Back in March of 2014, Nicole Oquendo previewed an early build of Full Bore. Even in its unfinished state, she found there was a lot to like about the game. In early May, the final version of Full Bore was on Steam. If you’ve ever wanted to play a game about boring boars that bore underground in a totally not boring way, well my friend, this game is for you!
The game gets you into the action pretty quickly. One moment you’ll be jumping around in a field doing boar things, the next moment you’ll be plummeting deep underground. You’re given a very limited amount of backstory about the character before you bore into the gameplay. You’re a boar that can bore into the earth, that’s about all you need you know to get started. If you’ve played Escape Goat and thought that Full Bore might be similar you’d be dead wrong. Aside from the fact that you play as an animal and solve puzzles, the comparison pretty much stops there.
Once you start digging around in the world you’ll make your way to a large pig, who turns out to be the foreman of the Full Bore Mining Company. After being accused of stealing gems, the foreman puts you to work to pay them restitution for stealing gems. Your task is to bore into the ground looking for gems. What a bore, or is it?!?!
Full Bore is a big game. There’s a map that you can pull up at any time, which is a godsend because it’s easy to get lost. I’m actually not sure most people would ever be able to finish the game without a map. Apart from the initial button tutorials in the beginning of the game, Full Bore is a game that encourages the player to learn and explore at their own pace. During the opening scene of the game you get a small glimpse of how deep and expansive the world is. As you put more and more hours into the game you’ll be amazed at the overall size of the world. Oftentimes you’ll be exploring and find that not only are you lost, but also that you’ve dug your way into a spot that’s impossible to get out of.
The main mechanic in the game is figuring out puzzles by digging, pushing blocks, and triggering sections of the map. When you make a mistake, you’ll need to rewind time to try the puzzle again (and again, and again). Figuring out the different puzzles opens up new areas, allows you to get buried gems, and opens up new lore opportunities. It took me a while to figure out that getting to every gem isn’t really required, which is nice because I missed a lot of them.
At it’s core, Full Bore is a game that’s very different compared to traditional puzzle platformers. Instead of needing to reach some arbitrary goal before you can advance or skill-up, Full Bore allows you to just explore anywhere you want. As you make your way deeper into the world, you’ll encounter new things and learn how to interact with them. Through your newly learned interactions, you’ll open new paths that allow you to solve different puzzles and help you solve some puzzles you’ve skipped over previously. It’s this mechanic that I found to be the most unique. You’re never waiting to pick up a new item or level up an ability. You’re only limited in Full Bore by your own understanding of the world around you.
As a gamer that doesn’t play platform or puzzle games that often, I really enjoyed how it was possible to skip over a puzzle if it proves to be too difficult. For players that want to uncover as much lore as possible though, completing the puzzles is the best way to do that. The openness of the world makes it somewhat easy to pass by many aspects of the story. Players that do manage to get all of the lore will find it to be a highly intriguing tale that touches on some interesting issues such as animal testing and the dangers of technology.
The thing that stuck out in my mind the most was actually the graphics. Specifically, the amount of life that the artists were able to put into the main characters was pretty incredible. There’s just so much emotion behind the eyes of these boars. Despite the fact that we’re dealing with a game that’s mostly underground, the world is vibrant and colorful.
There’s a lot to love about Full Bore. Unique characters, a thought provoking story, and innovative exploration makes the game an addicting experience that was surprisingly different than what I had imagined it might be. Solving puzzles and learning how to make your way through the world creates such a rewarding experience for the player. Some of the puzzles can be insanely hard, but that just makes the rewarding feeling when you figure it out even better.