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Video Game / Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams

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An official 2012 sequel to the original The Great Giana Sisters and the third official game in the Giana Sisters series.

A mysterious crystal appears in Giana and Maria's bedroom, creating a portal which sucks up Maria and takes her to the dream world. Giana gives chase.

The game is the first game by Black Forest Games, a company consisting mostly of people who also took part in the development of the well-received-but-sadly-quite-unsuccessful Giana Sisters DS. The development of the game was crowd-funded through a Kickstarter campaign under the working title Project Giana.

Gameplay-wise it stays true to its 2D platformer roots, but it uses a modern 3D graphic engine. A key gameplay element is Giana's ability to change between her normal cutesy form and her pyrokinetic punk form at will. When she does this, the dream world around her changes in the opposite way. While Cute Giana plays in a creepy nightmare, Punk Giana plays in a Sugar Bowl world. However, the graphics aren't the only difference between the two worlds. A lot of game elements behave different depending on what world Giana is currently in: platforms appear and disappear, gates open or close, elevators change directions and enemies change their behavior patterns.

Twisting the dream world also changes the game's music. Cute Giana's dreamworld features music by the original game's composer, Chris Hülsbeck, while Punk Giana's dreamworld features music by Machinae Supremacy.

As of September 11, 2013, a standalone expansion named Rise of the Owlverlord has been made available on Steam and became available to play on September 25, 2013. A sequel has been announced and Machinae Supremacy is on board to return.

It was also released on the eShop on September 5th, 2013, and has a Director's Cut disk version ("Directowl's Cut" in some regions) for the Wii U that was released on October 29th, 2015. A Nintendo Switch port called Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams - Owltimate Edition was released in 2019. Owltimate Edition contains a few new levels and cutscenes.

This game provides examples of:

