

The main action in Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams revolves around the ability to switch between the two worlds and characters. The normal Giana has limited fighting ability beyond jumping on the heads of enemies, but she also has the ability to twirl around to gain extra height on her jumps while slowing gliding down to the ground. The punk Giana on the other hand can turn herself into a fiery ball that can quickly launch into the air, through obstacles or smash into enemies dealing massive damage. Switching between the two characters also changes the environment and allows new areas to be accessed or even unlocking helpful environmental attacks that are necessary in many enemy encounters. The game gets progressively more difficult after clearing stages, but it never becomes too hard. Some stages become almost unbearably repetitive, but boss stages are always a thrill and offer a challenge of pattern recognition and quick reflexes. Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is a safe platformer that doesn't change the genre but instead offers good fun for fans of platform games.

For a game brought about by Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is a finely polished game that is one of the best looking downloadable titles out there. The colorful worlds of Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams are varied, and character models and bosses are equally unique. The game features a strong soundtrack with composer Chris Hülsbeck back from the series' earlier releases, and the two main themes of the game switch along with the two characters and alternate realities. The game controls fine making you rarely blame the game for your untimely death. The major drawbacks come in the additional game modes and unlockables for the game. You'll collect many gems throughout the game, but there is little incentive to do so with no in-game boosts or major unlocks available for doing so. There are a few game modes outside of the main campaign including Score Attack, Time Attack, Hardcore and Uber Hardcore, but Score and Time Attack tend to get boring quickly, while the Hardcore modes are simply too difficult to be fun. Still, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is an incredibly entertaining game for the 5-6 hours it will take to complete the campaign and try out the additional game modes, and you can decide if that is worth your $15. Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams isn't the best platform of the past year, but it's still a fun game that is well worth checking out.

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is now available for PlayStation Network, Xbox LIVE Arcade and PC and can be purchased for $14.99 or 1200 Microsoft Points. Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is rated E by the ESRB for Mild Fantasy Violence. For more information on the game, check out the official Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams website.

Game Features:
  • Single Player
  • Soundtrack by Chris Hülsbeck
  • Online Leaderboards
  • DLC Support
  • Trophy/Achievement Support

  • Game Information:
    Developer: Black Forest Games
    Publisher: bitComposer Games
    Platforms: PlayStation Network, Xbox LIVE Arcade (reviewed) & PC
    Release Date: March 21, 2013

    Score: 7.5 out of 10
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