Castle on the Coast (Switch, PC)

Meet George the Giraffe!  He has blue hearts for spots and is the mascot of Valley Children’s Healthcare, a hospital in California.  And now he’s starring in his own 3-D platformer!  This game was designed for children to play while healing at the hospital, and some of the proceeds from the game will go to the establishment.  In the game, George explores an old castle where wizards live.  He’ll make friends with wizards and try to figure out why some of them are being mean.  Tromp around the winding halls of the sprawling castle, explore crystal caves and stunt areas and warp to alternate dimensions via stained glass windows.  Castle on the Coast is available to download on Switch and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

For a giraffe, George is pretty nimble.  He can run, double jump, climb, run up walls, spin, and roll.  You can also wave and talk to people with the A button.  George’s adventure is a collect-a-thon where you’ll gather all sorts of baubles.  The game doesn’t really explain why you need to collect all these things, but you do need a certain amount of stars to open doors.  Sometimes George can hop into vehicles like cars to do stunt based challenges.

Unfortunately, the game has a lot of problems.  George’s movements are floaty and he controls like a plush toy flopping around.  Graphics are PSOne and N64 quality, although even back then this game would’ve been considered pretty bad.  Goals are unclear and challenges are frustrating.  If you want to buy this game to support the hospital, that’s great.  Just don’t expect the game to be very good.

Kid Factor:

Nothing violent or objectionable here.  If you get hit too many times or fall off a cliff, George just disappears into a puff of smoke and starts back at the last checkpoint you passed.  Even though the game has a lot of spoken voice, reading skill is helpful for the text.  You can play this game with two player co-op, where the second player controls a squirrel friend, so that may help with the difficulty.  Castle on the Coast is rated E for Everyone.

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