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PlayStation Vita  header logo

Hungry Giraffe (PS Vita)

For: PS Vita   Also on: iPhone, PSP
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Product: Hungry Giraffe | Developer: Laughing Jackal | Format: PS Vita | Genre: Casual, Platform | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
Hungry Giraffe PS Vita, thumbnail 1
In-app purchases, eh?

Whether you're a fan of paying to unlock features from within a game or not, there's no doubt that this payment model needs to be carefully employed so that it doesn't become intrusive or break the immersion.

Take Hungry Giraffe. On PSP it was a wonderful eat-'em-up. On PS Vita it's drowning in pleas for cash, and the main spectacle is completely destroyed as a result.

You're having a giraffe

The basic concept remains the same as the PSP version. You control a giraffe's head as it weaves around the screen gobbling up fruit, tacos, and hot chillis.

As you eat, the giraffe's neck stretches up the screen, and you're able to keep reaching for the sky. Hit an anvil, however, and you'll quickly fall back down to Earth.

IAPs explained
Hungry Giraffe's in-game currency is "calories", and you earn these by chomping away on anything in the game. Calories are used to unlock upgrades, Angel Feathers, levels, and skins.

You can also purchase calories with real money.

You also earn calories by Liking the developer's Facebook page, following the team on Twitter, and subscribing to its YouTube channel.
It's a simple concept, but nicely executed. Accidentally eat a nasty pill and you'll be hit with a variety of screen effects that may end your game. Elsewhere, paint tubes will squirt obstacles onto the screen so you can't see what you're doing.

Note that the PS Vita version kicks off with tilt controls, as compared to the original analogue controls. You'll want to go to the options screen and turn those off as quickly as humanly possible.

That's because this is a game that demands precision, and the tilt controls won't give you that. Also, if you have your Vita set to hibernate if the screen isn't touched for a while you'll find your game suddenly powering down while you play. Which is obviously hugely annoying.

Hungry for cash

Unfortunately, any potential enjoyment you might get from this pure, stripped down concept is marred by a barrage of ill-advised in-app purchases that make the entire experience feel rather dirty.

There's now a store, with things to buy using Calories. Unfortunately, you collect Calories so slowly that to purchase the majority of things from the store you'll need to spend real-money to buy Calories first.

For example, you'll collect around 3,000-7,000 Calories with each play. In comparison, character skins cost between 100,000 and 400,000 Calories. Elsewhere, there's an upgrade that costs a whopping 800,000 Calories. You do the maths.

You can also purchase Angel Feathers, which allow you to keep going when you die. If you couple these with the various expensive upgrades it's possible to beef your giraffe up to the point where you can essentially pay real money to win the game, regardless of skill.

This wouldn't be an issue if online leaderboards hadn't been added to the game. Did the people on top of the leaderboards get there through skill, or by paying cold hard cash? We will never know, and therefore the leaderboards are useless.

To top it off, I also experienced some loading issues too. On a few occasions, the game would refuse to move past the initial loading screen, and I was forced to restart it. Strange and rather annoying.

If you really want to play Hungry Giraffe, grab the PS minis version instead - it's compatible with the Vita, costs the same amount as this new version, and isn't filled to the brim with insidious tedious nonsense.
 
Hungry Giraffe (PS Vita)
Reviewer photo
Mike Rose | 5 April 2013
This new version of Hungry Giraffe is a shadow of its former self on account of some in-app purchase horrors. Grab the PS minis version instead
 
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Joined:
Oct 2012
Post count:
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@arosbooks | 09:58 - 8 April 2013
If only mobile games containing IAP were reviewed in this way. Thanks for saving me £2.39 as I had been considering this. Might pick up the mini.
 
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