Giftpia is a unique RPG developed by Skip for the Gamecube. Described as a “Communication Adventure”, the game does not involve battles, dungeons, and monsters like a traditional RPG, but instead has the player take control of a young boy named Pockle as he completes various chores for the inhabitants of Nanashi Island.
Having slept too long and missed his coming of age ceremony, Pockle gets thrown in jail and told that he must repay the 5 million Mane that the ceremony cost. This is so that another can be held, which is required in order for Pockle to reach adulthood.
In order to raise the money he needs, Pockle must perform a variety of tasks around the island including: finding lost items, fishing, doing oddjobs like mending sign posts, delivering presents, and operating a spotlight during a performance on stage. Whilst going about these tasks, attention must be paid to Pockle’s stamina, indicated by his heart meter – which starts at only three hearts but can be expanded by finding additional hearts. As his stamina decreases Pockle must eat food to refill it, enabling him to continue his work.
At first Pockle suffers from many restrictions, such as having his face pixelated, a ball and chain attached to his ankle, and an early curfew. These affect what Pockle is able to do early on, as, for example, the ball and chain slow down his movement, and, if he stays out past his curfew, he gets chased down by Sleep Demons who steal half his money. As he helps people and makes progress towards paying off his debt, these restrictions are gradually lifted, making it easier for Pockle to reach his eventual goal of becoming an adult.
The game’s opening theme was created by Hirofumi Taniguchi, and is an operatic piece, performed entirely in Hanamogeran – a language created specifically for Giftpia and spoken by the natives of Nanashi Island throughout the course of the game.
Giftpia’s soundtrack, which can be heard in-game over the airwaves of the island’s local radio station “Nanashi-FM”, is of particular note, comprised as it is of an eclectic selection of music from well over a dozen independent Japanese artists. The tracklisting is as follows:
- Yuzo Kako – pop_error song
- Komatsu Machiko & Tango Cristal – EL LLORÓN
- Kaimy Plants – Close Down
- 6nin – BOXBOX
- moai – Nocturne
- Oscillator – leftover fed
- yet – right from wrong
- ECHO MOUNTAIN – FREE SLOW
- SIX SQUARES – Fruits of Love
- The Travellers – Dig That Beat
- Aprils – ASTRO
- FUZZ PROPOSAL – [Multiplication]
- BOSSA 51 – Cat’s Alley [Cat Yokotiyou]
- Redneck Trio – SUN GOES DOWN
- Komachi – Kinnyamonya
- The Winstons – THE WINSTONS’ SHOW
- MUMU – Government Officer [Public official # 4]
- Akino – Wertes Baum
- snoweffect – icicle