Giraffe and Annika is a Rhythm-3D Platformer developed by Atelier Mimina and published by Playism. It was released on February 18th, 2020, and is available on Steam for PC.
Annika is a Cat Girl who wakes up on the mysterious Spica Island. She soon meets a boy calling himself Giraffe who claims to know her. Problem is, Annika doesn't seem to know him.
In fact, Annika can't seem to remember anything.
Giraffe tells her to go find the star fragments. Only then can she unravel the mystery. During her travels, she meets a witch named Lily and engages her in a rhythm battle. Upon winning, Annika finds the star fragments and absorbs them into herself.
From there, Annika sets off to explore the island to recover her memories.
Giraffe and Annika contains examples of:
- Aerith and Bob: As shown in the title itself, Giraffe and Annika. Aside from the rabbit family having rabbit-themed names, everyone except Giraffe has normal human names, from the catgirl Annika to the elf-eared witch Lily to the missing Lisa. As it turns out, this is because Giraffe isn't his actual name, but a nickname his granddaughter gave him because he seemed so tall to her when she was little.
- But Thou Must!: If you refuse to help Giraffe in the beginning because the dungeons are too dangerous, he talks you into making the same choice over again until you agree.
- Cat Girl: Annika, naturally. She's mostly human, but she has cat ears and a cat tail.
- Cute Witch: Lily.
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Dying immediately brings you back to a spot generally close to where you died at with no other penalty. However, if you're going for the speedrun achievement and playing without a guide or any prior knowledge, this lost time can still add up.
- Dreaming the Truth: An important part of getting the best ending is finding the wreck of the ferry that was lost off the coast and evidence of Giraffe's presence there. This appears to be part of a larger implication that even if the game took place in a dream, it really was Giraffe's spirit you were interacting with, and he needed Annika's help in order to finally return home and rest.
- Fantasy Keepsake: Grandma Lisa gives Annika a bag that contains the Star Fragment Pendant in the real world. This ends up being more of a twist than usual, because up until that point it was implied that the Star Fragment Pendant was simply based on the collar worn by the cat that Annika was conflated with in the dream world. If you look closely, the orb is not part of the cat's collar in the ending.
- Foreshadowing: The game is absolutely loaded with hints toward the reveals and ending. These include, but are not limited to, Lisa and Lily having the same hairstyle, a picture of a realistic rabbit and cockatiel on the second floor of Lisa's house, Giraffe appearing old in one flashback despite being young in the "present", the presence of ghosts everywhere throughout the game, the modern-looking city with cars visible at night off in the distance, and more.
- One of the first things you can find is a newspaper article about a ferry lost off the coast of the island. You can find another couple of references to the ferry that also don't impact the main quest, but it's not until the end of the game that you find out that it's essentially what the game has really been about the entire time. The ending even has a secondary element to this when it shows that the theoretical bridge mentioned in the article was eventually built.
- Giant Enemy Crab: One of the bosses Lily battles Annika with is a gigantic king crab (king in the sense that it wears a crown on its head).
- Key Under the Doormat: The first puzzle is finding the key to Lisa's house, which is hidden in a very conspicuous chest right behind the house that is merely surrounded by crates.
- Minecart Madness: At one point in the game, Annika rides a minecart through a lava-filled cavern.
- Multiple Endings: If you beat the game normally, Annika will briefly see a ghostly image of Giraffe along the side of the road before going to full screen credits. If you beat the game after completing the glowing paper quest and returning the ring to its owner (see Permanently Missable Content), Giraffe will be completely solid in the ending and will not disappear as he heads home carrying his luggage.
- Name and Name: Giraffe and Annika, obviously.
- Nobody Poops: Downplayed. There are outhouses scattered throughout the island and you can even get an achievement for using them, but you never have to. Technically justified considering the actual context of the story.
- Permanently Missable Content: Once you enter the fourth dungeon, the White World, you can no longer finish the glowing paper sidequest, which changes the ending. After the 1.10 patch, the game will warn you about this. Still, the NPCs, though not the items, are still there, they simply refuse to talk to you about it anymore. Also, once you beat the final boss, you can no longer do anything else in the game but finish it (prior to the boss you could still use the escape dungeon option, and in fact have to in order to turn in all of the Meowsterpieces). The game has no Playable Epilogue, so you must be careful with your save slots.
- Pointy Ears: Lily has these.
- Save Point: Mrs. Save serves this purpose in the game. Also a Justified Save Point, as you recounting your adventures and her having an impeccable memory, which also ties into a greater theme of the game about memories.
- Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: The inhabitants of Spica Island vary in how anthropomorphic they are, ranging from full-on human to Little Bit Beastly to Beast Man.
- Super Drowning Skills: Downplayed. Swimming rapidly drains Annika's health at the beginning of the game, even if her head is above water. You unlock the power of swimming later in the game, but it still drains your health, just at a reduced rate.
- Technicolor Magic: Lily is a witch who dresses in purple.
- Treasure Chest: The game has them, of course. Things such as Meowsterpieces are found in them.
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: Giraffe and Annika is mostly a 3D platformer, but the boss battles are a Rhythm Game, and most of the minecart segments become a Rail Shooter as you have to blast away obstacles or enemies in the way.
- Walking Spoiler: At least one, if not two, major characters would be impossible to honestly name, let alone list tropes for, without spoiler tagging most of them. That would be Lily, since she's actually Lisa, and Giraffe, because anything about his identity changes the context of the story.
- Wham Episode: The fourth dungeon not only has a reveal that re-contextualizes your quest, but Annika being a normal human for the duration makes it nearly impossible to continue ignoring details that have appeared but were easily missed before.
- You Have Researched Breathing: The three main powers you unlock are jumping, swimming, and sprinting. In the game's defense, the jumping is much higher and further than real life and allows slight mid-air repositioning, and the sprinting is fast enough to shatter boulders (at least in a cutscene).