  • 100% Completion: Plenty.
    • Stars. Requires dying less than three times in levels and finding at least 90% of the gems for maximum score.
    • Gems. Master Gems found, they unlock artworks and concept arts.
    • Owl Trophies. Beat each levels High Score in Score Attack.
    • Rabbit Trophies. Finish the levels on or below par time.
  • Abusive Parents: Owltimate Edition reveals that Giana and Maria have an emotionally abusive father.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • Maria has a lot more dialogue with Giana in the comic adaptation.
    • The entire plot of Dream Runners was left to a storybook online, which was almost entirely lost for several years.
  • Antagonist Title: Rise of the Owlverlord.
  • Art Evolution: The game received several updates that enhanced graphics and some controlling goofs. And as a straighter example, the game is considered by many people light years better than its predecessors.
  • The Artifact: The game still keeps elements from when it was a Super Mario Bros clone, such as the blocks and jumping on enemies.
  • Back for the Dead: If you're not familiar with the game, it makes you think it's invoking this trope with Maria, when the Gurglewocky swallows her whole and all, but it ultimately turns out to be an Averted Trope at the end.
  • Badass Adorable: Giana. Cute as a button, wrecks shit up.
  • Binomium ridiculus: The scientific name for the Gurglewocky is given as "Oneirophagus Rex".
  • Boss-Arena Idiocy: Hansel and Gretel's arena comes conveniently with a spike device that stabs upwards whenever you transform.
  • Boss-Only Level: The final level of Rise of Owlverlord. In the Switch version, every boss is segmented from the level it came from.
  • Boss Warning Siren which comes accompanied with Boss Subtitles
  • Bottomless Pits: They are usually marked with multiple death head signs. Some which aren't either means death or another hidden path with more gems.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Lots.
    • Yellow Gems can be picked up only by Cute Giana, and Red Gems by Punk Giana.
    • Mechanical platforms that have a red or yellow light on them can be manipulated by world-switching.
    • Swimmable water is blue (bright and clear for Punk Giana, pale and somewhat murky for Cute Giana), while deadly water is either sickly green (for Cute Giana) or bright, unnatural, grape-punch purple (for Punk Giana).
  • Checkpoint: Plenty in every level even in Standard Mode. Hardcore has none, however.
  • Characterisation Marches On: In Twisted Dreams, Giana now can switch between her Punk and Cute forms at will, and has learned how to use both to their maximum potential.
  • Christmas Special: In the form of a stand-alone freebie downloadable Christmas-themed level, complete with snow, Christmas trees, snowmen, and enemies with Santa hats.
  • Collision Damage: From every enemy around. Giana can also do the same by hurling herself in flames against them.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist:
    • Downplayed in Standard and Easy modes — Dying only throws you back to the most recent checkpoint, and checkpoints are very frequent. But, it does track how many times you die, and dying too many times will penalize your rank at the end of the level.
    • Averted in Hardcore mode, as dying throws you all the way back to the beginning of the level, and some levels are quite long.
    • Inverted in Über-Hardcore, where if you die you cannot continue, but must start again from the first level.
  • Derivative Differentiation: If you were to play this game without any knowledge of the previous games, you wouldn't be able to tell that the series started off as a blatant Super Mario Bros. clone.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The world-switching mechanic can be taken as a metaphor for adolescence, specifically adolescent mood swings. Sometimes she feels like a helpless little girl in a big scary world world where everything is out to get her, other times she feels like she's an unstoppable badass and the world is her playground.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: Level 3-4, Temple Doomdidoom.
  • Double Jump: Cute Giana's twirl jump.
  • Dual-World Gameplay: You switch between a cute and cuddly candyland and a gothic, borderline terrifying overworld. Giana also switches personalities based on these worlds (between Cute and Punky). Notably, Giana's form in each is the opposite to the world.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Beating a level in Easy will not unlock the next level in any other mode (Standard, Time Attack, Score Attack), also you will not be able to earn stars for ranks and unlock boss levels in Standard.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Owlverlord has two forms that he can switch between at will which change up his movesets, making him one for Giana.
  • Evil Overlooker: The final level has Gurglewocky ominously glaring at the screen.
  • Excuse Plot:
    • Your sister was pulled into a dream world and has been captured by a dragon. Go rescue her!
    • Dream Runners has Giana split into four after an emotional breakdown, and the perpetrator challenges the four to a race to decide which is worthy to return to the waking world. But most people are unaware of even this much of a plot.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Somewhat. Word of God states that Giana became sick and tired of anything that saccharine (which used to be her fancy), and would now prefer to stomp anything cuddly into the ground. Mind you, she's still good.
  • Fake Difficulty:
    • Although not often, there are traps and certain segments full of enemies that will kill an unwarned player at least once.
    • The game doesn't do the best job of differentiating background and foreground stage elements, resulting in several "false" platforms that are actually parts of the background.
  • Fiery Redhead: Giana's punk form. Literally.
  • Final Boss Preview: Gurglewocky the dragon makes an appearance in the first level.
  • Freaky Is Cool: Giana feels at home in what some would call the nightmarish landscape, thus she appears as her normal bubbly-looking self there. However, it appears the dreamy landscape is so sickeningly sweet that she turns into Punk Giana in a desire to stomp everything into the ground.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: Hidden Master Gems, which unlocks artworks.
