“We have no destiny assigned us: nothing is certain but the body; we plan to better ourselves; the hospitals alone remind us of the equality of man.” – W.H. Auden
Fall of Porcupine is a poignant story-driven adventure set in the small town of Porcupine. It follows Finley as he begins his career as a junior doctor and slowly uncovers some of the darker secrets of the town and its residents.
Developer: Critical Rabbit
Released:15th June 2023
Price: £14.99 – £17.99
Fall of Porcupine follows the adventures of its pigeon protagonist Finley as he embarks on a new career as a junior doctor at St Ursula’s Hospital working under Doctor Krokowski, a stern but respected supervisor. The narrative focuses on the difficulties that healthcare professionals face and the overall story is quite emotional with a heartfelt message. The engaging and immersive nature of the narrative, along with its intriguing pacing, helps connect the player to the protagonist and makes the hard-hitting and climactic conclusion all the more meaningful.
There is a lot of variety amongst the NPCs who all have distinct personalities and backstories, from the kooky old lady to the overworked receptionist to the friendly florist and the many patients, there are plenty of people to meet and talk to. This is a highlight of the game and helps bring the town of Porcupine to life!
The gameplay mostly alternates between dialogue and mini-games which make up a good chunk of the experience. At the hospital, treating patients involves a number of mini-games that are repeated throughout the game. These include things like examining patients which involves holding down a set selection of buttons at the same time or diagnosing which requires the player to find the right combination of symbols in a Wordke-esque challenge. These medical tasks are graded from A to C and are followed by a short evaluation wherein Finley is given an overall grade. There are also standalone minigames (some missable) such as a game of basketball, or a pub brawl which involves turn-based combat. These are mostly satisfying with a moderate difficulty level but some such as a dancing mini-game, could benefit from clearer instructions.
Fall of Porcupine takes place over three acts and there is a definite but not overwhelming difficulty curve as the payer progresses. The game will take around twelve hours to complete and fills its time well. There are, unfortunately, some small bugs such as Finley’s torso not being visible for a whole scene and getting locked out of a door requiring a restart from the last checkpoint. Overall, there is a nice range of mechanics and gameplay, balanced nicely with the more dialogue-heavy sections of the game.
Fall of Porcupine has a charming 2D art style with blocks of colour and texture, a lack of harsh outlines and a nice amount of detail, giving the appearance of an illustrated collage. Warm autumnal colour palettes are prominent with gently muted shades and vibrant lighting, however, the visuals become very desaturated during the night for a much different look.
The music is mostly gentle and slow-paced with minimalist melodies, making an ideal backing track for the more laid-back sections of the game. Worrisome drones and eerie discordant sounds accompany the more dramatic sections in a subtle way that adds to the intense atmosphere without feeling intrusive or overwhelming. The ambient sound effects such as birds chirping, the weather, and hospital machines beeping are all well-implemented and help immerse the player further into the game.
Fall of Porcupine is a wonderful game that contrasts casual gameplay with a meaningful and often emotive narrative that provides players with a little insight into the trials and tribulations faced by healthcare professionals. It has delightful visuals with its collage-like art style and seasonal colour palettes which work in tandem with the subtle music and immersive sound design. A few minor bugs crop up but nothing too frustrating, with the overall experience being well-rounded and highly satisfying with its combination of story-focused sections and challenging mini-games. I thoroughly enjoyed Fall fo Porcupine and I’d happily recommend it to anyone looking for a narrative-based adventure game with a good level of interactivity and an important message.
If you like narrative adventures, you might also enjoy these reviews:
Hello Goodboy – A Wholesome and Emotive Adventure – Forgotten Fields – A Nostalgic Journey – Figment 2: Creed Valley – A Fantastical Action-Adventure in the Mind!