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  • Playing: Car Quest
ticgamesnetwork.com/reviews/gi…

Once seen as a legal threat to Nintendo, the Giana Sisters series has since found itself at home among the indie games industry. 2011’s Giana Sisters DS marked a different kind of relationship with the Big N and the following year saw a Kickstarter for what appeared to be a bigger game in the series known then as Project Giana. Of course, Project Giana made its goal and has seen plenty of releases on platforms since then as Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams.

As a fan of the DS game, I had been looking forward to getting Twisted Dreams in some capacity. Thankfully, given the popularity of the Nintendo Switch it was only a matter of time before the game would be ported to this lovely device. The question that remains is that now I’ve finally gotten to play the game through, what do I make of it?

Story

On the surface, it’s the usual “rescue _____” scenario. In this case Giana has to rescue her sister, Maria. Giana is not the child she was back in the day though; this time, she’s going through internal transformations which can alter the ways she sees the world around her. The loading screens sometimes even give us brief glimpses into life outside of the fantasy lands but that’s just what they are – glimpses.

Graphics

I am not going to lie, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is a beautiful-looking game. Every level in the game is filled to the brim with lush environmental detail. It’s the kind of visual bliss you wish the New Super Mario Bros. series would have. And despite all of the decorations, the framerate sticks at 60 per second rate with only very rare exceptions of slowdown. The silhouette animations that are on display during the loading screens also never cease to catch my eye.

Audio

I kind of wish I could say the same about the audio. Well, more specifically the music. The sound effects are reasonably stimulating but the music feels too much like background fodder. With normal Giana the music is bubbly and lighthearted and as punk Giana it’s injected with a metal emphasis. That’s pretty much all that comes to mind. Granted, Giana DS played it safe with the soundtrack as well but you’d think Twisted Dreams would up the ante similarly to how the graphics have been upgraded.

Gameplay

Though the Giana Sisters series were obviously influenced by the Mario games in their prime, this latest installment twists it up a bit with a shifting mechanic. Giana has two different forms she can use to her advantage and they each transform the world around her. The regular form has a spin jump while the “punk” style has a fireball attack that’s useful for hitting enemies. When the levels give you room to play around with your abilities, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is very much a good time. And there’s a good amount of game content here with 38 levels divided into four worlds to travel through (not counting included DLC). This is especially welcome considering the levels themselves last a while compared to Mario or the previous games in Giana‘s lineup.

While the gameplay is sound for the most part, there are times where the game’s flow can feel somewhat unbalanced. This game LOVES spikes and Giana’s a one-hit wonder if there’s no shield power in sight. Some of those things come from how you never know what obstacles are manipulated by your transformations until you try it for the first time – aka trial and error. Checkpoints are generous but it does nevertheless get annoying when you repeatedly die from things you wouldn’t be able to see coming.

Verdict

I think Giana Sisters DS balances out the challenge and platforming better in the grand scheme of things (therefore it is still my favorite of the series) but Twisted Dreams is still an enjoyable jump ‘n run the whole way through. There’s a lot to like about it even if there are levels that could have been ironed out. The gameplay is unique enough to at least give it that sense of identity the series ironically didn’t have in its inception. I’m glad to have finally been given the opportunity to play it.

Review copy provided by THQ Nordic

Activity


  • Playing: Car Quest
ticgamesnetwork.com/reviews/gi…

Once seen as a legal threat to Nintendo, the Giana Sisters series has since found itself at home among the indie games industry. 2011’s Giana Sisters DS marked a different kind of relationship with the Big N and the following year saw a Kickstarter for what appeared to be a bigger game in the series known then as Project Giana. Of course, Project Giana made its goal and has seen plenty of releases on platforms since then as Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams.

As a fan of the DS game, I had been looking forward to getting Twisted Dreams in some capacity. Thankfully, given the popularity of the Nintendo Switch it was only a matter of time before the game would be ported to this lovely device. The question that remains is that now I’ve finally gotten to play the game through, what do I make of it?

Story

On the surface, it’s the usual “rescue _____” scenario. In this case Giana has to rescue her sister, Maria. Giana is not the child she was back in the day though; this time, she’s going through internal transformations which can alter the ways she sees the world around her. The loading screens sometimes even give us brief glimpses into life outside of the fantasy lands but that’s just what they are – glimpses.

Graphics

I am not going to lie, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is a beautiful-looking game. Every level in the game is filled to the brim with lush environmental detail. It’s the kind of visual bliss you wish the New Super Mario Bros. series would have. And despite all of the decorations, the framerate sticks at 60 per second rate with only very rare exceptions of slowdown. The silhouette animations that are on display during the loading screens also never cease to catch my eye.

