It’s back, with a makeover and it’s still hungry.
Those of you with a good memory may have noticed that this has already seen a PlayStation release of sorts, as it was made available as a Minis and Mobile title. Essex based Laughing Jackal – the developer of the title – went back and remade it for the Vita with all new visuals, added leaderboards and trophies releasing the upgrade for pretty much the same price. A smart move, but does it do enough differently to warrant a purchase of this version?
The game is very simple; you control a giraffe and he is very hungry. With a choice of touch and tilt controls or manual – and I very quickly turned the touch ones off – you have to guide his ever growing neck around the continually scrolling screen, collecting a wide variety of high calorie foods to satisfy his needs. Every piece of food that you consume will keep you moving upwards and if you miss them you will eventually start slipping back. It’s not as easy as it sounds though, as not only is the food placed so that you need to constantly move around the screen, there are also strategically (and magically) placed obstacles in your way; such as anvils and dumbbells which will hinder your progress. There are also pills and medicines which will obscure the screen with paint when consumed, warping your vision or flipping the screen completely. Don’t eat those if you can help it.
Luckily, there are also some things available to aid you, in the form of hard hats and chilli peppers, which propel you upwards without a need for food and also if you start falling you can use an angel feather to try to save you. If you have any.
The game itself is a very fine balance of addiction and frustration, and the ultimate aim is to attain the highest altitude that you possible can. There are ten different levels in total but in reality it is only the one, with a different background image and slightly different item placements. It’s a very simplistic game and the amount of options is very limited. But you will find yourself coming back for more and more as you try to get just a little bit higher.
The biggest issue for me personally with the game is the way that the calories accumulate. The amount you need in the in-game store for items is heavily weighted towards either a large amount of grinding, or the use of real money to pay for the things that will help you out. Considering that the game’s price point is probably about right for the fun and content, potentially having to pay more just to achieve the best score you can on the leaderboards is a little unfair although it is of course your choice. There is also a but which will invariably stop you from accessing the game – it’s easily fixed by restarting and most of the time it’s fine the second time around – but shouldn’t really be happening.
Which leaves the game in a slightly precarious position. There is no denying it is fun, and will keep you occupied for a long time. This will probably be played for many days whilst you try to get further into it. But I couldn’t help wanting for a little more reward for your hard work, without needing to spend more money.