In this review of Fall of Porcupine, we will consider its main strengths and weaknesses and analyze various aspects of the game to form a conclusion to decide whether it’s worth playing or not.
Developed by Critical Rabbit and published by Assembly Games, Fall of Porcupine is a story-rich game about healthcare workers. It chronicles how their professional lives interact and collide with their personal lives.
For obvious reasons, I will not spoil the game’s story in any way. However, I will say that it’s an exceedingly compelling and beautiful narrative that will keep you engaged until the very end.
The developers and many critics point out the wholesomeness and coziness of this game, and it has to do with the visuals and the audio. We will explore these aspects of the game – and other features, of course – one by one.
Read the entire review to learn about certain things about the game that you must know before you purchase it. First off, let’s talk about one of the main appealing factors about Fall of Porcupine, that is, its visuals and the art style.
The Art Style and Visuals
Take a look at the below screenshots I took while playing the game:
You do not need to be very attentive to notice the simplistic, yet immensely pleasant and attractive look of the game. As I said before, this colorful, vibrant, and dreamy art style is a major point of attraction. The world looks static as if it was a painting.
I find this stillness to be rather enticing, personally. With the vibrant selection of colors in every level of the game, this is certainly very memorable and it would only make sense to revisit the homey town of Porcupine every once in a while.
There’s a day and night cycle as well, and the world gets nearly black and white come nighttime. The world would seem quite lonely and gloomy once the sun sets, and it aids the atmosphere of the game. In terms of the visuals and the art style, the developer nailed it beautifully.
However, one very minor thing that may bother some players is the fact that it is a little difficult to precisely spot potential pathways and roads in the game because they blend so well with the environment.
I have encountered no visual bugs all throughout my playthrough, which is great.
Under the topic of the art style and visuals, let us also discuss the world and characters, in terms of their visual quality.
The town of Porcupine and its residents
Porcupine is a fairly rural town where the protagonist, Finley, moves in. The St. Ursula’s Hospital is a primary location associated with the game’s plot. There are also many other shops and various landmarks all around the town for the player to explore. Observe the below images to get a good idea of how the buildings and architecture of Porcupine look.
The general, pleasant art style of the game applies to the architecture as well. It’s also clear that the developers had put their minds to making the world rich with variety, as there are a lot of different locations you can visit that look rather different from each other. There are also locations that feature foliage and greenery. These also blend in well with the general visual style of the game and while making the game look varied and interesting, the developers have managed to keep the feel and atmosphere constantly intact. This applies to indoor areas as well. Nothing looks out of place, and the visuals are stunning.
The residents of Porcupine consist of very civilized animals raising families, running businesses, and doing jobs. For example, a doctor in St. Ursula’s Hospital is a rooster.
All of these animals – or rather, citizens of Porcupine – look colorful and well-designed. They can be seen wearing various attire and they certainly look and behave extraordinarily civilized. Including these adorable animals in the game instead of humans makes the game that much more wholesome and beautiful.
Needless to say, the sheer variety of these people must also be appraised. All in all, the developers nailed it in regards to the character design and the world design, in terms of the visuals.
Also, the game’s system requirements for PC are very reasonable, and there aren’t any graphics options to adjust except the ability to switch the resolution from “HD” to “4K” and vice-versa.
Fall of Porcupine gameplay consists of walking around, a little bit of platforming, here and there, and puzzles. Because of the beauty of the town, just walking about won’t be too boring. Instead, it is relaxing and calming.
There are a lot of puzzles in the game. They rely on quick reflexes, logical thinking, and patience. When you are tasked with treating a patient at the hospital, for example, you’ll have to press the button prompts and hold them. That was but one example and the puzzle variety is great in this game.
However, sometimes it can be very frustrating to press the displayed buttons on your controller. Let me elaborate: sometimes, the game instructs you to press and hold the “X” button and tilt the right stick to the left. In situations like that, you will have to use both hands to complete the puzzle effectively. I encountered one puzzle where I couldn’t find the solution at all, and I had to restart from the last checkpoint to recheck the instructions that appear before the puzzle begins.
It would’ve been grand if you could reset the puzzle if you think you messed up, or check the instructions again with a press of a button instead of starting the puzzle from the beginning again. The restarting could’ve been bearable if you could simply “restart from the checkpoint” via the pause menu. Alas, such a feature is not implemented in Fall of Porcupine.
Overall, the puzzles are very entertaining and only a small portion of individuals will find it too difficult. Other than the aforementioned problems, these puzzles offer good gameplay value.
I mentioned earlier that I had to go back to the main menu to restart the puzzle. There is one other issue I encountered while doing so.
This game does not have an autosave indicator, nor are there any save slots or a quicksave feature. It can be understandable for a simple game like this to not have quicksave or even other save slots.
However, the lack of autosave indicators can be troublesome. More than once, I quit the game and restarted it, only to start at areas way before I exited the game. It’s really annoying.
Let me elaborate: I completed a certain set of tasks at the hospital (it took about 20 minutes), and I encountered a mind-boggling puzzle. So, I quit the game and loaded from the last checkpoint, only to see that I had to complete the set of tasks at the hospital once again. It was quite frustrating.
Because of inconveniences like this, the gameplay is not perfect and as convenient as I would like, despite being quite enjoyable most of the time.
Audio and Music
Let me first start by saying that the music is marvelous. The soundtrack consists of beautiful tracks that are relaxing and calming. It perfectly matches the game and it’s one of the reasons why the atmosphere of the game is so outstanding.
The sound effects themselves, however, could have used more improvements. Certain actions like walking or jumping only generate a tiny amount of sound that’s only heard if you’re playing with high volume. While speaking with other NPCs, the conversation is shown in text boxes.
In many other similar games, certain typing sounds or some other sound would play when the conversations are ongoing. While a sound effect does play in this game as well, it is quite suppressed. But that’s not too big of a deal. What I would’ve liked better, though, is to have footsteps and running in different places to generate clear and various sounds.
Overall, the audio and music are decent. The soundtrack certainly makes up for the lackluster SFX.
While certain aspects of Fall of Porcupine could be improved, the most important parts of the game are executed to near perfection. They are the story, the soundtrack, and the town of Porcupine itself. With fun puzzles to solve and interesting, lively characters to meet everywhere, this little town feels exceptionally welcoming, all the time.
Being a game about the lives of healthcare workers, I highly recommend anyone to experience this game and learn a bit more about their lives and understand them a little better while immersing yourself in a beautiful world that’s full of life.