02nd Oct2018

‘Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams – Owltimate Edition’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Phil Wheat

giana-owltimate-cover

Originally funded through Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams has had one hell of a shelf-life. Based on The Great Giana Sisters, the classic Commodore-era bootleg version of Super Mario Bros; the franchise was reborn, as merely Giana Sisters, on Nintendo’s flagship DS handheld in 2009. Since then it has made its move to consoles with a big-screen update, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, which has appeared on numerous consoles since debuting in 2013 on the Xbox 360.

For those unfamiliar (where have you been?) Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams sees gamers play as Giana (whose sister Maria was retconned out of the game – becoming the “Princess Peach” of this series), on a journey to a fantastic world in which the characters different abilities are the keys to solving puzzles and defeating terrible monsters. Giana transforms herself, the soundtrack and even the world, with lightning speed to solve puzzles or make use of special abilities. This overhaul isn’t merely cosmetic: Giana’s two personas are critical to overcoming obstacles and solving particularly tricky situations. In her sweet incarnation, Giana whirls gracefully over obstacles and opponents, but when ‘punked up’ she smashes through stone blocks with mighty dashes and can master her environment by bouncing off walls. And only players who skillfully apply the right strategy, and switch at the right time, can complete tricky levels and defeat nasty end-bosses.

This new Owltimate Edition, exclusive to the Nintendo Switch (for now) contains the original Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams as well as all existing DLC, including Rise Of The Owlverlord. But that’s not all, the game contains five brand-new levels and beautiful new story cut-scenes between each level make this the best Giana Sisters outing ever. Also, renowned German video game music composer Chris Huelsbeck and Swedish band Machinae Supremacy have created new tracks for the game; and if you’re familiar with the original iteration of the game, you’ll know just how critical their soundtrack is to the game.

Chris Huelsbeck scored the original game back in the 80s and his new score alongside Machinae Supremacy, including the new tracks found in Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams – Owltimate Edition capture the old-school 80s origins of the franchise perfectly. Soaring guitars, uplifting synths – it actually sounds at times like you’re listening to the final “love theme” from a John Hughes movie. Yet at other times the soundtrack sounds more ominous, with more of an 80s metal vibe. And it’s the soundtrack which, when all’s said and done, remains one of the highlights of the game!

The dichotomy found in the music continues throughout the game as you jump between realities, and “sisters”, to complete each level and collect all the available jewels in what is essentially a three-dimensional 2D platformer – a platformer that, on it’s original release back in 2013, I wasn’t too keen on. I was a HUGE fan of the 2D Giana Sisters game on the Nintendo DS and the update felt like it was a step too far from the “Super Mario Bros. clone” gameplay of the original game. But since then I’ve found myself going back to Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams time and time again, buying the game as recently as it’s PS4 debut!

However I’ve never got round to buying and/or playing any of the DLC, so this new edition on the Nintendo Switch is the PERFECT time to try it out. After all Twisted Dreams is very much a pick-up-and-play title, which really suits Nintendo’s handheld hybrid. Plus, given the extra content only found in this version, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams – Owltimate Edition is ultimately packed with 33 levels of platforming fun, including the brand new Rise of the Owlverlord adventure – making this the ideal excuse to buy the game again! And buy it again I have… This new Nintendo Switch version is the FOURTH release of this game in my collection since 2013 – it’s safe to say that since my initial misgivings about that Xbox 360 version, I’ve become something of a Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams fan. Which means, at least IMHO, this is an essential purchase – for franchise fans and platform-game lovers alike!

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams – Owltimate Edition is available on the Nintendo Switch now. Buy it.

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