Giraffe and Annika (Xbox One) Review
Low key anime-style, cutesy adventure
Adorable character design
Some difficulty spikes
Rhythm combat takes some getting used to
Probably one of the biggest disappointments that can be pointed out within the first 30 seconds of playing this game is that Giraffe is not, in fact, a Giraffe. He might be some kind of animal human mixture that is unfamiliar, but it is kind of disappointing to not wander around an island with a cute cat girl and her best friend the talking Giraffe. Aside from that, the game is kind of straight forward.
For the vast majority of the game there isn’t really an attack that the character can do on enemies, instead they are meant to be avoided. This takes the odd direction of being more about the exploration then either stealth or battle. The character is rewarded with collectables for straying off the main path and looking in stranger corners. What kind of seems annoying, not being able to eliminate most monsters, ends up making them feel more like an obstacle to avoid — like a lava pit– then something that must be fought.
You can watch our stream of Giraffe and Annika here:
There are battles, though, that take place at the end of the dungeon. This can feel kind of bothersome at first, because it means that the entire time that Annika could have been fighting ghosts on her way there but actively chose not to. After that feeling wears off, they are almost an odd addition to the game, as they come in the way of rhythm game. The characters actively dance to whatever tune is happening, and the player must bounce back their attacks with a magic staff. It is totally fine, but feels out of place the first time it happens.
There really isn’t anything to dislike about this game, the problem is that it also doesn’t give any reason that it must be played. It never feels like anything, or anyone, is in danger or that something needs to be done. There is no pressure to move forward other than curiosity, some plot reveals, and characters. It isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it very much isn’t something that most people are going to go out of their way to experience.
While Giraffe and Annika manages to be a cute girl doing cute things in a cute world, it also is just that. Pretty much anyone who looks at the cover of the game will instantly know if they will enjoy it, which feels odd to be able to judge a game fully by its cover. For a lazy weekend, this game is perfect to unwind after a terrible week. That said, if you are looking for action you need to look elsewhere.
Also available on Switch and PS4.