It’s not everyday that a random game comes out of nowhere and makes your day about ten times better. This was my initial impression of Hungry Giraffe, a MINI game released on the PSN earlier this year.
You’re a giraffe, you’re hungry and you want to climb to the heavens by eating as much food as possible in a bid to increase the size of your neck. Basically put, you want to keep going upwards, however in order to do so you need to eat to keep going up. If you don’t keep eating, then you descend and die. Food is laid out in patterns, so everything is continuous and it’s easy to get into a rhythm that allows you to keep going for ages. Different foods provide different amounts of power: foods like the taco make you grow loads, whereas the fruit only helps you grow a small amount. Then there are the random other things thrown in, kind of like power ups and vice versa. You will see things like: a bottle of poison, which makes you throw up, a hard hat that gives you can save as a boost for later and a pill that makes everything go trippy, reversing the controls. The higher you get, the more points you accumulate, which after a few plays amounts to an obsessive need to beat your prior score. This sort of gameplay works really well for the pick up and play nature of the game.
Backgrounds change as you keep ascending, amounting in 10 themes that you unlock as you progress (like a forest, clouds, space and so on). You will probably end up getting to the 10th area after about 6 plays. Unlocking these levels allows you to start from there whenever you want. There is also a little internal awards system, which is similar to the achievements we find on 360/PS3, it’s nothing special but it’s not a bad addition and serves well to lengthen the game.
If there is one fault with the game, it’s the lack of an online score board. Considering the game is all about racking up points, it’s kind of surprising not to see this included. Another minor fault is that you can’t use the D-pad, this isn’t a major bad point (the thumbstick works perfectly and feels very natural when guiding the giraffe) but I just would have liked to use the D-pad every now and then for a bit more added precision.
The main thing I wanted to talk about is the sound design in this game. The music used in the game isn’t anything special; it’s mainly just upbeat classical music. It serves it’s purpose, though, and goes well with the game. However, the sounds the giraffe actually makes are just hilarious. Every time you eat a few items of food, the little guy will make the cutest nom sound ever. I know I’m getting a bit over excited about this, but you will understand once you play the game, it really does make you want to keep playing the game and just adds a massive amount of charm to the overall package. If anyone remembers the South Park Movie (of course you do), rewind to their interpretation of the sound a giraffe makes when it’s dying, remember? Well they use that in this game, initially hearing this through me into hysterics, just a taste of the amusement that this game provides for such a small price.
The game looks pretty for a PSMini game, the animation is crisp and provides for a fluid framerate, which really serves well for the game. Everything is also very colourful, which goes well with the whimsical charm the game has.
Gamers are to get an immense amount of enjoyment here, there is just this absurd mix of random humour and great gameplay, especially considering the price. If you find yourself wanting something quick and easy to play, then consider this game when you next hit up the Playstation store.