Fall of Porcupine had me stressing over a job in medicine I don't really have

Fall of Porcupine
(Image credit: Assemble Entertainment)

Fledgling doctor Finley's life has become pretty repetitive since moving to the small town of Porcupine. Wake up, head to St. Ursula's hospital, treat patients, head home, repeat. There are instances where Finley's routine does get shaken up - when his colleagues meet up at the local pub, for example, or his friend invites him to venture into the woods - but mostly, Finley's life is based at the hospital. Although this might not sound like an exciting set up for a game, the fact you just go through the motions with Finley is why I enjoyed playing Fall of Porcupine so much. 

It's pretty obvious that Fall of Porcupine has a few similarities to Infinite Fall's Autumn-centric game, Night in the Woods. The two adventures have a lot of similarities - everything from its art style, small town story, gameplay, and loveable animal characters - so it's safe to say that if you're a fan of one, you'll enjoy the other. Both also feature an unexpected melancholy feel to them, too. 

In Night in the Woods, you play as Mae Borowski, a college drop-out who isn't sure how to navigate life back in her small town now that all her friends have grown up. In Fall of Porcupine, Finley has to grapple with the trials and tribulations that come with working in a slightly run-down hospital with an unhealthy healthcare system. 

The doctor will see you now 

Fall of Porcupine

(Image credit: Assemble Entertainment)

Being a real-life medical professional isn't easy by any means, but if it did play out like it does as one of the most recent recruits at St. Ursula's, I reckon I'd be okay at it. In Fall of Porcupine, there's no blood and guts and no medical knowledge is needed, but you will be performing a number of minor medical procedures in mini-game form - such as changing dressings, prescribing medicine, and administering injections.

Instead of counting out pills, we get to solve a match making puzzle and rather than listening to a patient's pulse, we play a short rhythm game. As much as I would love to perform some simulated surgeries, the approach developer Critical Rabbit has taken is definitely more user friendly and shouldn't upset anyone with needle phobias, or any other health-related anxieties. The only thing players need to worry about is keeping on the good side of head doctor Krokowski.

One thing that is a necessity is a good bedside manner, and luckily for the patients at St. Ursula's, Finley is an expert at it. When you're not fixing patient's ailments, you're also getting to know them, listening to their stories and concerns, and sometimes meeting their family too. This is where most of the game's heart is. I genuinely got quite attached to some of Finley's patients - so much so that I was excited to see them out and about once they had recovered, and was worried about them when their conditions didn't seem to get better right away. 

An apple a day 

Fall of Porcupine

(Image credit: Buntspecht Games)

Despite its cozy exterior, Fall of Porcupine doesn't shy away from portraying the struggles of working in healthcare. Several members of staff are unable to take breaks due to the hospital being so busy, the handy-man is always run off his feet with fixes that needing doing all over the building, and junior doctors Finley and Mia often feel overwhelmed with just how much responsibility they've had to take on in such a short amount of time. 

Finley's experiences also feed into his dreams. Just like in Night in the Woods, players can dive into Finley's subconscious to find out what's bothering him, or what recent experiences have left an impression on him, which gives us another way to understand and sympathise with the character. Fall of Porcupine does a great job of hooking you in, and it didn't take me long to get swept up in Finley's experiences at St. Ursula's. 

Fall of Porcupine is out now and available to play on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. You can also try out the game's demo for free on Steam.

Find out what we've got to look forward to with our upcoming indie games list or see what else we recommend in our Indie Spotlight series. 

Hope Bellingham
News Writer

After studying Film Studies and Creative Writing at university, I was lucky enough to land a job as an intern at Player Two PR where I helped to release a number of indie titles. I then got even luckier when I became a Trainee News Writer at GamesRadar+ before being promoted to a fully-fledged News Writer after a year and a half of training.  My expertise lies in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, cozy indies, and The Last of Us, but especially in the Kingdom Hearts series. I'm also known to write about the odd Korean drama for the Entertainment team every now and then.