It’s been a while since I covered a demo, but with the Fall of Porcupine: Prologue available to download, I loaded it up on the Steam Deck, gave it a test drive and giving you the results. It’s a boy!
That boy is Finley – a boidie, not a porcupine, as you might surmise. We join him a few weeks into his internship at St Ursula’s hospital. It just so happens that same day, he’s late for work, so you get to see that this is an ickle bit of a platformer with some jumping and gliding along the way.
Upon his arrival, he meets up with the boss and then does the rounds on patients. Shortly after, you’ll get your own patients to attend to and experience the mechanics. I had predicted it would be a dialogue-heavy story with the appropriate optional responses to offer, but there’s quite a bit of interaction in Buntspecht Games’ title, which could be defined as mini-games.
Perhaps the patient examination procedure is the most important mini-game in Fall of Porcupine: Prologue. Like a QTE, the corresponding buttons will show on the screen that you hold for a short time until the next are revealed. Once completed, you’re ranked on your ability. Playing this on the Steam Deck was like learning the bass again, however, and stretching accordingly would only result in a B ranking at best.
You’ll speak with other patients and hospital staff between Finley’s rounds, which don’t take long. These interactions are excellent and feel very natural. There’s an emphasis on the work/life balance and feeling underappreciated. Even though Finley’s on his feet all day, others will still say he’s lazy, not doing a good job and lots more discouraging slurs. This was what I had expected after reading the press material, but what I hadn’t anticipated was how witty it was too. In a short space of time, Finley becomes a very likeable protagonist.
As you’ll see from both the screenshots, GIFs and trailer, Fall of Porcupine: Prologue is a beautifully illustrated game. You’ll see in countless write-ups and videos the comparisons between this and Night In The Woods, and that’s understandable. In all honesty, I wasn’t a fan of the latter, but eager to see how this pans out, what with the *no spoilers* cliffhanger.
Yes, it’s a short prologue (and free!), but the pacing was excellent, and there was a good opportunity to see what this game will likely offer in the near future. I almost lost my enthusiasm when an apparent card game was introduced, but instead, it was a numbers game called BUMS! Yeah… play the demo. Additionally, there’s an interactive fight scene as well. Neither of the last two mini-games did it for me, and I’ll have to say that while the game is well-written, there are quite a few typos and missing words that unfortunately stand out in places.
Still, these are all minor, and this isn’t a review, just summing up the rather excellent demo you can play on Steam now. Fall of Porcupine: Prologue is available now – the full game will be published by Assemble Entertainment in 2023.
Do check this out. It has enormous potential to be an emotional rollercoaster. It’s a good thing to feel!