There are some titles out there that just exist to help someone unwind and relax as they explore the land stretched out before them. Giraffe and Annika is one of these titles as you play a cat girl with amnesia as she helps a man named Giraffe find three star shards because he himself cannot get inside of the dungeons that they are located.
A little deceptive at first, Giraffe and Annika is a simple adventure title that relies on some simple puzzles and fetch quests to tell an interesting and cute story as Annika searches for and obtains the star shards that Giraffe is looking for. Each of these shards grants Annika new abilities such as being able to jump, swim underwater longer as we all know cats hate water, and to be able to dash about the island while looking for clues as to where to go next.
The island that you find yourself on is simple and there’s never anything complicated about it. Moving around you know where you can go and where you can’t through a series of colored locked doors. While you’ll eventually get the keys in question from Blue, to Red to Green, it’s not something to really worry about while they are locked because that basically meant that the answer you are currently looking for is where you have access to and not where you have yet to go.
One thing to note is that like Prideful Sloth’s Yonder: The Cloudcatcher Chronicles, there is no “combat” in this adventure. Annika runs around, she jumps and often runs away from ghosts as for some reason they are very prominent on this island, but never does she raise a hand to anyone. Ghosts will give chase, they’ll attack you with super soakers that you can hide behind boxes to shield yourself and others that have flamethrowers will try to burn you. They were, clearly, the worst of the bunch. That said, as Annika you’ll be running and jumping your way through them but it can happen that you’ll get hit and if you do? You can either eat food to restore your health or find one of the plenty lying around healing crystals.
One of the reasons for these crystals is that Annika takes damage the second that she hits the water. The longer that she’s in it, the more health that she loses. Lose the entire bar and you’ll respawn from the previous checkpoint and have to do it all over again. Once you get the upgrade though the smaller segments are a non-issue but you’ll still not want to slack when making longer distances especially when they are far off shore. Why swim that far off shore? Well let me tell you, this wonderful island? Other than it’s vast population of ghosts has a HUGE fascination with cats to the point that there’s a gallery for all of the artwork that you can find of them. Why is this important? Because while submitting artwork can get you a new outfit, you’ll actually need two rows of a points card completed to get a ticket that is required to finish the adventure. This was my only issue with Giraffe and Annika.
Now I said that there’s no “combat” up above and the reason for the quotations is that technically that’s true. Annika doesn’t “fight”, but, there are multiple boss fights in the form of rhythm sequences in which you face off against a witch and whoever else she’s using to do her dirty work after losing against you the first time. The rhythm sequences are simple enough with only one button for two actions and two points to hit, HOWEVER, timing is absolutely everything and until you actually get used to it? It feels almost damned near impossible.
Now I have to be completely honest that any normal method that I used for this just didn’t work. At first I thought maybe it was the sensitivity, it wasn’t as I even modified the lag input as it’s amazingly an option. I eventually found out that it was actually my peripheral vision that I normally use for the side to side that was leading me astray as you actually have to be looking at the spheres landing to really get the timing down. Embarrassingly, I did the first boss fight on Easy to finally get the hang of it. Once I did get it though, the rest were easy.
So how does it work? Either the witch or her substitute will be launching either a sphere or a stream to either the left or the right and you have to press or press and hold once the sphere lands on that spot. As the boss fights continue, you’ll also have to be dodging other attacks at the same time but it’s never anything hard. Not once you get the timings of the spheres down anyways. Keeping in line with the relaxing adventuring of the rest, it’s some light fun that always leads into the next segment of the story.