Enjoying a peaceful nap during the day should be the right of any and all creatures, even boars. Upon choosing your boar-tagonist (okay, that is the one and only boar pun) immediately after the title screen you wonder off into the meadow. Feeling the soft sensation of flowers beneath your hooves, you find yourself suddenly falling deep underground, after hidden mines create a gapping hole in the middle of the Zen-like environment.
Pushing and digging your way through dirt, sand and other forms of blocks to solve puzzles, the dark narrative slowly unravels along the way. This remains in stark contrast to the enchanting appearance of the animated boars and the subsequent world of Full Bore. Mimicking the open-world feel of traditional Metroidvania titles, Full Bore removes the need to collect new powers or skills. Getting past puzzles only requires the use of your own wit without gating off specific parts of the world. You are able to return to previous areas if needed, just in case you have the sudden emergence of a solution to a previously unsolvable puzzle.
Sand will flow freely downward if given the chance, and stomping on the ground will have varying affects on nearby blocks. Breaking through multiple blocks of the same type will produce a small speed boost, allowing you to quickly break apart remaining blocks in your path. Connecting laser blocks (it is a dig site after all) to a battery block will produce satisfying results. All of these small touches make the world unique, especially considering you are in control of a beast of burden. Any boar that references “samoflange” is okay in my book.
Full Bore may disguise itself as a “digging” title, similar to the popular SteamWorld Dig, but it is a puzzle game at heart. Using your head, you’ll be pushing blocks around the environment to reach previously unreachable areas. None of the puzzles are too challenging, and most can be skipped if you find yourself bashing your head against the wall (figuratively and literally) before a solution presents itself. To help, a rewind mechanic has been included, easing the pressure off to not make a single mistake, with the fear of having to start all over. I found that making a mistake is usually the best way to “solve” a puzzle, as you will get a clearer view of what you were supposed to do. A simple zap, and you can reset the puzzle and yourself. Handy if you happen to block a necessary staircase or platform.
Gems can be collected as penance for something that you’ll do in the early parts of the game, and I found myself drawn to collect as many as possible. Some are hidden in simplistic puzzles requiring you to dig through sand or dirt, while others will make you stop and think before acting. Computers and other bars are scattered about the dig site, allowing you to gain additional tidbits of backstory.
With the release of the second part of the game, Full Bore no longer ends abruptly as it did in The First Dig, providing an enjoyable approach to a puzzle game from start to finish.Note: Full Bore was reviewed on PC. A digital copy of the game provided by the publisher.