Full Bore
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 8

Full Bore is a sprawling adventure with plenty of puzzle based challenges to tackle while you are exploring. Apart from a few rare instances you are not racing against a clock or facing any type of enemies so you can progress at your own pace. Some players may find the experience too sedate while others will be hooked by the fascinating gameworld and tricky puzzles.

Gameplay: A block based puzzler with some very clever challenges.

Graphics: Lovely pixel art with some great animations and lighting effects.

Sound: An excellent glitch/blues soundtrack rounds off the package

Summary 8.0 Great
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

Full Bore

Developer: Whole Hog Games | Publisher: Nikidu Games Inc. |Release Date: 2014 | Genre: Adventure / Casual / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

During some digging the protagonists of Full Bore, a boar named Frederick or a sow named Hildi, stumbled into the vault of a mining company. After being accused of pilfering the contents of the vault your boar is summarily dispatched to the mines to pay for their alleged crimes. While digging around in the mines of the Full Bore Mining Company your boar uncovers a much bigger mystery and so your real adventure begins.

When I first started playing Full Bore I was expecting something along the lines of Steamworld Dig or Super Motherload where the aim of the game is digging and upgrading your character. I soon discovered that Full Bore has much more in common with games like Fez and that digging is just a tool for solving the multitude of block puzzles that you encounter. Full Bore is an open world game with a heavy focus on exploration and usually it is just your own inability to solve puzzles that will halt your progress in a certain direction. Thankfully, each area usually has multiple secrets and hidden rooms so if you find yourself stuck somewhere you can usually just pick a new direction and go exploring somewhere else.

Initially this kind of freedom is a little overwhelming, especially once you realize that while the game might feel like a Metroid-vania title you do not unlock new skills that open up new areas. Instead your boar has all the skills it needs right off the bat. While you can dig for gems it is not really required to complete the game so unless the puzzle solving really grabs your fancy the game can feel a bit aimless. The exploration element is a lot of fun though, and when you start to discover the computers, logs and books that explain the backstory of the game it is hard not to become hooked.

The game was initially released as Full Bore: The First Dig, but this Steam release completes the package with “Into Hard Earth” which is the second half of the game. In total there are over a hundred areas to explore which is a bit daunting, but the fact that you can explore at your own pace and rarely encounter any conflict certainly helps. You have a very large map that you can call up which aids in charting your progress and is very helpful for showing you which areas you have already cleared. The things left to do in an area such as gems, secrets or doorways are also marked on the map which can really help to cut down the aimless wandering.

Initially as you make your way through the mines, temples, scrapyards and laboratories you will more than likely stroll past a few puzzles without even realizing that you can solve them. Your boar can only dig through certain blocks or push them around which is all you need to solve the puzzles. You also have a stomp move which can be used to knock down certain blocks, but it takes a while to get used to the absence of a jump button. I lost count of the amount of times I was left furrow browed trying to figure out a block based solution to an obstacle that would only have taken a small jump to clear. You can’t control the direction of your boar while falling either, so expect to go plummeting straight down if you drop down a gap. Luckily what your boar lacks in jumping ability it makes up for in resilience as it won’t die from a fall no matter the height.

Because all the puzzles are block based you will inevitably mess things up at some point and end up with a puzzle that can’t be solved. Fortunately, your boar has the uncanny ability to rewind time so you can just skip back to a point before you made a fatal mistake. This definitely cuts down on the frustration and means you have nobody to blame when you can’t solve a puzzle. Figuring out how to manipulate the blocks is very rewarding and once you are hooked you will find yourself actively seeking out puzzles that you skipped earlier in the game.

The game uses a very nice pixel art style for the visuals that manages to hit all the nostalgia buttons for players that grew up with 16-bit games. Some awesome lighting effects and brilliant animations ensure that the game doesn’t appear dated though. The soundtrack is made up of glitch/blues tunes which are quite fitting and certainly very memorable. I still have the theme tune to the game stuck in my head and I suspect it will remain there for quite some time. One aspect of the game that requires a little practice is the controls, which take some getting used to. I constantly found myself trying to jump across gaps and until you get used to the way your boar handles the controls can feel a bit cumbersome. Once mastered there is no looking back, but there is definitely an initial learning curve.

