Panic Porcupine is a 2D platform game developed by Spicy Gyro Games. Inspired (and especially parodying) the old Sonic games of the Master System / Mega Drive era, the title offers us an offbeat and ubiquitous adventure in a caricatural universe. But is humor enough to make a good game? No not at all.
The depths of the web
In Panic, we embody the eponymous character. The porcupine is immediately endowed with infinite lives in an introduction already announcing the disaster that awaits us. Yes, we’re not going to cut corners: Panic Porcupine is a bad game. the money.
This brief introduction also reveals the bulk of the screenplay: Panic must save the Chickabirbs, kidnapped by an evil scientist. No need to expect more, Panic clearly does not seek to tell us the slightest story, nor to acquire anything other than a cliché plot written on a post-it one evening of drinking. Everything is just a pretext to pretend to be worthy of a “real” game in order to launch us directly into the heart of inaction.
Generally, this type of work tries, at least initially, to hide the emptiness of its proposal through a few subterfuges. The developers of Spicy Gyro Games don’t care. Through several levels, our goal is to collect a certain number of eggs and Chickabirbs. Once these objectives are achieved, it’s victory and we can move on to the next level.
Unlike a more “classic” (and qualitative) Sonic; Panic forces us to regularly interrupt our endless race to undergo tasteless, soulless and unbearable platforming phases.
Let it be said: we highly doubt that the developers used their hands to code their game. But where to start? Handling maybe? Carnage would probably be too loose a word to describe all the horror of Panic’s grip. Your “thing” certainly steers like SEGA’s famous blue hedgehog; less control.
The jumps are imprecise, the commands respond badly, the transformation into a ball is done using the X button and not simply, logically, pleasantly via the “down” button of the directional cross. And of course we will have to be satisfied with these infernal orders through levels with an uninspired level design, made of skillfully placed traps to kill us without the possibility of dodging, forcing us to relive our torture eternally like Tantalus.
But the rancid icing on this spoiled cake is still absolutely unique camera management, since the latter regularly goes slower than us. Yes, it is not uncommon to find yourself out of sight and die without knowing why.
When all is wrong
But Panic is not only untested gameplay, it is also and above all an incredibly ugly game.
The design of our waste seems indeed much more inspired by Sanic than by its official counterpart.
And what about the rest? The sets are minimalist, trying in vain to model the glorious era of the golden age of SEGA without ever managing to find this side so typical of the 16-bit era.
On the contrary, Panic reuses these textures without understanding them; and fills in the holes in his palette via drawings visibly made by a team on ketamine. But let’s not be too bad language, the developers were obviously totally aware of the quality of their title… since it is possible in the options to blur the backgrounds. Our sanity thanks you.
We need to talk
Sonic is a license showing its thirty-two years of existence. During this long period, the blue hedgehog was able to arouse many emotions, but also to accumulate a good number of fans.
At a time when the quality of 2D titles is recognized, where we had the chance to find the sensations of yesteryear via titles like Sonic 4 or Mania; it is simply unthinkable to find a game like Panic Porcupine on sale.
Over the years, other developers have nevertheless tried the experience of parody. With much more success. Emerald Ties. Sonic Utopia. Or even Sanic, as we mentioned earlier; are all titles that are much more extensive, rich in content and original ideas than is this “video game experience” yet entitled to some media coverage… as well as a console release.
And they are all available legally and for free online.
Tested on Xbox Series S
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