April 17, 2013

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams

Lasting First Impressions

The gaming industry has, as of late, looked back upon itself and decided it was time to reward long time gamers with new HD upgrades and remakes of classic arcade and console games.  Usually this entails a simple high definition upgrade to the original game but essentially delivers the same thing again.  Other games, such as the Super Mario Bros. series, has moved from their 2D origins to a fully realized 3D world, only to find themselves rehashing the same style they started with 20 years ago.  Back in the hayday of the Marios Bros. on the original Nintendo Entertainment System, another game was made available for other home systems such as the Commodore 64 and was, without hiding it, a complete clone of Mario Bros.  The Great Giana Sisters became the Mario Bros for those of us who were not fortunate enough to own a NES.  I, for one, loved The Great Giana Sisters so when Black Forest Games announced, in 2012, that a new Giana Sisters game was in development and funded through Kickstarter, I did not hesitate to support the project.  What they delivered, with Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, could not have made me happier.

Giana Sisters Screen 2

Twisted Dreams should stand as an example of how to take an old school IP and update it for today.  Graphically speaking, this game is absolutely beautiful and all the elements of the original platformer are still found here: collecting diamonds, the enemy owls, breaking blocks, and more.  Still sounds like a Mario game, right? Wrong. Twisted Dreams, while based on the Mario ripoff game, is far from anything Nintendo has ever brought us with the famous brothers.  In fact, we have a new platforming game unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.  Black Forest Games has essentially developed what could be considered two games in one.  In a new twist in gaming, players can switch their Giana sister from Cute Giana to Punk Giana with a simple button press, but what is truly amazing is how the world and the music seamlessly transform as this happens.  As seen in the merged screenshot below, you can clearly see that the developers have truly created two distinct versions of the Twisted Dreams world. The top image shows the nightmare world that Cute Giana inhabits while the bottom is the transformed world of Punk Giana.  Even the music changes without missing a beat from a sweeping epic orchestra to heavy metal punk riffs.  With the power to switch these worlds at will, Giana must save her sister from an evil dragon in this world of dreams.

Giana Sisters Screen 1

Utilizing tried and true platforming mechanics, players navigate three distinct worlds and fight three ever greater bosses.  With the added mechanic of switching worlds at will, players will have an incredible challenge on their hands as surviving each level will depend on their quick reactions.  Many areas will require world switching on the fly; jump from one platform to another that is only visible in the other world; running across a bridge that is part in one world and part in another.  Even the obligatory collections in the form of gems are scattered across both dimensions.  Gameplay starts out easy but quickly gives players a true challenge that only the best platformers will find themselves finishing.  Think you’ve got what it takes to master this game? After completing the entire story, you can try your hand at Uber Hardcore mode which gives you one life and one life only to complete the game in its entirety.  Twisted Dreams also gives players challenges to attempt to complete each level within a set amount of time.

The Great Giana Sisters started out as a Super Mario Bros. clone but Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams has surpassed the Mario Brothers and has given players something that no other platformer has done before.  This is how to bring an old school game into the new world.  This is no clone; it’s the new Giana Sisters and is something that will surely be used as an example of great next generation platforming.

Black Forest Games, I gave you an hour and I am IMPRESSED!

About the Author

Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.



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