When I stumbled upon Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, it was featured on in the Steam store, on their feature sales page. For some reason, the name stood out to me, but I couldn't place it at all as to where I had heard it before. It definitely wasn't this game, because based on the title and the art accompanying it, it surely didn't seem like a game that would ever be on my radar.
The fact that it stood out to me, however, intrigued me enough to not simply pass over it like the countless of other games I have done since joining Steam. No, there was something different about this game, and even the description didn't help me place it in my convoluted memory.
And this is the exact reason why Wikipedia was created.
I looked it up, and immediately knew where I had heard the name "Giana Sisters." You see, back in the Commodore 64 days, there was a game that was released called The Great Giana Sisters. It was a platforming game, where the character was stuck in a dream world, inhabited by monsters, on a journey to collect a diamond that would wake her up from the dream world. The plot isn't what's important here, to be honest. The reason I know about this original game is because of it's first level.
You see, the first level drew inspiration from a popular game. Apparently, the developers of The Great Giana Sisters really liked Super Mario Bros. - A LOT - because the entire first level was an identical clone of Mario's first level, with diamonds instead of coins, and a few other minor changes. Even the block placement in the level was nearly identical. It was such a good clone that Nintendo caught wind of it, and let's just say, they weren't exactly thrilled. Apparently the saying "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" doesn't translate will to Japanese, as they threatened legal action unless the game was pulled from store shelves. Thus, the run of the Giana Sisters was short lived.
Gaming history fascinates me. Because of this, I had to buy this new game featuring the fabled Giana Sisters. It's a platforming puzzle game, featuring a cool mechanic where you can switch between the sisters (who have their own individual abilities) on a the fly. And depending on which sister you are, the environment changes to you accommodate your character. With one sister, there might be a gap, but if you switch to the other sister, suddenly a bridge appears to help you get across. This concept of switching back and forth constantly to solve puzzles in order to reach the end of the level is really well flushed out, as the switching is fluid and never feels like a hindrance on the platforming.
The game itself is beautiful. The level design, environments and backgrounds remind me a lot of Trine, which itself is gorgeous. It's crisp, colorful and vibrant. Overall, it's visually stunning, all while managing to keep the game play top notch. Not many games know how to balance these aspects.
Oh, and I'm happy to report that the first level isn't a Mario rip-off. At all. They've come a long way.
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