We have been fairly thrilled by this one earlier than booting it up – I imply, what number of video games have giraffes in them?! Definitely not sufficient. The Journey Friends repped the ruminant however nothing else actually springs to thoughts. Think about our disappointment, then, once we booted up the sport and located nary an precise giraffe in sight, only a form of bizarre cat-boy factor. It is a good factor the sport is charming and enjoyable, or we would have needed to ship a stern letter to the publishers.
The entire thing is simply so chill. Taking management of the titular Annika, you end up exploring the mysterious island of Spica, with the objective of finding fallen stars which is able to grant you new talents, permitting you to analyze increasingly of this pastoral peninsula. In that respect, it is a easy journey sport; you possibly can’t even bounce till you clear the primary “dungeon”. There’s little in the way in which of hostility or fight, in addition to a rock-clearing mine-cart journey and the boss battles. All of it will get slightly extra intense in direction of the top, however none of that is going to bother the Pure Platinum crowd. And it is not presupposed to.
These aforementioned boss battles take the type of a rudimentary, however pleasurable rhythm sport during which Annika should hop left and proper whereas tapping the A button to “catch” projectiles which can be being launched at her by the assailant. In addition to these beats it’s essential to merely hit, there are additionally bigger assaults that have to be dodged – once more, although, whereas that is compelling it is hardly Hatsune Miku-tier rhythm-action, simply one other of the strings on Giraffe and Annika’s nice gameplay bow.
Shifting from the overworld to the main areas in-game retains the identical exploration gameplay, however as there isn’t any actual combating all you are able to do is dodge. That is wonderful by us because it suits the sport’s remit, however the very early sport, specifically, can really feel slightly samey when you may have so few choices on tips on how to proceed. It is seemingly that the endearing world and characters will draw you in regardless, because the banality of the primary “dungeon” stage – which may be a dealbreaker in different video games – is counterbalanced by how ethereal and enticing it appears to be like.
It is all very fairly wanting, in reality, with one thing of a storybook aesthetic which solely provides to the sport’s overt appeal. The cutscenes are enticing, with a simplistic manga-ish type that will get throughout the characterisation with cute and interesting nonetheless drawings that do not resort to the much less agreeable tropes of the shape. It is extraordinarily healthful stuff, with no sudden and jarring deviations into any form of edgier gameplay or content material. It is also value praising the music, which is great; it reminded us of Studio Ghibli scores, and we discovered it drew us even additional into this rustic world.
It is not a whole house run, sadly. Giraffe and Annika’s flaws have been minor to us – consider us, we have performed a lot worse – however your mileage could differ. After we say this sport is chill, we imply it – in addition to one significantly hazardous run of obstacles in direction of the sport’s climax, it is very, very tough to die. Annika can take a number of hits from enemies or hazards, and there are crystals everywhere that may absolutely restore your well being.
Moreover, the motion itself feels slightly extra indifferent and floaty the additional by you play; when you unlock the bounce, the sport naturally will get extra reliant on it and its unusual, free physics. You will additionally unlock a dash transfer that makes your management really feel much more slapdash. As we mentioned, we did not discover it an enormous deal as the sport barely requires precision within the adventuring sections anyway, however you could discover the motion feels slightly amateurish at occasions.
One other small irritation is the day and night time system – it would not actually add a lot to the sport in addition to the occasional frustration of getting to attend round for one thing to occur. You’ll be able to skip from day to nighttime or vice versa by taking a nap, however we discovered this time was finest used digging slightly extra into our environment, discovering collectable “Meowsterpieces” (lovely items of collectable art work) and usually absorbing extra of the sport’s lore and humorous character interactions.
Giraffe and Annika builds an fascinating and emotional story that goes slightly past its fluffy exterior – revealing extra could be a spoiler, however there are clues dotted round Spica Island which will assist you to piece it collectively. We have been slightly pissed off to seek out that the ultimate dungeon constitutes a reasonably abrupt “level of no return”, which required a speedy re-play as a way to full some non-compulsory duties and see the true ending. Fortunately, as the sport was about 5 hours lengthy on our first playthrough, the second took far much less provided that we knew what we have been doing, now.
It is slightly ramshackle, however care and craft has gone into the making of Giraffe and Annika. There’s nothing new right here to talk of, however its disparate genres work nicely collectively and we had fun unravelling the mysteries of Spica Island. A terrific sport for teenagers and the younger at coronary heart, we’re excited to see what builders Atelier Mimina do subsequent.