Verfasst: 6. November
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is a 2D platforming game whose central mechanic is the ability to switch between two versions of the same stage – a “light” version and a “twisted” version. The game is very mechanically simple, with the main character possessing the ability to move, jump, and use one of two double jumps, in addition to the primary mechanic of switching between worlds. While the idea sounds like it has potential, the game exhausts itself of ideas very quickly. The levels of the game are uninspired and quite long, especially given that the game encourages the player to collect every single one of the many, many hundreds of gems scattered across each level. On the whole, the game is very weak and not worth your time or money.
The gameplay in Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is quite basic. Your character can run, jump, and stomp on enemies to kill them. In addition, your character has two special double jumps – one of them is a jump-twirl, which propels the character upwards an additional distance and allows them to descent at a slower, more controlled rate. The other power is the fireball – your character propels herself a longer distance than the twirl jump in a ball of flame, which can kill enemies you can headstomp on if you hit them with it, regardless of your angle of attack. Both abilities end up heavily utilized – the fireball ability for breaking through walls and bouncing from enemy to enemy, the twirl-jump for navigating several sections of the game – but neither really end up with all that much depth to them. The fireball has the seemingly-neat idea to use it to richochet around off walls, allowing the character to rapidly ascend or descend through narrow passageways, but ultimately, while this seems like a neat idea, it doesn’t really end up being all that meaningful.
The game takes its name from the ability to “twist” the world around you, switching between the light world version and the twisted world version of the level. This doesn’t really change the level much, but it does cause some platforms to slide in and out of the wall, some hazards to become dangerous or safe, allow for the collection of differently colored gems, and some doors to open and close. The fireball switches the character to the light world by default, while the jump whirl switches the character to the twisted world; however, even in the midst of using these abilities the player can switch back between worlds. The switching is seamless and the world doesn’t change instantaneously in many cases, with platforms and gates taking a short time to slide in and out, and while this is important for a few puzzles, generally it doesn’t matter very much.
Unfortunately, this is all that there is for the vast, vast majority of the game. In the right hands, this might have been interesting, but unfortunately, the game ends up getting pretty boring pretty quickly. The idea of switching between worlds and using the abilities is introduced across the first two stages, and in the rest of the game, only a single new mechanic is ever introduced, and its use is very intermittent.
This could have been fine, but unfortunately, the game’s levels have almost no variation at all. There are spikes which kill the player, spikes which only kill the player in one world or the other, enemies who can be stomped on, enemies who shoot projectiles in a straight line and can be stomped on, and enemies who can’t be stomped on at all. There is another uncommon enemy type, which is an enemy which charges at the player when they are stood in front of in the light world, and which hurl ricocheting projectiles at the player in the dark world, as well as ghosts who only pursue the player in one world or the other and who are otherwise invincible (but can be stopped by beams of light, which kill them but primarily serve as a means of preventing the ghosts from pursuing the player into other parts of the level rather than as a means of actually defeating them organically).
These limited enemy types are hurt by the level design, which doesn’t really introduce many new mechanics at all; there are platforms which rise, fall, or simply fall apart after the player stands on them, and there are arrows which, if the player strikes them with the fireball, launches the player in the direction of the arrow. The levels themselves are not designed in any sort of coherent or aesthetically pleasing manner, with the player making their way through the twisted path of the level, trying to get to the end while just overcoming arbitrary-feeling platforming challenges. I never got any sense of a higher intelligence behind the level designs, and very few of them included anything clever in them at all.
In games like this, collectables are often used as an incentive to create more replay value. However, this game goes about it wrong in two ways. The first flaw is that the game encourages the player to collect every single gem in each level, both via achievements and via unlocking the boss stages not by merely completing levels, but by completing the levels with enough “stars”. Stars are obtained at the end of each level both by collecting arbitrary numbers of gems (the threshold numbers for which vary from stage to stage, and aren’t listed anywhere in the game) and by dying a small number of times (which, again, the threshold numbers seem to vary from stage to stage, and aren’t listed anywhere in the game). Collecting every single gem in the levels is rather tedious, but not hugely difficult; it is mostly a matter of just finding them. Most of the secrets aren’t too badly hidden, with some sort of hint in the level given that there is a secret there, but some of the secrets are hidden in pretty arbitrary places (which, to their credit, I did mostly find, but I didn’t really feel like they were being hinted at). One problem was that oftentimes, the “pits” weren’t actually pits but contained secrets; however, while some of these were marked with gems down at the bottom of the screen, others were unmarked (or, worse yet, featured the “you will die if you go down this pit” sign above them, and then, whoops, there’s a secret down there). This is just bad design; the signs and the gems are supposed to help me.
Moreover, the gem collection is simply tedious; there’s no good reason for it. There is another type of collectable – gigantic, glowy gems which were hidden in each level – which were more interesting to find, and had they been the only secrets, they would have been better. Still, which one you were missing was not marked in any clear way, and thus you would have to search the entire (pretty large/long) level to find anything you had missed – probably while playing through the entire stage again.
Overall, the game fails to do anything interesting, and ends up becoming boring and repetitive quite quickly. There’s nothing here that hasn’t been done much better in other 2D platformers, and even the game’s presentation isn’t very strong. The game feels like it lacks much interesting content, and feels too long for what it actually does have.
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is worth neither your time nor your money.