These days, you can find a simulator for anything. Anything from Trains to Agriculture and even Goats are the focus in an oddly emerging genre. Today, we look at a game that simulates the life and times of a boar. But not any ordinary boar. this boar happens to be going Full Bore: Into Hard Earth. The “puzzle-platformer-digging-sim” developed by Whole Hog Games was initially funded by Kickstarter, raking in over $16,000. The game is actually technically a sequel to Full Bore: The First Dig, which is included in the first section of the game
After waiting half an hour for my DayZ to update, I dove straight into the life and times of the Boar. My introduction to the login screen was fairly surprising. From starting the game to selecting a save file was done completely without my mouse, reminiscent of the hours and hours of Flash web games I’ve played every single day of my life as a kid. In fact, the entire game is controlled almost exclusively with WASD and the space bar. I’m first asked to select my protagonist. For the purpose of this review, I chose Frederick the Bore rather than Hildi. From my limited time with the game, it appeared that the only defining characteristic between these two heroes is the color choice, with Frederick a rich brown and Hildi a majestic purple.
Set in side-scrolling world, with graphics reminiscent of a swine-based Terraria, the player controls their choice of boar as they dig, burrow, and stomp their way through an unknown cavernous environment. On the never-ending search for blue gems, Frederick wanders the game interacting with various NPC’s that form some sort of mining enterprise.
After accused of thievery by the monstrous foreman, Frederick or Hildi themselves are enlisted to aid in the fortune-seeking venture. I at first thought the game was going to be this simple. Just hit blocks, get coins, win game. As I progressed through the boar’s story, however, it painted a much different picture. Despite being a game based entirely on wild pigs, the written dialogue helps to flesh out prominent NPC’s and provide a loose structure of story throughout the course of the game. While not a prize-winning masterpiece of a story, Full Bore goes much further to keep the player than many other indie games.
Whole Hog Games states the game is a puzzle-platformer-digging-sim, oddly reminiscint of one of my [favorite flash games of all time]. In order to advance between stages, your friendly boar champion must complete a series of puzzles and platforming challenges, mostly by breaking blocks and moving laser beams or other devices into various places. With such a limited move set and the constrictions of a 2D environment, Full Bore offers some intensely challenging puzzles. One frustrating part I found was the presence of unwinnable situations. Often I would get Frederick stuck in an area where I could not escape. Luckily, Full Bore features a “rewind” capability by holding the backspace button. Any time you make a mistake or feel the need to run through a scenario again, you can hold the backspace button and step through your previous actions. While this eliminated much of the challenge or punishment of failure, it was a breath of relief as I attempted to stop a massive drill from killing us all.
As I progressed from stage to stage, conquering puzzles left and right, I sometimes felt that I had solved many of the difficult portions completely by accident, or that I was probably moving in the wrong direction. The game is fairly open-world for a side scroller, and as such the feeling of being lost was a close companion as I progressed. Rarely did I actually stray from the correct path, but the nagging suspicion of missing a gem or important dialogue was not uncommon.
While the art style for the game is nothing new, the 2D lighting is a fairly refreshing break from many other games of the genre. Each level is cast in a fairly unique color that shines the retro graphics in a very complimentary way. As Frederick progresses through the game, the feel is very powerfully changed and represented by the changes in music and color. Scary, unknown areas are often cast in a foreboding purple hue while the above-ground dig site is a welcoming shade of blue and brown.
Digging into Steam on May 6th, Full Bore: Into the Earth should prove to be a grand old time for any fan of side-scrolling, puzzle-solving indie games. Those familiar with Kickstarter may have already had a taste of the Boar, but those who haven’t can check out the developers [5 Reasons You Should Play Full Bore Now]. With a surprisingly fleshed-out story and wonderful visuals and music, Full Bore is a wonderfully silly game that anybody can sink their time into.
This review was completed with a Steam (PC) review code provided by Evolve PR.