Giraffe and Annika (PC) Review

By Renan Fontes 16.03.2020

Review for Giraffe and Annika on PC

Good ideas can only take a title so far, but an exceptionally good one can carry an experience even in spite of its edges. That goes double if said idea is novel in its medium. While the concept of rhythm based boss fights isn't anything new (just ask any Drakengard fan), basing an entire video game around that is certainly interesting. Rhythm games have a gameplay loop that can be suited for combat in the right light. Giraffe and Annika not only recognizes this, it weaponizes it, offering some rather unique boss encounters in the process. Unfortunately, a short play time, and lopsided priorities weight down what could otherwise have been an excellent pick for fans of the rhythm genre.

The biggest problem plaguing Giraffe and Annika is mainly the fact that it's not really a rhythm game. That's the main selling point, and by far the most interesting mechanic at play, but in truth, the title is an action-less adventure, with an emphasis on storytelling. Driving this idea home even further is the comic book-style cut-scenes, shining a spotlight directly on the plot's presentation.

It's certainly charming, and the dialogue isn't poorly written, but the actual adventuring gameplay can be something of a slog - especially for those experienced with both the medium and the adventure genre. Puzzles aren't devoid of challenge, but they're often easier than they should be, with no real brain teasers in the way. The player will gradually unlock new abilities - like a jump - leading to some metroidvania-esque progression, but nothing's particularly well hidden.

…That said, this is an adventure well suited for a younger audience. Enemies are present, but they're not too dangerous. More often than not, environments are safe and colourful, instead prioritizing puzzle-solving over combat - of which the title has very little of. Even dungeons themselves tend to fall on the simpler side, making relatively poor use of the exploration which, while not the heart of the experience, is what audiences will be engaging with more than anything else.

Screenshot for Giraffe and Annika on PC

The real draw at the core of Giraffe and Annika is the rhythm-based combat. Although dungeons mainly centre themselves around platforming, players will find themselves confronting bosses at the end of each one. These boss fights are entirely rhythm-based, and require you to match your opponent's attacks along with the music. Movement is locked to left and right during these segments, with the player needing to tap or hold the right key depending on whether they're countering a Rhythm Circle or Rythmo Stream respectively.

Each boss fight being tiered into difficulties is a nice way of dashing in some replay value, but these boss fights are surface level more often than not. At their best, they're pretty good. At their worst, they're entirely mediocre. And most of them are kind of mediocre. It certainly doesn't help matters that the music is nothing to write home about. Still, the actual gameplay is simple with an addictive quality. A sequel could very easily add more depth to the combat and provide some better boss design.

Worse yet, there are only around half a dozen bosses available, meaning that the title's worst features are left to carry a good chunk of the experience. The only solace comes from the relatively short play time, and an engaging enough plot. Giraffe and Annika is too at odds with itself for its own good, but anyone needing an introduction to the medium may very well enjoy the lighter, softer, low-maintenance experience.

Screenshot for Giraffe and Annika on PC

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

Giraffe and Annika doesn't quite excel when it comes to its adventuring side - a pity considering how much time it ends up taking - but a charming, comic-esque presentation, and rhythm game boss fights at least make it interesting. That said, it's worth keeping in mind that the rhythm-adventurer's best qualities are the ones it indulges in the least. There are only around half a dozen bosses in the entire thing, leaving the exploration to carry a majority of the experience. Still, light puzzle-solving and a short campaign make it easy to stomach its rougher edges. This is absolutely a case of a concept being better than the execution, but this might still resonate well with a younger audience.

Also known as

Giraffe and Annika

Developer

atelier mimina

Publisher

Playism

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date None   

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