It’s great to see a misunderstood, lovable beast; namely, “the wild boar” finally get its own video game. On first inspection, Full Bore might appear to just be an average platformer; in which you collect fruit and defeat the baddies. However, underneath its facade of cutely crafted pixels is a challenging puzzle-platformer set within a huge mine-site environment. This game welcomes you to explore, push and dig your way through an open world multi-mine world in search for gems while subtly learning the story of the working boars and the mine’s history.
In Full Bore, you take on the role of either Hildi or Frederick, just two happy boars enjoying the sun until “the boar you select” suddenly plunges into the depths of an industrial mining site deep below the earth. You then stumble into the office of the big wig boar who oversees the whole mining company. Irritated by your mere presences and accusing you of a thievery of the gems, he sends you to work to replace all of the missing gems to replenish the company safe. The layouts for each level is impressively massive as well as open by design, but all relative and connected via a series of tunnels. There is no straight path to this game, and exploration is the primary key to solving all the puzzles and obtaining gems to complete the story. The design doesn’t pigeonhole you into solving the puzzles in a particular order, and is arranged in a way where you travel and complete tasks at your own pace.
It’s important to know upfront that gems are the only thing that you’ll acquire while playing this platformer; there are no upgrades or new abilities to unlock, making this a straight-up puzzler. Ultimately, you are only left with your wits to fully understand the mechanics of the puzzles, and how different blocks work and manipulated. You do fortunately have the option to rewind your mistakes, which is a tool made famous by indie-gem “Braid” in 2008.
There are a few straightforward paths that you’ll encounter, but you’ll mostly find the game demands that you plan ahead and think through the correct steps to solve the puzzle. In this game, you have a few helpful abilities: you have the option to stomp; which dissolves sandboxes; To create platforms, you have the option of pushing solid boxes, or you can dig through them to discover new paths of entry. An important option that is missing from this game, that is in nearly all platforming titles, is jump. Instead, you have the ability to climb; which, in turn, creates an ideal move set for the boar and makes for interesting ways to solve block puzzles and retrieve gems.
The art design of the underground environments looks fantastic, and the use of lighting and shadows is well-crafted. In addition, the colour palette throughout is vibrant and visually appealing, which actually reminds me a little of 2012’s “Fez.” I’d confidently say it’s captured that look well enough to entice players on its visuals alone.
Another great addition was the map, aiding you with a large multi-levelled blueprint. I do wish they added a little more detail, as well as zooming options, though, as I found it was difficult to find where to go. I was, however, pleased that it displayed my progress and kept track of what gems were missing from completion; which was helpful. The soundtrack is a blues inspired chiptune arrangement, which meshed well with the pixelated underground backdrop. The layer of music adds a certain quirkiness to it, and helps to create an upbeat mood.
Full Bore is a game that’s filled with both character and charm, and in turn, hooked me with its clever puzzles and nifty presentation. It may look like many of the pixel-art indie games on the market today, but I found the art design was logical for a boar adventure platformer. Admittedly, some of the hidden gem puzzles were frustrating, but there were equally rewarded with a great sense achievement. Full Bore doesn’t change the tide of platforming, but it does add some fine ideas, and provides an interesting entry into a popular and ripened genre.