Giraffe and Annika (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 30.01.2022

Review for Giraffe and Annika on Nintendo Switch

Atelier Mimina brings its first game to Nintendo Switch! Giraffe and Annika, touted as a charming adventure set in the land of Spica. This 3D adventure is published by NIS America, who has its fingers in a fair few niche pies which may be why it found this title and pushed it out to all the other platforms. Here's a look at it.

Annika is a young cat girl who gets dragged into a mysterious adventure. Her and her new companion Giraffe have to uncover the secrets of the island Spira. Annika has amnesia, and after she awakes on the island she has no idea why or how she got there. It's a fairly typical setup, but it does have enough going on to encourage exploration and progression. Story and narrative don't appear to be the main focus, and it does very little world-building, instead opting just to be a cute cat girl adventure platformer. The translation quality seems a little ropey as well, with some sentences and conversations not really flowing, or having unusual grammar.

It's primarily a dungeon crawler, but it has rhythm action segments as well. The dungeons are actually quite fun to run through. This has no basic combat mechanics, so avoiding monsters is key to survival. Essentially each dungeon is an obstacle course, with a goal of finding and collecting Star Fragments. Once beaten, the dungeons usually run into a boss battle. These battles play out as a rhythm game, with Annika matching button presses to enemy projectiles. It's a solid system, but it's the same for every boss. The boss characters are some of the best in terms of entertainment value, with several designs, the highlight being the Crab boss with his wee crown. These battles offer decent challenges at times, which is much needed to keep the gameplay interesting.

Screenshot for Giraffe and Annika on Nintendo Switch

Unfortunately, the controls are stiff, which applies to animations as well, resulting in a kind of rough platforming expected in Wii shovelware. Luckily, the aesthetic is clean, so it is easy to see where interactive points and paths lead. Overall world design is incredibly simple and blocky, employing plain textures and flat lighting. This would be alright if, and it is a big 'if,' this style didn't instantly clash with the design of Annika, and the nicely designed and themed UI or cut-scene splash art. Annika, and other characters have quite well-designed character models, with plenty of physics properties on elements like hair and clothing, but unfortunately the animation is not great, and does a very rough job of communicating actions to the player in a satisfying way. It is this lack of gameplay feel that ultimately kills the fun factor.

It is really bizarre how the visuals clash at almost all times. This could be part of the paring back that was done to make it run better on the Nintendo Switch… but, unfortunately, it doesn't actually run all that well, with fairly lengthy load times, and some stuttering in the busier levels. It's disappointing that the developers weren't able to use some sort of cell shading, or something that might have blended the world and characters together better, as there are some good story moments, and a gameplay loop that would have benefitted from a more solid framerate and smoother animations.

Screenshot for Giraffe and Annika on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

Giraffe and Annika is not a good game, which is a sad thing, as it feels like there is something missing. It's very rough, and is reminiscent it is one of those Unreal Engine 4 demos made by students. There are some redeeming qualities, like the charming character design, and a unique battle system for bosses, but it's so overshadowed by technical bizarreness and a lack of cohesive feeling that it's simply impossible to recommend to anyone but the biggest fans of Annika's design.

Developer

KamiPallet

Publisher

Koei Tecmo

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 Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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