Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams (which I keep wanting to read as Giana: Twisted Sister because my brain is a furnace fueled solely by old-school metal) was quite good – if not, er, quite great. John enjoyed it well enough, which seems to suggest that the folks at Black Forest Games are highly capable at making things scroll sideways. They also made some serious bank on Kickstarter, both from a monetary standpoint and in the form of a much more important currency: trust. BFG (I SEE WHAT THEY DID THERE) promised and delivered, and now they aim to do so a second time. Project Ravensdale, however, isn’t exactly Giana 2: Mötley Crüe Boogaloo.
So it’s still a sidescroller, but the setting eschews Giana’s world-switching shenanigans in favor of oil ‘n’ guts “garage fantasy”. Basically, we get both orcs and men with rocket boots. Every Videogame Ever, consider the bar raised. Also, the whole world runs on oil and gasoline (even, er, hazelnut toast spreads), so I expect a brow-furrowing message about about global warming’s anaconda-like grip on our planet’s pulse. Or lots of explosions.
Excitingly, Ravensdale looks heavily co-op oriented in a way that hearkens back to Magicka – at least, if the above video is any indication. BFG’s description sounds a bit more traditional, but there’s still plenty of promise:
“While Ravensdale is going to make co-operative play as rewarding as possible, single-player is not a stripped-down co-op mode – co-op builds on single player and expands it. For example, an enemy bearing a heavy shield can be brute-forced by shooting or slamming the shield until it breaks, outmaneuvered and attacked from the back, reduced to a fine paste by hazards, or the shield can be simply ignored by using a piercing weapon that hits all enemies in its path. Co-op offers you the additional option of sandwiching the enemy, assuring that one player always hits its unshielded side.”
A still-early item called the Arc Connector, meanwhile, offers a much more tangible example, linking players together and allowing them to do things like “piggyback” off each others’ movement, block shots intended for one another, and share special item effects like flame or piercing abilities. These sorts of tactics will apparently hinge on context, so co-op will stir together a pleasant blend of discovery and all-out diesel-fueled carnage yeah.
BFG is asking for $500,000, which is a rather steep leap up from Giana’s $150,000. And sure, Giana raked in a crisp pile of goodwill, but Ravensdale is also entirely new IP. No outpouring of love for a strangely endearing Mario clone here. Can it still succeed? With just a hair over $20,000 to its sadly generic name after nearly 48 hours, it’s not off to the strongest start. There’s potential in a zanier, mecha-fantastical version of Contra, but I’m not sure if people want it that much. What do you think?