Audio

I kind of wish I could say the same about the audio. Well, more specifically the music. The sound effects are reasonably stimulating but the music feels too much like background fodder. With normal Giana the music is bubbly and lighthearted and as punk Giana it’s injected with a metal emphasis. That’s pretty much all that comes to mind. Granted, Giana DS played it safe with the soundtrack as well but you’d think Twisted Dreams would up the ante similarly to how the graphics have been upgraded.

Gameplay

Though the Giana Sisters series were obviously influenced by the Mario games in their prime, this latest installment twists it up a bit with a shifting mechanic. Giana has two different forms she can use to her advantage and they each transform the world around her. The regular form has a spin jump while the “punk” style has a fireball attack that’s useful for hitting enemies. When the levels give you room to play around with your abilities, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is very much a good time. And there’s a good amount of game content here with 38 levels divided into four worlds to travel through (not counting included DLC). This is especially welcome considering the levels themselves last a while compared to Mario or the previous games in Giana‘s lineup.

While the gameplay is sound for the most part, there are times where the game’s flow can feel somewhat unbalanced. This game LOVES spikes and Giana’s a one-hit wonder if there’s no shield power in sight. Some of those things come from how you never know what obstacles are manipulated by your transformations until you try it for the first time – aka trial and error. Checkpoints are generous but it does nevertheless get annoying when you repeatedly die from things you wouldn’t be able to see coming.

Verdict

I think Giana Sisters DS balances out the challenge and platforming better in the grand scheme of things (therefore it is still my favorite of the series) but Twisted Dreams is still an enjoyable jump ‘n run the whole way through. There’s a lot to like about it even if there are levels that could have been ironed out. The gameplay is unique enough to at least give it that sense of identity the series ironically didn’t have in its inception. I’m glad to have finally been given the opportunity to play it.

Review copy provided by THQ Nordic

  • Playing: Link's Crossbow Training
ticgamesnetwork.com/reviews/ma…

When I first heard about this game, I thought “Oh, that’s neat. Somebody’s hoping to make a spiritual successor to Marble Blast“. Then as I read more details about the game, the revelation hit me: “Oh my God, this game is Marble Blast!” You’d have to understand – Marble Blast Gold was one of those games I’ve had a special place in my heart since elementary school.

If there was any free time in the computer lab, all the kids in the room, myself included, would glue themselves to Marble Blast Gold. I’ve low-key hoped that a successor would come around but I wasn’t ever sure it could happen. The series had been dormant since Marble Blast Ultra, and that got removed from Xbox Live in 2011. The closest anyone could get to playing it now would be the demo in the Xbox Live compilation disc that’s often paired with SEGA Superstars Tennis. But man did I get stoked when I saw more and more of Marble It Up. Now that I have it in my possession, the question arises: Does it recapture the magic of its predecessors? Well…

Graphics

Funnily, I remember not liking how Marble Blast Ultra looked in comparison to Gold; although the graphics were more detailed, the colors seemed washed out compared to the vibrant nature of the original game. Marble It Up seems to acknowledge this and gives us the best of both worlds. This time around, the visual clarity and details work with stylistic color choices to make the levels pop. I have to give massive props to the backgrounds, too. The effects put into them combined with the aesthetics of the platforms give Marble It Up this kind of sleek, abstract nature that I can’t help but love.

Audio

Brought to you by Solovox is the soundtrack for Marble It Up. It’s an energetic techno OST that goes well with the game’s surreal imagery and active pacing. You can even listen to the music online on YouTube for a taste, but there is a catch; in-game, the music actually suffers from some compression. It’s not to the extent of various 3DS game soundtracks mind you, but it is noticeable enough given how few other Switch games do this. Other than that, the sound design is nice and subtle.

Gameplay

If you’ve played a game in the series before, you’ll be right at home with Marble It Up. This is a series of platforming gauntlets where you control a marble that can jump and use situational power-ups. Sometimes you need to collect gems and other times have you make a straight shot to the finish. Extra incentives to play include beating the levels as quickly as possible and unlocking cosmetics. It’s simple in design, but works well with what it has. In fact, the analog + button controls of the Switch obliterate the WASD + mouse controls Marble Blast Gold had to deal with on PC.

That’s not to say this is a necessarily superior game. The most obvious stick in the craw is that the length is shorter. There were 100 levels in Gold and 60 in Ultra, but Marble It Up has only 40 in comparison (It sounds like a lot, but they can all be beaten within a minute or two). It also doesn’t go as crazy with the mechanics and layouts as Gold had in its latter half. Though to be fair, I did get frustrated with a lot of Gold‘s levels; I am at least thankful Marble It Up does away with any of those annoyances. I just wish the game revisited that kind of scope.

Verdict

Marble It Up plays it safe compared to its predecessors, but it is no less fun to play through the levels it offers. It’s definitely a solid game for newcomers and players that haven’t played one of these in years. I’m also very happy to see this series return as intact as it is. I’ll be hoping that the devs step up their marble game for the future, though. A sequel or expansive update could do wonders for the game’s potential.

