Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is a platformer, where you play as Giana, a young teenage girl who is trying to save her sister who was abducted into the Dream World. Giana has to defeat enemies, evade spikes and switch personas to gain special abilities.
As previously mentioned, Giana has the ability to switch personas. She has a ‘cute’ side, who has the ability to twirl and float, allowing her to avoid falling into the hazards below. Giana also has a ‘punk’ side, which allows her to use an aggressive flaming dash attack, meaning that she can attack and bounce off of enemies and walls. Additionally, ‘cute’ Giana resides in the Nightmare World, while the ‘punk’ version lies in the Dream World. While using both personas is vital to completing the levels, each one is truly unique in how they play, as changing persona affects the playstyle (cute avoids damage while punk is aggressive), as well as altering the environment, enemies and music of the level.
The Nightmare World is dark and gritty, as you would expect. ‘Cute’ Giana faces skeletons, spiked traps and other monstrosities. The Dream World is what one would presume any young innocent girl’s would be – full of flowers and cute animals. The game looks brilliant, and there are a variety of levels to playthrough during the game including caves, castles, forests, tropics and underwater areas. Switching persona changes the aesthetics seamlessly, and as you will change from cute to punk, and back again, a lot during a level, you can really tell how much hard work went into it. Unfortunately, some of the hazardous environmental objects can be deceiving depending on what persona you are in. While playing, I died a few times while switching persona due to dangerous vines growing on the platform I was on.
Most of the time, it is not a sequence of “go to the right of the screen” to complete the levels. During one of the castle levels, I had to explore the castle collecting keys in order to continue onwards. There are countless extra areas that you can explore to collect extra crystals, with special ones unlocking art in the gallery. This brings a nice change in pace to the standard gameplay. The boss battles that appear are very interesting and fun, although can be quite challenging at times. However, much like Super Meat Boy, dying and experimenting is not discouraged, unless of course you are on an uber hardcore challenge.
The soundtrack to Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is superb; a pleasure to listen to. Once again, changing persona changes the music slightly. The orchestrated and heavy metal renditions flow seamlessly between each other, again adding to the characterization of the two personas, putting you in the mood to float across the map, or attack the enemies head on.
Unfortunately, there is not much in the way of a story. While sweet little cutscenes, such as the ones in Dungeon Defenders, could have helped a little, this could have detracted from the dream-like feel of the game. Nonetheless, the game is still very enjoyable.
In conclusion, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is a fantastic adventure game that you should go play. The amazing ability to switch between the two personas of Giana, which seamlessly changes the world and music, is a unique and fun feature. With long and interesting level designs, additional modes such as time/score attack, hardcore and uber hardcore, it is well worth the money.
+ Changing Persona is an amazing feature
+ Great level design
+ ‘Just right’ difficulty
- Occasional insta-death when switching persona
– Lack of story/context starts to make the game feel repetitive at times
You can find out more & purchase Giana Sisters over at Black Forest Games.