- Same addictive gameplay
- Trophies and leaderboards added
- Looks a lot better
- Might be a bit too much of a one-trick-pony for some
- Power-ups are a bit too reliant on microtransactions
- Tilt controls aren’t necessary
Hungry Giraffe has been around the block a few times since it launched as a PlayStation minis title over a year ago. After the debut of the original, the game went onto iOS, PlayStation Mobile, and now it’s getting yet another release on the PlayStation Vita. So what’s new this around then? Well in terms of gameplay, it’s pretty much the same deal. But what Laughing Jackal have done is take the existing formula, made it a more networked experience, and made it a look a bit prettier to bring it in line with the latest hardware.
For those who haven’t ever experienced any Hungry Giraffe antics, the premise is simple. You play as a giraffe with a hunger for everything, including fruit, burgers and French fries. The more you eat the longer his neck gets, flying up the screen and into progressively tougher stages. Scores are tracked in two ways; via the neck length and calorie count, which vary depending on the food you consume.
It’s not that easy though, as there are obstacles to halt your progress along the way. Anvils provide a nasty headache and end an ascent pretty sharpish, and that’s before we even mention the screen-covering paint and display-borking effects of poison. It all comes together to produce a game where fast reactions and keen diet observation are the keys to success. It might not have much in the way of variation, but there again neither did Snake on the old Nokia phones.
So what’s new then? Well with the Vita’s tilt-sensors on board, you can now control the game by waving around your handheld like a possessed maniac. In fact, tilting is now the default control option, but I found myself reverting back to classic controls. The motion set-up doesn’t allow for the tightness of control required to follow the trails of food, and you’ll soon find yourself blindly swaying to even indulge in a small feast let alone a banquet. It’s fine for a novelty feature, but its best thought of as just that.
A game changer is the inclusion of power-ups. These can be either earned by gouging on calorific treats, or bought using real-life currency. For example, you can purchase an Angel Feather to propel you into the air when all hope seems lost (also known as “cheating” to the Hungry Giraffe purists), but without parting with cash each power-up requires a lot of neckwork to obtain. Something about buying virtual calories just doesn’t feel right, when you could go to Tesco and get yourself a bundle of real-world calories for a quid.
As requested after the previous editions, online leaderboards are now in the mix too. This might sound like a really basic feature, but it gives you a lot more incentive to scale lofty heights, knowing that it’s not just your personal best that you’re trying to topple. And thanks to the new format, Hungry Giraffe at last has Trophy Support. You can tell LJ want you to spend some serious time with the game as each of the eight digital trinkets is geared toward longetivity, if you’re looking for a 100% completion be prepared to put in some serious hours, with millions of calories needing to be consumed for one in particular.
Finally, and probably most obviously, the whole package looks a lot nicer on the Vita’s shiny OLED screen. The art style is identical, but the cartoon visuals look a lot more vibrant in HD, the presentation has definitely stepped up a notch.
Whether or not you decide to download Hungry Giraffe depends a lot on whether you’ve bought any of the others, and are willing to part with more cash for essentially the same game with a few bells and whistles. Saying that, this is the definitive version, it’s the perfect purchase for a game on the move and one that you can dip into even after leaving it for several months. It might lack variation, but like the protagonist’s neck it’ll grow on you and keep you coming back for more. For that and the ridiculously cheap price tag of £2.39, I’d highly recommend downloading it.