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Afrika review

Wildlife fanatic? Fancy doing an Attenborough? You'll love this


  • Truly stunning vistas
  • The most lifelike in-game animals yet
  • Educational


  • Some graphical glitches
  • No real danger
  • Waiting around for animals to move

You’ll know, if you’ve ever visited Africa, just how captivating a place it can be. It’s exotic - the kind of place not everyone is able or inclined to visit, but it’s a part of Earth that has the power to remind you that you’re alive.

There isn’t that much game here, at least not in the traditional rapid-button-pressing sense (and certainly not in the even more traditional shooting-animals-with-rifles sense), but there is a lot of virtual nature to be seen and appreciated in an “ooh-look-aah” kind of way. Fortunately, there’s some reason to Afrika’s aestheticism: you take the role of a freelance photographer/researcher, either a French chap called Eric or a girl called Anna, and are commissioned to take (camera) shots at the wildlife, doing your best to meet clients’ demands for specific compositions and content.

The game uses some programming tricks to determine, with surprising accuracy, how well your snaps (and, later, video footage) have turned out. “Marvelous angle, but shame about the distance: Grade B.” That sort of thing.

Missions are assigned by email. Afrika is in the 21st century, don’t-you-know, and Eric and Anna are kitted out with a laptop and satellite Internet in their tent, as well as an MDF bookshelf. Missions are completed by replying with file attachments that satisfy clients’ requests. Other than the curious gratification of having your safari-recording efforts marked with a letter of the alphabet, good work is also rewarded with good money. And cash can be used to buy new equipment to assist your work.

Before you know it, you’re caught in a self-perpetuating cycle that dictates you spend every day of your trip looking for animals. The good news is that it’s rarely a mundane task. The only downtime comes when you’re waiting for a particular species of animal to arrive in a particular location and do something particularly silly. We had to wait half an hour just to take a prize-winning photo of a hippopotamus yawning as it wallowed in a muddy pool. This is living, yeah?

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What was once an E3 centerpiece of PS3 power now slinks to the US via publisher Natsume. Certainly it has a beautifully realized African setting, but it holds the player back and is too sterile.

US censor ratingEveryone 10+
Alternative namesHakuna Matata
Release date13 October 2009 (US), (UK)
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