Full Bore is a game that you can just blitz through, but doing so will mean that you miss out on all the clever puzzles and interesting backstory elements. This is a game where you have to take your time (except when in a race against a giant drill heading for explosive blocks) and really soak in the atmosphere. There is a lot more going on than you might guess from the whimsical visuals and it will certainly give puzzle fans a decent mental workout. Not everyone enjoys block based puzzles, but Full Bore is certainly one of the more interesting not to mention challenging entries in the genre. If this game manages to suck you in be prepared to spend some serious time down in the dirt uncovering all its secrets.

*Review originally published May 2014.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP
  • Processor: 1.8 GHz
  • Memory: 500 MB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce 7600 or equivalent
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 300 MB available space
  • OS: Windows 7 or later
  • Processor: 2.4 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce 240 or equivalent
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 300 MB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 or later
  • Processor: 1.8 GHz
  • Memory: 500 MB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce 7600 or equivalent
  • Hard Drive: 300 MB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 or later
  • Processor: 2.4 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce 240 or equivalent
  • Hard Drive: 300 MB available space

Related posts

LOST ORBIT

LOST ORBIT

Hang on to your jetpack and dodge the perils standing between you and your home system in this action packed game from PixelNAUTS. The controls are responsive, the story interesting and flying through gauntlets of obstacles is simply exhilarating. The game is also quite easy on the eyes and features a great soundtrack to boot. Unfortunately, the 40 levels on offer fly past way too fast, but overall Lost Orbit is an easy game to recommend. Gameplay: Boosting through space while swerving around obstacles and making use of whatever you can find to increase your speed is a lot of fun. Graphics: Colorful and very polished. Sound: Great voice acting and an even better soundtrack.

The Marvellous Miss Take

The Marvellous Miss Take

You might be playing as a trio of thieves in The Marvellous Miss Take, but don’t expect shadowy corners and stealth kills. Instead, the game challenges you to get the job done as quickly as possible and without being able to resort to any violent means. A nice selection of gadgets offer some help, but the random guard patrols, abundance of security cameras, and dogs that can track your sent means even the best plans can quickly go awry. It is a challenging title, so expect to spend some time if you want to fully conquer all its missions. Gameplay: With a lot more action than stealth this game will appeal to players that don’t have the patience to lurk in the shadows while memorizing guard patterns. Graphics: Colorful, well animated and very charming. Sound: No voice acting, but the soundtrack fits the action very nicely.

Princess Maker 3: Fairy Tales Come True

Princess Maker 3: Fairy Tales Come True

The third installment in the popular Princess Maker series is finally available, but unfortunately not in refined form like its predecessors. The game is a lot more streamlined, but with sixty different endings, it still has more than enough content to keep players busy for ages. It is a pity that the game has had such a rocky launch and issues with the translation along with other technical problems continue to plague it, but underneath it all there is still a very addictive game waiting to be played. Gameplay: Schedule your daughter’s activities and raise her to become a princes. Graphics: This game dates back to the nineties, so don’t expect too much, but the pixel art animations are really nice. Sound: The music is decent enough, but can become repetitive, although the voice acting is still good.

Post Apocalyptic Mayhem

Post Apocalyptic Mayhem

Post Apocalyptic Mayhem is pretty bare bones when compared to other racing titles on the market and it has somewhat of a low-budget feel to it, but provided you can get into a decent multi-player match there is lots of fun to be had. The free DLC released for the game has also since been integrated with the base game. Gameplay: Despite the floaty controls and lack of variety there is still fun to be had. Graphics: Nothing spectacular, but the visuals aren't too shabby. Sound: Pretty generic

Back To Bed

Back To Bed

The interesting visuals and surreal atmosphere of Back to Bed are definitely highlights, but the gameplay is also quite addictive. It is not as challenging as some other titles in the genre, but there is some added longevity in the form of a "Nightmare" mode. The puzzle solving is rather straightforward despite the odd landscapes, but overall the game is very enjoyable and well worth the very low asking price. Gameplay: Features some nice brainteasers. Graphics: Surrealistic to say the least. Sound: Fits the dreamlike atmosphere of the game perfectly.

Koihime Enbu

Koihime Enbu

Join the all-female cast of fighters in Koihime Enbu for some great 2D fighting. The character roster is fairly small, but very unique and the game is designed to be accessible to newcomers. However, there is still plenty of depth and experienced players can take the fights to a whole new level. Even if you are not familiar with the source material we recommend the game to anyone looking for a fun, accessible and great looking 2D beat ‘em up. Gameplay: Deceptively simple, but with enough depth to keep you coming back for more. Graphics: Great character designs with plenty of detail and colors. Sound: Full Japanese voice acting and some nice background music.

Leave a comment

5 + 4 =