Also on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Switch
Publisher: Assemble Entertainment
Developer: Critical Rabbit
I’m really torn on how to grade Fall of Porcupine. It’s got a cast of pleasant characters, a gorgeous art style, and a nice vibe overall. Those are all unquestionably good things.
The downside? It’s a bit of a buggy mess.
As nice as it would be to say that I was able to overlook awful performance and just focus on Fall of Porcupine’s positives, I just can’t. The first time I started up the game, it immediately crashed. The second time: another crash. After playing around with the settings, I was able to get it to start…only for the game to fall apart completely when it came time to play the minigames. While these issues are undoubtedly fixable, the fact remains that at this point in time, with performance this bad it’s impossible to recommend the game.
It also doesn’t help that an unpredictable automatic save system means that you never want to close the game and start over, since you can never tell just how much progress you’re giving up. As much as I liked talking to Fall of Porcupine’s townsfolk, my enthusiasm waned significantly when I realized I’d have to sit through the same conversations multiple times any time I didn’t guess exactly when I’d reached a checkpoint.
That said, it’s a mark of how pleasant everything else here is that I still really, really wanted to like Fall of Porcupine. As I said up top, the game has a gentle vibe that’s built on the fact you mostly spend the game talking to a cast of very nice characters. You get along with nearly everyone, and you can’t help but want to see how the main character’s friendships with these people will evolve.
Admittedly, part of the reason it’s easy to fall for Fall of Porcupine is because it draws from some pretty great influences. The art style draws heavily from Night in the Woods, both in terms of the characters and the environments and in terms of the colours and shading. On top of that, while the specifics of the story are different – where Night of the Woods was about a college dropout trying to find her way in life, Fall of Porcupine is about a young doctor, Finley, trying to make it in his chosen profession – both are nonetheless coming-of-age stories that draw you in.
Also in terms of influences, for some reason I got a strong Scrubs vibe. It’s been years since I watched that show, and where that show strived for humour Fall of Porcupine aims to first get you emotionally invested, both in the characters and in the way that the medical system operates (or fails to). Plus, of course, that show was about humans, and all the characters here are animals. Nonetheless, there are more parallels than you might think.
But again, none of that – not the solid characters, not the gorgeous visuals, not the impeccable influences – can quite overcome the fact that Fall of Porcupine doesn’t work very well. With time and with patches, it’s easy to imagine it becoming a game worth playing, but it’s definitely not at that stage yet.
Assemble Entertainment provided us with a Fall of Porcupine PC code for review purposes.