  • Grimy Water: If it's not blue, then it's not okay for you! note 
  • The Goomba: Owls / Demons. Yes, they are the goomba. They are the same enemy, which changes its appearance depending on the world you are currently in.
  • Goomba Stomp
  • Guide Dang It!: Minor one: You still can jump if you walk off an edge, that may help in crossing certain places or even save you from death. This, however, was corrected as the hints in the loading screen may inform you, and in The Rise of Owlverlord it tells you straight out.
  • Harder Than Hard: Hardcore note  and Über-Hardcore modes.note note 
  • Invincible Minor Minion: Armored Demowls. They're basically moving spikes, expect to find a lot of these on descent and uprising segments.
  • Little Miss Badass: Giana in her punk form, though a case can be argued for Cute Giana as well, who treats the nightmare world like a playground.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: The loading times usually don't go over 1 minute, however they're still rather noticeable.
  • Mascot Mook: The Owls grew into this pretty quickly when Project Giana was announced.
  • Magic Skirt: Maria's skirt stays up while she is dangling upside down in the first level.
  • Marathon Level: The levels become progressively longer with each stage. Level 1-5 is the first to truly feel like this.
  • Mercy Invincibility: After losing the shield.
  • Mercy Mode: Sort of a meta-example — The Easy mode was added after an update, after people complained about the difficulty. The game is still Nintendo Hard, but on Easy, certain platforms will appear to help the player and even avoid death, there will be less traps, certain enemies will be slower and invincible mooks will appear much less often, and finally, bosses will have extra shields and platforms to aid the player.
  • Modesty Shorts: Giana in cute form.
  • Multiform Balance: The gameplay is pretty much built around this trope. Switching back and forth between Giana's cute and punk forms at exactly the right moment is the key to solving many puzzles.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Almost literally; Giana is much happier while she's immersed in the more nightmarish-looking world.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The Owlverlord switches between a pirate form with a cannon built into his peg leg and a ninja form who spams throwing stars.
  • Nintendo Hard: The game becomes progressively harder later on. Once it let your hands go you'll be facing long, gruelling levels that requires fast reflexes and keen eyes to achieve the highest ranks.
  • Offscreen Start Bonus: A few stages have hidden gems right above the initial location.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Aside from the Single-Use Shield power-up, there is no way to survive being hit.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: The bosses of the game have clear connections to people in Giana's real life.
  • Palette Swap:
    • Maria's in-game model amounts to cute Giana with green hair and a pink dress. Averted in the endgame cutscenes of the Owltimate Edition.
    • Normal demowls share the same model with different colors.
  • Path of Most Resistance: Helpfully, there are arrow signs telling you which way you need to go to progress towards the end of the level... which is also the way way you should not go first if you want to find all the gems. Most of gems are in hidden paths throughout each stage; if you are aiming for the 5-Star Rank you'll have to find them. To spice things a little more, some of the hidden segments are very difficult to navigate without dying at least once.
  • Perky Goth: Punk Giana. Cute Giana is this as well, as the Kickstarter Web site describes her as liking things spooky (even gaining more powers as the dream she's in gets more morbid.)
  • Platform Hell: Doesn't seem obvious in the early stages, but the game takes a massive difficulty spike fairly quickly.
  • Playing with Fire: Punk Giana can curl up and turn into a literal human fireball in her world, allowing her to bust through bricks and scale walls.
  • Puzzle Boss: Almost no boss can be directly harmed by Giana's attack, instead she must use something to damage them.
    • Hansel & Gretel: A device which raises a spike as Giana swap between her forms must be used to hit the boss's head(s).
    • Octor Freud: The only boss that actually can be harmed by Giana, however only one part of him is vulnerable and the floor will change with Giana's form forcing the player to be very careful while dodging his attacks to avoid dying instantly from the Bottomless Pits.
    • Gurglewocky: In order to gain a way to damage him, you must first let him spit a meteorite that homes at you constantly. When he uses the flaming breath around the room, change to the other form, "disabling" it, and then kick it to his face.
    • The Owlverlord: In order to hurt him, you must dodge his attacks until he throws a seeking projectile. Then you must survive both the seeking blade and the shots/ninja stars he fires at you until he changes form and then you must trick the homing projectile into him while still dodging all the stuff he throws at you.
  • Puzzle Platformer: Certain segments will require the usage of Giana's transformation and a bit of thinking to proceed and/or not die.
  • Rank Inflation: Up to Five Stars in Standard.
  • Sequence Breaking: With some cleverness, there are segments that you can entirely skip by using Giana's powers.
  • Single-Use Shield: The Pink Gems. Obviously, it doesn't protect Giana from insta-kill hazards like Bottomless Pits.
  • Solid Clouds: Standing on them cause Giana to sink. In the dark world, standing on them too long will cause them to zap her with lightning.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The music is based on your form, not the world, so you get hard electro-metal music for cutesy, non-threatening terrain and Mario-esque retro chiptunes for nightmare landscapes. The option to just have one or the other play without switching is available, though.
  • Spectacular Spinning: Cute Giana can twirl to glide over obstacles.