Full bore is a new twist on the mining genre that adds a little humor and an innovative digging tool to the genre. You’ll have to dig through the review if you want to find out more about this fun game. (I hope the fun wasn’t all too bore-ing…)
There isn’t much to the story, at least, not to begin with. What is there, is sufficient to drive the game forward. Much like Animal Crossing, you are thrust into a world in which you have become indebted to the local boss(through way of an accidental gem robbery), and the rest of the game is earning enough money to pay the boss back.
Unlike Animal Crossing, the boss isn’t a genial passive-aggressive type that doles out missions or sends you on fetch quests that lead to fetch quests- he is instead an interminable ball buster that sends you to back-breaking labor digging in his mine, recovering gems.
He seems to have taken a lesson in management from J. Jonah Jameson of the Spider-Man franchise.
Also of note, however, is a more in-depth commentary hidden amongst the mines, caves and tunnels in the forms of forgotten books and pamphlets. At first you think the other workers in the mine are just doing their job, but it becomes pretty evident that they, just like you, were forced into indentured servitude, and discovering these little informational gems and the conclusion is a far better motivation than the initial, apparent goal.
Full Bore offers a very charming and worthwhile experience through it’s retro-inspired, pixelated graphics. The recent interest in retro gaming has given new life to the old 16-bit many gamers grew up loving, and definitely makes it easier for indie developers to focus on making games with better content in lieu of focusing too many resources on making a game that looks “pretty” by today’s standards of high definition and frame rates.
Imagine getting a new fourth generation game with slightly smoother animations and upgraded sound. The colors are a little muddy at times, but it’s easy enough to distinguish different objects from each other, and considering the setting of the game itself, completely expected and doesn’t get overly boring to look at. It helps set the proper tone, as if you were digging through the tunnels right behind our beloved, accidental thief protagonist.
Full Bore’s soundtrack is mellow, and slightly ominous at times. As with the graphics, it helps set the tone for being deep underground in a potentially dangerous place. It doesn’t get too ominous, has many little guitar sweeps to keep it from getting too repetitive, and you’ll find yourself humming along while playing. You may even wake up finding the music stuck in your head!
The sound effects for everything else are about what you’d expect- while digging through dirt it sounds like a digitized version of said activity, and when you hit something solid it makes a solid “clink” sound to let you know to stop your futile attempts at continuing in the same direction. The sound quality is slightly better than you would find from a fourth generation game, but it is by no means of the same clarity as modern devices are capable of producing. That is just as well, though, as it might actually take you out of the game if you start experiencing these tones in surprising clarity without the visuals to match.
Upon playing the preview, the game had tight controls that responded exactly like you wanted them too. However, the full version seems to have lost some of the polish of the initial preview. Not entirely sure where this issue originated, or if there are any plans to fix things from the developer. It is rather disappointing that such a fun experience was cut into with controls that used to be perfect, but now feel slightly off and labored.
The rest of the gameplay is as expected. You dig tunnels in attempt to find gems, secret rooms that lead to other tunnels and boss fights. There are puzzles galore, which lead to many frustrating moments- but when the solution is found it is a very rewarding experience.
Full bore has humor, charm, and a slight bit of social commentary a la George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, and it has its satisfying puzzles and exploration elements. It has 16 bit nostalgia appeal and catchy, memorable music. It also has a tendency of leading you to get lost a little too often when searching for solutions to a puzzle or an exit, and the controls can be atrocious at times.
Its a well done game, but it feels like it needs a bit more finishing work to be the game it truly wants to be, and most of that lies in the controls not being as responsive as they initially were.