After receiving funding on Kickstarter years ago, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams has made its way to just about every modern console. Naturally then, with the boom of the Nintendo Switch and the sheer amount of titles have been re-released on it, it had to launch on Nintendo’s newest console too. This isn’t just a standard release though but rather the ‘Owltimate Edition’, bringing with it the previously released DLC as well as a few bonus extras.
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams puts you in the role of Giana, who has to adventure through the Dream World in order to rescue her sister Maria who has been kidnapped by the viciously villainous dragon Gurglewocky. The only way to survive in the Dream World and make her way to Maria is to manipulate the environment around her though, all whilst embracing both sides of her personality: the ‘cute’ and the ‘punk’.
This rescue mission sees you working through a series of fantastical 2.5D levels, all whilst jumping and bouncing around, hovering from platform to platform, smashing enemies, and collecting the myriad of collectibles that are scattered around. Sounds a bit run of the mill, right? Well, the game also has one key feature and the clue is in the name – you’re essentially able to twist the Dream World between a light and dark version, with each one changing the level’s layout as well as your abilities.
Shifting between light and dark is seamless and it looks bloody impressive in-game. Not only does the colour palette suddenly change, but your surrounding morph in front of your eyes too – it goes from looking light-hearted and lively to murky and dark. Of course, it also changes things up from a gameplay perspective too, with new pathways cleared for the player to venture across and additional obstacles put in your way. Giana’s abilities change up too, with her cute and pleasant persona able to glide across levels carefully, whilst her dark and punky persona is able to beat up enemies with quick darting attacks.
It makes for a neat gameplay experience, though the game is a little guilty of playing it safe with its level design. Don’t get me wrong, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams’ world is fun to explore and it offers some variety, but you start to see more and more hallmarks of traditional platformers as you play and some levels can start to feel a little repetitive. I never got bored whilst playing, but outside of the dream-shifting there isn’t a whole lot here from a gameplay perspective that you wouldn’t have seen before.
Whilst Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams might play it safe from a gameplay perspective, that doesn’t mean that it’s an easy game. There are plenty of tricky platforming sections to get through that’ll really push your skills to the limit, whilst having to dream-shift on the fly and react quickly will certainly cause more than a few deaths as you work through each level too. Whilst it’s a difficult game though, it never gets frustrating – there’s a satisfaction to be had in surviving through each problematic scenario that the game throws your way and it’ll certainly keep you on your toes.
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams has launched on other platforms in the past, but the Switch’s ‘Owltimate Edition’ comes with all the bells and whistles. This includes the previously released ‘Rise of the Owlverlord’ DLC, brand-new levels, and even additional cutscenes – there’s certainly plenty here for you to get through. Not only that, but additional game modes like Time Attack and Score Attack are present too, ensuring you’ll get plenty of hours out of the game before you’re done with it. It’s certainly a meaty package and one that’s worth returning to even if you only played the game in its original form.
One thing I have to compliment Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams on is its visuals, with the game looking attractive throughout no matter what dream state you might be in. I’ve already mentioned the transition between the light and the dark side of the world looking cool, but each level itself is also packed full of charming details that make them incredibly pleasant to explore. The only issue I really had was that certain obstacles in levels almost blended in with the colourful backgrounds (an issue that is more prominent when playing on the Switch’s handheld mode), but it wasn’t a big problem in the long-run. It’s just a pretty little game, with the attractive environments making the adventure feel all the more delightful to head out on.
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams – Owltimate Edition offers an enjoyable platforming adventure that doesn’t necessarily revolutionise the genre, but has more than enough of its own ideas to keep you hooked in until the very end. Add to that a challenging but satisfying difficulty, a very pretty world to explore, and a heck of a lot of content, and it’s easy to see that it’s a title that platforming fans won’t want to ignore.
Developer: Black Forest Games
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC