Fall of Porcupine is a charming 2D sidescrolling adventure title that is slow, melodic and evokes a lot of emotions throughout its nearly 9-hour playtime. You understand a very complex perspective and walk a tightrope few are capable of doing in the field of medicine, but a lot of technical issues and a very mild ending really make the impact of the latest doctor in Porcupine feel like a miss rather than a hit. In my Fall of Porcupine review, I’ll talk about what works, and what doesn’t.
The story puts you in the feet of a pigeon named Finley living in the town of Porcupine with other anthropomorphic animals. As the latest addition to St. Ursula, the city hospital, you are tasked with taking care of the patients while also building connections with them along the way. You also connect with the townspeople, and the game is semi-comparable to Coffee Talk.
The game heavily relies on its dialogue to carry the story and with no voice acting. You have to be ready to read lengthy walls of texts between Finley and other residents of Porcupine. It’s worth mentioning here that a lot of these dialogues help build a connection between Finley and the other townspeople. They help in learning more about the city, giving Finley something to look forward to in the form of an event, or something else.
Characters and Interaction
Every person in the town is memorable with their own unique personality, relevance to the story, and, importance to Finley. These characters are visually distinct and the game’s art is easily one of the stronger aspects. They also help in progressing the story depending on your interactions with them on a daily basis, the plans you make with them, and other important aspects of socializing.
If you do not enjoy narrative adventures with a heavy emphasis on reading, you may feel tired very early in the story.
However, if you can brave through all of the text offered by the title, build the connections you are meant to and follow through on Finley’s story, you ultimately uncover a game that has a great beginning and middle act, but the finale is something that fails to match the rest of the game.
The gameplay loop is relatively simple. You walk to the hospital on a daily basis, check in on your patients, do their routine mini-games, and once you are done being a doctor for the day, you are free to meet, mingle, and explore the town. The majority of the game’s appeal comes from the immense amount of dialog, the graphics that are relatively simplistic yet beautiful, and a very atmospheric soundtrack that really gives you get the “small town” vibe.
When interacting with people, you will sometimes get choices for dialog that can influence your relationship with them, but there is nothing here that alters or affects the ending in a substantial way. Paired with the occasional mini-game while in the hospital or out on the town, there really is nothing preventing you from enjoying a game like this if you are into games that have deep lore within them.
However, this is where I have a lot of qualms with the game as well. Some of the puzzles, even with the accessibility options enabled were very difficult to navigate and solve, and in addition, there is no option for manually saving. The quicksave icon also appears in the blink of an eye, which can result in a loss of progress if you’re not looking carefully.
The graphics are simple yet beautiful. With system requirements that can easily run on any recent laptop, the game is immersive in the setting you are put in with no pressure to push the visual envelope, while also engrossing you in a deeply populated world with plenty of characters to meet, each with a distinct personality, appearance, and other characteristics.
The graphics style is something that allows players to enjoy a good scenic view of a small town in a 2D perspective, but the graphics much like the game are very down to earth. If you are okay with video games that emphasize story over visuals such as Coffee Talk or Stardew Valley, you will find comfort in the home of Porcupine.
The music is the second strongest point of the game. It has a calm appeal to it and matches the tone and theme of the game suitably well. The music casts a spell on you with its simplicity and helps with immersing yourself in a world where you want to meet with the residents at different places and times to get to know them better.
Fall of Porcupine is a beautiful, melodic game with a lot of life, character, and a lot to offer for fans of the narrative genre. It has a strong visual appeal to understand the world of balancing your personal life and working life, but a few nitpicks of the game such as difficult puzzles even with the accessibility turned on, a few bugs, and lastly, the lack of a save or properly knowing when a quicksave has just missed your eyeblink, are a few of the things that marred my experience of the title.
When I play a title like this, the puzzles should offer the ability to skip them or allow players to know where their last save is, or allow them to make a manual save. Narrative-driven games like this should have a more casual loop, and the lack of these features makes Fall of Porcupine really fall.
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This review is based on the PC version of Fall of Porcupine. The key was provided by Assemble Entertainment.