Do You Dig The Pig? – A ‘Full Bore’ Review
Pigs, I mean Boars
Lack of incentive
If you like puzzles and pigs, Full Bore is the game for you!
Boars might possibly be the most amazing creatures to grace our big, blue planet. When they’re not feasting out of their troth, they’re hard at work digging in the mines and solving increasingly complicated puzzles. Full Bore, a 2D open-world puzzle platformer from Whole-Hog Games, follows the adventures of one of two boars: Frederick or Hilidi. At first glace, this game seems to be more like games such as Steamworld Dig or Terraria, but upon further inspection the differences become quite apparent. While those games place emphasis on exploration, Full Bore places emphasis on puzzle solving; all of your exploration is in service of solving the puzzles around you. So, does Full Bore burrow its way into your heart, or is this game truly a “full bore”?
The lore of Full Boar is anything but ‘boaring’
Don’t let Full Bore‘s charming animations and visual style trick you – the game has a surprisingly dark story. The boar’s adventure begins as he accidentally blasts into an empty bank vault, and consequently is framed for robbing. In order to repay his supposed debt, the boar must dig in the mines to replenish the bank vault. The basic plot is relatively simple, and it really is not all that interesting. The story seems to only exist as a reason to enter the mines and uncover the truly interesting part of Full Bore: the lore.
The back story to this charming gaming is something to behold. Why is there a world populated by boars? What world are they on? The shockingly dark backstory creates a nice contrast from the beautiful visuals and cute animations. It has a mysterious feel to it and makes players want to uncover hidden pieces of lore. This endeavor makes burrowing your way through the mines to uncover every shred of lore an extremely fun experience.
Boars can solve puzzles too…
Full Bore adopts Metroidvania-style aesthetics. The game is a 2D sidescroller which places emphasis on backtracking to uncover hidden secrets. Interestingly, though, Whole Hog Games attempts to deviate from the tried-and-true formula of classic Metroidvanias. Instead of gaining new abilities and backtracking to unlock new areas, Full Bore grants the player every ability they will receive right at the beginning of the game. New areas are unlocked as the player beings to understand the game’s logic; the more you learn about the puzzle mechanics, the more the map opens up to you! It’s a very interesting system that’s quite rewarding. You actually feel yourself learning how the game works. Full Bore makes you feel accomplished when you backtrack and easily discover complicated puzzles that were hidden to your previously unenlightened eyes at the beginning of the game.
Full Bore’s puzzles revolve around the manipulation of blocks. The boar has the ability to push, climb, and smash some of the blocks. There are different kinds of blocks that have different properties – some break when you climb on them, some regenerate after being destroyed, and so on. With the basic mechanics of the boar, and the array of different blocks, some truly devious puzzles are created. The puzzles require the player to sometimes think three or four moves ahead to solve. This is where the idea of an open-world puzzle game is a blessing. When a puzzle becomes too complicated, or you feel like you’re never going to solve it, you’re not stuck as you would be in a traditional puzzle game. You can always leave that area and find an easier puzzle, or find a new way to learn the mechanic you need for the puzzle that is giving you trouble. It’s an interesting take on the puzzle game genre, and it’s implemented well within this game.
As far as difficulty goes, Full Bore is not terribly complicated. The game itself is relaxing to play, and it’s hard to get frustrated at the puzzles while playing. The rewind feature that allows you to go back point-by-point until your last checkpoint makes attempting multiple solutions to the puzzles easy and gives the game a less aggravating atmosphere.
Awkward pacing and lack of incentive hurt this otherwise great game
Other than completing the story mode, which took me roughly eight hours, there isn’t much incentive to go back and collect gems to fill the bank vault. Besides the feeling of joy one receives after completing a difficult puzzle, there is no tangible award within the game for collecting all of the gems. This makes majority of the game’s puzzles pointless, and it’s hard to solve an extremely difficult puzzle that has literally no affect in the game. The lack of incentive to solve some of the game’s harder puzzles is definitely one of Full Bore‘s downfalls.
Along with that, there was one section of the game that required speedy puzzle solving, which felt unwelcome and awkward. The game tries to be a relaxing puzzle platforming experience, from the funky music to the ability to rewind. Whole Hog Games appears to want to make Full Bore challenging, but not to the point of frustration. Though there is one section of the game that requires the player to solve puzzles before the timer runs out. This requires stacking blocks and pushing them all into an exact location before being able to use them. It was an awkward jump in pacing that frustrated me while playing this sequence.
Overall, Full Bore proves how important game mechanics truly are. The laid-back puzzler actually makes the player feel smart as they learn the game’s intuitive puzzle logic. But for those who are not big into puzzle games, this one might not be for them. The only rewards you get in the game are the personal ones – the small victories you gain after solving an intricate and especially complicated puzzle. The lack of incentive and awkward pacing hurts the game, but if you’re into puzzle games, Full Bore is definitely worth a shot.
Full Bore is a game worth checking out if you are a fan of puzzle games. It’s a new take on the genre, and it is far more accessible than most other games in that class. But the lack of in-game incentives make solving some of the more complicated puzzles seem pointless. It’s a great game, but it’s definitely geared towards those who love solving puzzles.
If you are not a fan of puzzle games then the 15 dollar asking price might be a bit much. Still, Full Bore is definitely worth checking out.