Monday, May 18, 2015

Would I have bought: Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams

Continuing my series of semi-review first impression... things, we have another indie side scrolling platformer! What a twist! Today is different however, this game is in 3D!
More accurately, this is what people tend to call a 2.5d platformer, a game with full 3d graphics but gameplay similar to oldschool titles.

Remember, this is less of a review and more of an impression on whether I would have bought this outside of a cheap bundle of games.

Giana Sisters is a game with a very strange history of which I only learned after I had already played this game, had I known it my interesting might have gone up somewhat.
Originally a game for the Commodore 64 released in 1987, it was essentially a clone of Mario Bros, even copying the mushroom theme of the levels.

It was followed up by a Nintendo DS remake many years later in 2009, removing its nature as a clone of Mario, it was met with decent reception but no widespread acclaim. It also received an iOS port later on.

Now we come to this game, the third game in the series and a complete reboot of the series by the developers of the second game, who formed an Indie development studio after their parent company went under.

The spite art is replaced with crisp 3d visuals, the classic platformer gameplay replaced with modern, speedrun focused gameplay designed to be replayed over and over to maximize your score on a level.

When I got this in a Humble Bundle I must admit, I didn’t care about it at all, I played it for about four minutes and put it down. Only after coming back to it did I understand that this game is actually good.

Like most Indie Platformers, this has one main gimmick, the ablity to switch between a light and ‘dark’ version of the titular protagonist Giana, both with a different skill.
The light Giana can do spin jump that slows her falling, and the dark Giana has a rushing arial dash useful for defeating enemies and smashing things in your way.

One thing I really liked is that when you change characters the stage seamlessly morphs artstyle into a dark or light version, but the levels are reversed; light Giana gets the dark level and vice versa. The music also switches from a classic soundtrack made by the original game’s composer, and a hard rock remix of the same songs.

The gameplay is fast; when you die you instantly restart at a checkpoint with no lives to worry about like older games, leading to a game that even when it gets hard isn’t frustrating to play, because you can just try again right away.

Would I have bought Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams? Not at all, and that’s a damn shame. The title and screenshots on Steam were not something that intrigued me, but I’m very glad I gave it another chance.

So, would I have bought Giana Sisters? No, but I’m sure glad I did.

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