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Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams

The following is a guest post from Mark Filipowich:

Mark Filipowich writes about video games for PopMatters and anywhere else that will take him. He lives in London, Ontario where he is one of the last projectionists in the city that has been trained to work with film. When the world becomes digital he plans to sulk.

A screenshot from Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams with a girl jumping over an enemy.  The background is a beautiful hue of orangish and the trees have twisted arms and claws.

It’s rare that I’ll buy more than five games in the year of their release. When I do play a game while it’s brand new, it’s usually for a review. So when I was offered a chance to play Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, I accepted, not thinking much of it at the time. But when it turned out to be the best game I’d ever had the pleasure of reviewing, I got excited, because I was finally going to be ahead of everyone else.

And then nobody ended up talking about it. Perhaps it was because Giana’s release was so close to the much lauded Pid, another critically lauded independent 2D platformer, but there has been just about no conversation about Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams at all. Which is a shame, because at $15 of excellent design and novel art direction, it’s a no-brainer for anybody on a budget looking for a satisfying platformer.

The game functions beautifully. There are virtually no bugs or frame rate issues (a marvel for an indie game that looks so good). It’s easy enough to pick up and play for the first time but the difficulty curve scales so quickly that it never gets stale. That said, with no limit on lives, it never becomes unnecessarily punishing. That’s assuming that it’s played with a controller. It was designed with the Xbox 360 controller in mind, so without an adequate substitute, its design feels a lot less smooth. Tracking down a good controller (a plug-and-play attached to a wireless controller will not work, unfortunately) adds another $10-$40 depending on the importance placed on name brand and unused products.

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