Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams Owltimate Edition – Review
Follow Genre: Puzzle Platformer
Developer: Black Forest Games
Publisher: HandyGames, Black Forest Games
Platform: PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4
Tested on: Switch

Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams Owltimate Edition – Review

Site Score
6.1
Good: ROCKING soundtrack
Bad: Stale old gameplay mechanics
User Score
8.3
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.3/10 (3 votes cast)

Iteration has been part of all industries. Keeping alive standards that hold giants up like Mario or Sonic, regardless of how it does or does not help the hobby. But iteration without innovation does nothing to keep the world of videogames fresh and interesting, because as you’ll notice even giants like Mario will liven up their games with new and interesting power-ups and mechanics. That’s why it is so sad to see time spent on a port (original review here) that does nothing with the chance to refresh the series or introduce new mechanics. Does that make a game worth the purchase? Let’s find out in this review of: Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams Owltimate Edition.

Story

An opening cutscene shows us the shadows of two sisters sitting on their bed, as a crystal flies in through the open window. Interested in the shiny object, the young sisters examine it, as a portal opens above their bed, sucking them both into the world you’ll be playing in. On the other side you’ll start playing the level and find a dragon that swallows your sister, before getting a tummy ache and flying off. With the hook and your goal now set, you’ll venture out to save your sister. The rest of the story is unfortunately extremely abstract or even nonexistent. Sometimes you’ll find some small details that may hint at a story, but for people that need a story to enjoy a game it’ll be far from satisfying to play.

Graphics

Giana Sisters is a tale of two pretties, literally. One of the important gameplay elements is a world switch, with both of your characters perceiving a different world from the other. One world is really cute and happy, but features aggressive looking goblin enemies. The other world is rough and punk looking, while the enemies are owls. Skulls turn into trees, wells and bridges appear broken down or completely new, and vines grow and turn into ivy to block paths. Playing through the game you’re forced to switch between the cute and punk aesthetics often, and you’ll get to be intimately familiar with the two different aesthetics. The switch between the two modes in the world is quite seamless, with objects and enemies morphing as you’re changing instead of having to load, render or pop into view, which makes a hell of a difference when you’re platforming and you’d lose control over your character for a while when the world loads around you.

Sound

The soundtrack actually rocks. Based on a punk sound that fits with the characters, listening to it was one of the bigger joys while playing through Giana Sisters. And while it does not change much from level to level, it is rocking enough to not get annoying so fast having it turned off. The rest of the game’s sounds just consist of your standard jump sounds, the sound you get when collecting gems and your abilities, background noise of water if you’re near some and enemies on the map. There is not a lot to talk about in that department, but that is all immensely compensated by the amazing soundtrack that underscores the game.

Gameplay

A puzzle platformer has a few key components that it needs to hit in order to be good. The controls need to be tight, so that players are always in control and do not get frustrated from deaths that could have been prevented given responsive action from the game or lag. Another point it needs to hit is the puzzles themselves, with bad or lacking puzzles making a terrible game altogether if that is the hook for a title. Graphics are a less important but still a gamebreaking part of a puzzle platformer, if you cannot see where you’re going or need to go, or cannot distinguish hazards from platforms. Giana Sisters hits two of these three main points. The controls are responsive and fast, and while playing we’ve never found ourselves dying for unfair reasons. Graphics, as mentioned before, strike a balance of being pretty, while also being clear enough to be able to know the difference between friend and foe. We found the puzzle department a little lacking however, with the only real ‘puzzles’ being locked paths that you need up to 5 keys to open, which are all in the area close to the path you’re on anyway, and it being more of a platform challenge.

One of the other major gameplay mechanics is the switching of the two characters, in-game known as cutie and punk forms. Both have a different ability, where cutie mode can twirl and descend more slowly on the fall, and punk has a short dash that can break blocks and kill enemies, and also allows wall bouncing in narrow paths. These abilities are key in most of the platforming and puzzling. The twirl can be reset after hitting an enemy, making you able to reach higher places or longer and hidden places you would not be able to reach with your normal jump. The dash can break some of the blocks and kill enemies so you don’t have to jump on their heads. Lastly; changing between worlds alters some minor things on the map. Some bridges get created that weren’t there before, gates are raised or lowered and more along those lines.

Conclusion

Innovation is important for a genre of games that has existed for -just- about as long as video games have existed. Unfortunately for us we’ve not found enough fresh mechanics to make the game interesting and making it unfortunately stale. The platform may be a little short on platformers right now, but with the announcement of New Super Mario Bros U for the switch, even though that is -also- a port, with the additional content announced for that game we cannot justify the ticket price for this title at the moment. It is not bad, but it only comes recommended if you’re looking for something a little more challenging it may be interesting, but there are versions of this game on other platforms with about the same gameplay, but with a much lower ticket price.

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Rating: 8.3/10 (3 votes cast)
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Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams Owltimate Edition - Review, 8.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Brustenhoven
Brustenhoven


Bryan, Dutch, gamer, metalhead. 24, and been playing games for as long as I can remember. Pokemon gold for life!

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