About a year ago one of the best platformers of the past decade came out in Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams. Now a DLC expansion pack attempts to expand upon the core concept.
PROS: More of everything that made GS:TD a smash hit.
CONS: It’s short. It’s only seven stages.
MAMMA MIA: Like the DLC for NSMBU, this too is a standalone title.
Rise Of The Owlverlord really does build upon the core concept throughout it’s campaign. Once again you will play as Giana as she morphs the world between, light, and dark forms solving perilous platforming puzzles. If you didn’t play the main game, you can still play this as it’s a standalone expansion pack. That means it doesn’t require one to own the base game in order to play it. But be forewarned, it is a rather short expansion so you should really consider this only if you did buy the base game.
What is here though is gold. ROTO expands on the core concept of GS:TD in every way. In a way it almost feels like the lost levels of Super Mario Bros. (SMB2 in Japan). It’s a collection of 7 levels that are designed for the most dedicated Giana Sisters fans. Right out of the gate you will be thrust into a speedrun level. So much comes at you from all sides, from invincible owls, to cannons that fire projectiles, to falling boulders. That’s just the first part of the first stage.
Again there are many secrets, and gems to find for the completionists out there. One of which has over 1200 gems to find in it. Like the base game, ROTO will challenge you to beat stages to completion using the absolute least amount of lives to do so. The better you do, the more stages you’ll unlock. The final stage of course, culminates with the Owls’ sinister leader.
Beating the game on hard will unlock hardcore mode which cuts down on checkpoints. Beating that mode unlocks uber hardcore mode which again forces you to try to complete the game on a single life. Through it all, finding enough gems will unlock concept art as in the original game.
Chris Hulsbeck, and Machinae Supremacy return with a couple of new tracks along with some remixes. Including one which is a pastiche of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movie music. All of the music is pretty great, fitting in well with the game’s locations.
The game also has Steam Trading Card support which was added to the base game a few months ago as well. So die hard fans can also play for card drops, engage in trading with other players, and try to level up Steam badges along the way.
The main problem with this expansion is the short length. For the regular asking price of $5 it doesn’t grant a lot of content when compared to that of other games’ DLC. On the other hand there are certainly games with much more frivolous or even worthless DLC content. Still, one can’t help but wish the game had maybe another two or three stages.
Rise Of The Owlverlord is not a bad expansion by any means. The campaign is a lot of fun, and there is a lot of replay value to be had for those who want to unlock harder modes, or find every last secret in it. But it’s short length will leave many players wanting more. Here’s hoping Black Forest Games will really up the ante in a full blown sequel whatever lies ahead for Giana, and Maria.
Final Score: 8 out of 10