Just when you think there hasn’t been an indie game about parkouring giraffes, the internet is about to prove you wrong once again. Castle On The Coast was released back on December 2nd 2021, and is a brilliant addition for any platformers looking for a new cute game to dive into.
Created by Big Heart Productions and published by Klabater (the studio behind other indie titles such as The Amazing American Circus), Castle On The Coast is an adorable, hand-drawn 3D platformer centred around George The Giraffe and his journey through a magical castle to help bring a family of orphans back together.
Giant Leaps, Giant Heart
The choice of a giraffe as the main character in Castle On The Coast was no accident. George The Giraffe has been the official mascot of the Valley Children’s Hospital in California for nearly 70 years, chosen because giraffes have the largest heart of any land mammal. This makes George an ideal choice to debut in a video game teaching kids about love, loss, and learning about friendships (as well as a hilarious character to see bounding around a giant magical castle).
What is Castle On The Coast?
As George The Giraffe, you land on the shores of a whimsical land with a giant castle. As you travel through the obstacles of swinging platforms, collecting stars and petals along the way, your main goal is to reunite the two powerful orphan wizards – Aleandra and Vendrick – with their fellow orphans, after they hold a grudge with their family. The storyline isn’t too heavy for a game aimed at a younger audience but is not overly simplistic, and provides just enough motivation for players to reunite the family again through the medium of George.
The first thing of note is just how much of the game there is. Without loading screens to wait behind, there was a point about halfway through my playthrough where it hit me just how much there was to do, find, and explore.
The starting area with the beach and surrounding ocean (all of which is fully accessible to explore, whether it’s underwater swimming or with the unlockable submarine), followed by the actual castle itself. Then, there are multiple other areas of the castle to explore where Aleandra and Vendrick are hiding, such as the forest and rainy cathedral zones.
Beyond that, there are crystal caverns, which are like interdimensional rigorous assault courses, with towering puzzle platformer sections. These parts were admittedly quite challenging, and if I hadn’t already found a jet pack that I put to good use, they would have been even more mind-boggling to complete.
In addition to the solo player mode with George The Giraffe, the game also has a two player co-op mode, where a second player can join in as Swirlz The Squirrel on your adventures.
Falling, With Style
It would be wrong not to complete this review without discussing my favourite element of this game – the parkour.
There’s something quite magical about watching a giant giraffe boinging across the screen and vaulting over enormous obstacles, and the game does a fantastic job of handling it through the mechanics. The controls are incredibly responsive, with no detectable input lag to slow things down, making the gameplay a surprisingly tight experience.
As well as the jumps, double jumps, spins, and gambols, George The Giraffe can also curl up into a ball and roll down various slopes and hills, picking up speed as he goes to whizz past hordes of enemies. Swimming movement was a little more difficult to get to grips with, particularly when using the submarine to navigate through the ocean, but it was nothing that took a large amount of brain power to eventually figure out.
As 3D platformers go, it’s a wonderful experience to bounce around such large environments so fluidly, and one I thoroughly enjoyed.
As a collectathon game, the overarching storyline is never the be-all-and-end-all of the experience. Players can find over 40 different achievements in the game, ranging from finding new hidden outfits for George The Giraffe, scaling the heights of the castle, or spinning the poor NPCs around a dizzying number of times.
Some of these achievements are incredibly imaginative – the Boundary Breaker achievement, for instance, requires you to turn off the Invisible Walls from the game’s menu to swim out of bounds and reach the distant wizard’s tower in the middle of the ocean. Similarly, there are achievements unlocked for deleting your save file, or activating a hidden two-player camera mode from the in-game menu.
In other achievements, you have to drive flying cars and submarines into the castle’s main library through various ways – either by elaborate jumping and launching methods, or via the many portals hidden around the environments.
It’s the creativity like this that really makes Castle On The Coast stand out as a fun and interesting experience, beyond the usual ‘Collect All The Collectibles’ genre of achievements you’d expect from a game like this. Other game development studios should take note – this is a great example of achievements done right!
Where Can I Play Castle On The Coast?
This kid-friendly indie game is available to play through PC and Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and PlayStation consoles.
Castle On The Coast is bursting at the seams with imagination, creativity, and magical content for all ages to enjoy. Whether you’re enjoying a quick playthrough for the storyline, bouncing off the magical castle’s walls to perfect your parkour, or grinding to complete every achievement in the game (good luck to you), it’s a whimsical and fun experience and one that certainly brought a giraffe-sized smile to our faces.