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Should I be excited about… Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams

Andrew Gozillon takes a twisted trip down memory lane.

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is a Kickstarter funded project formerly under the alias Project Giana and in development by Black Forest Games. It’s a spiritual successor of the cult classic The Great Giana Sisters that was released way back in 1987 and perhaps more importantly it’s also the sequel to the more recent Giana Sisters DS for… you guessed it the Nintendo DS!

This game is slated for release in the near future for the Windows, XBLA and PSN markets but currently has a Preview that allows access to two pre-beta levels (and despite being pre-beta I had few problems yay!) to give us a taste of what their Kickstarter Project is all about.

Right, I’ll start this off by heavily emphasising the need for a Xinput Control or any other PC compatible 360 controller whilst playing this preview to fully enjoy it. Right now the keyboard functionality for this game feels pretty clunky, kind of like playing one of those dime-a-dozen rushed production SNES games made by some nondescript company. However, right from the start of the preview you’re warned about this with it telling you the game’s optimized for Xinput controllers, so no hard feelings there. I just hope they sort this out before release, since a few PC gamers like to get their rage on about this sort of thing.

Other than the slightly annoying factor of having no PC adaptable controller I found the experience enjoyable, partially since as soon as I entered into the game world I was blown away by the music and also to a lesser extent by the art style of the game (I am more of a music freak than a graphics whore). Also great is the fact that to my great enjoyment, part of the gameplay involves switching between two forms, one that’s a cutesy girl avatar and the other a badass punk girl! Each form has a separate jump skill; one which causes the avatar to go into a spinning motion that allows you to glide and the other turning you into a flaming, bouncing ball of death.

Both of these forms also heavily influence the game world around you graphically, musically and sometimes mechanically. The biggest noticeable change and one of the more visually unique things I’ve seen done in a game for a while is that every time you switch form, the world seamlessly switches between a darker and more oppressive world into an lighter, happier looking one. For example the first level has a ton of mushrooms which change from lovely little mushrooms you’d expect to see in a Disney film, into towering dark mushrooms that look like they’ve jumped straight out of a tale from the Brothers Grimm.

The music style also changes between two variations on the original Giana Sisters menu theme, both of which are awesome. Each of the songs fits a form one being full of guitar riffs and bad-assery, the other being a little bit mellower with pianos and a chiptune feel to it.

Changing form causes areas to become blocked off due to obstacles appearing in one form and not the other, platforms moving differently, enemy behaviour changing, pickups being separated into 3 types (neutral, punk and cute) and being collectable in only one type of form.

After the initial fun of spamming form changes to admire the effect, I decided to work my way through the tutorial, which I think could do with some textual input in addition to all the pictures. From there I went on to the next level in which the difficulty went up quite a bit and I was saddened to find out there was no change in the music. It took me a good while to get through the 3 main platform puzzles in this zone to my chagrin. But after completing the preview I can say I like where the game is heading. All it needs to do is fix the clunky keyboard controls and add a bit of variety to the music and I’d be more than happy to dream away another few hours of my life with the Giana Sisters.

Should I be excited about… Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams? – YES!

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