Review copy provided by Bad Habit Productions

  • Playing: Donkey Kong
ticgamesnetwork.com/reviews/ja…

There it is! I had a gut feeling Jack n’ Jill would show up on Nintendo Switch after I mentioned it in my review of Squareboy vs. Bullies: Arena Edition! This title was my favorite mobile game back when I was going to high school and worked on this dumb little thing. Several years later, this DX edition allowed me to get reacquainted with the game on one of my new favorite consoles. So what do I think about Jack n’ Jill DX? Well…

Graphics

I wasn’t expecting a big graphical upgrade given the intentional Game Boy-style look Jack n’ Jill has going for it. Fortunately, Jack n’ Jill DX does one appropriate fix by bumping up the framerate to 60 per second. The sprites themselves look nicely put together. They give me a very Kirby’s Dream Land sort of vibe and the backgrounds carry a good amount of detail while not being in your face about it. Weirdly, there is one minor technical issue in the form of sprite stutters that show up in later levels when the game slows down after speeding up or vice versa. This is especially notable when equipping your character with certain hats. It’s not a dealbreaker but it is something Ratalaika and Narang should look at.

Audio

Kicking things up a notch from the usual 8-Bit chiptunes, the music has been updated to embody a hint of 16-Bit instrumentation. The melodies are the same but they continue to sound relaxing and suit the game just fine. Sound effects aren’t necessarily as pronounced as in other platformers but they get the job done when it comes to bringing the onscreen objects to life.

Gameplay

Jack n’ Jill is a single-button game where you run and jump through a series of platforming challenges and trials to get to your significant other. You can be either Jack or Jill as you play through a whopping 140 levels. Your characters move by themselves but you would have to make them jump, fly, activate buttons and the list goes on as the levels demand. No matter what it throws into the formula though, Jack n’ Jill DX ensures it stays consistent in its gameplay style and gradual variety. For an inexpensive offering on the eShop, there’s a lot of content to play around with in this game.

This DX version even throws in achievements, minigames, and an in-game shop. Coins you collect in the game can be used to play minigames which in turn are used to get tickets. Tickets can be redeemed on character accessories, screen filters, and even level skips. The minigames are decent for the minute or so they last but the ticket system adds a lot of incentive to check them out.

Verdict

It all amounts to a thoroughly enjoyable experience that feels right at home on the Switch. It likely goes without saying but Jack n’ Jill DX takes what makes the original great and adds more to it. In-game ads are a thing of the past and there are extras big and small that sweeten the $4.99 price of admission. There are a couple little technical snafus that could be refined but it doesn’t make the game any less of a joy to play through.

Review copy provided by Ratalaika Games

Figure Bear
In figure drawing class, the model was holding up a teddy bear. I couldn't resist capitalizing on its presence. 
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RyanSilberman
Ryan Silberman
Artist | Hobbyist | Varied
United States
Hi, all! My name is Ryan Silberman, and I do all sorts of arts and junk; to say I love playing video games and watching cartoons is a severe understatement. I make my own games, I write articles about them, and I share my work here on this deviantart profile!

My Skype: ryan.silberman90
My Steam: Ryan Silberman
My YouTube: Ryan S.
My Twitter: RyanSilberman
My discord: RyanSil
My picarto: RyanSilberman

Nintendo Switch friend code: SW-7091-8263-8044

Anyway, I suppose that's all I have to ramble about. Take a look around, and enjoy your time here on my page and/or the many varied submissions I have lurking around here!
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I'd call this reboot style, but really, technically this style can no longer really be considered the "reboot" style since the new Powe...


Whatever it was that got you to draw something like this, you may as well keep at that! Those must have been some powerful Pokemon remi...


I don't watch My Little Pony or follow the series in general, so I can't possibly be considered a "brony". However, this flash file is ...

by Memoski

This picture makes me realize how big indie gaming has become. Not only has it provided people as seemingly insignificant as you and I ...

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:iconnickittycata:
NicKittyCata Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hello
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:iconryansilberman:
RyanSilberman Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Hello.
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:iconnickittycata:
NicKittyCata Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
How are ya?
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:iconmad4pokemon99:
mad4pokemon99 Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2018
Um,hello there.
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:iconryansilberman:
RyanSilberman Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Howdy
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:iconmad4pokemon99:
mad4pokemon99 Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2018
I saw that pic of your Puff self playing the Switch.I love it!
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:iconryansilberman:
RyanSilberman Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Haha, thanks. Geoff did an amazing job on it! I smiled gleefully just looking at the rough sketch he showed me before the final version. :D
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:iconnickittycata:
NicKittyCata Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hi there
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:iconryansilberman:
RyanSilberman Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Hi
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:iconnickittycata:
NicKittyCata Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Long time no see. How are ya?
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