Hungry Giraffe
| Hungry Giraffe

Hungry Giraffe works because it adheres to two basic principles: simple ideas are often the best, and a little personality goes a long way.

You control a giraffe's head as it snakes up from the forest floor to the farthest reaches of space. The screen is dotted with food which the giraffe must consume in order to fuel his ascent.

Fail to eat enough food and he will start to sink back down the screen until he falls off the bottom, ending the game.

That's it. Play the game for five minutes and you've seen pretty much everything it has to throw at you. Thankfully, the core gameplay is solid enough that this lack of variety is a virtue rather than a failing.

A mouthful

Apples and strawberries are the main foodstuffs the long-necked beastie gobbles. Push a little higher and you begin to encounter fast foods like tacos and fries, both of which offer a slightly bigger boost.

Anvils continuously hove into view, threatening to stop you dead in your tracks. Dumbells also appear, often immediately next to much-needed snack fuel. If these are consumed, the giraffe is temporarily weighed down, slowing his climb and taking the punch out of food boosts.

The most frustrating elements of Hungry Giraffe are the poisons. Green vials prompt the poor animal to chunder all over the screen, obscuring your view, while pills temporarily reverse the controls.

Though irritating - and somewhat overused - these unsavoury items test your reflexes and focus your attention squarely on the task at hand.

Heart in your throat

Between of the preponderance of impassible anvils and constant need to chow down to keep moving, you’re never more than a hearbeat away from the Game Over screen at any given moment.

What's even more thrilling, however, is that you can often snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by steering yourself to the base of a food cluster moments before the bottom of the screen swallows you up.

Neck a chilli pepper and you'll zoom upwards in a cloud of smoke and flame, passing through anvils unscathed. You can also collect hard hats, which let you activate an emergency boost at the tap of a button - just the thing for overcoming that sinking feeling.

Even flow

It's possible to complete the game without a single break or load screen, at which point the first environment will reappear again, allowing you to carry on playing indefinitely.

This unbroken progress contributes to a satisfying sense of flow, rewarding your dexterity with continued play and the incentive to beat your previous height record.

To top it all off, the attractive visuals and neat presentation are brimming with personality, conveying a tongue-in-cheek absurdity that is both charming and apt, given the ridiculous subject matter.

Hungry Giraffe

Simple, short, but immediately engaging, Hungry Giraffe is a game that will devour your time as readily as its protagonist devours tacos
James Gilmour
James Gilmour
James pivoted to video so hard that he permanently damaged his spine, which now doubles as a Cronenbergian mic stand. If the pictures are moving, he's the one to blame.