Developed By: Spicy Gyro Games
Published By: Shiny Dolphin Games LLC
Released: October 27, 2022
Available: macOS, Windows
Genre: Action; Platformer
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Number of Players: Single player
Thank You Shiny Dolphin Games for submitting this through our Steam Curator
Games inspired by Sonic the Hedgehog will always come out as the IP is rather appealing. Some will take its mechanics and expand upon it, while others will mostly take visual inspiration. Panic Porcupine is another Sonic-inspired game, but mostly from the visual aspects.
Maybe “inspired” isn’t enough of a description as it’s more of a parody/satirical piece. The plot of Panic Porcupine is even a mirror of Sonic 1. You have an evil doctor, who goes by the name of Dr. Proventriculus, capturing these birds known as Chickabirbs. Now, there is Panic, a brown porcupine that is tasked to save them. Although he doesn’t want to do it in the first place as he’s afraid of dying. Fortunately,Sanguine Pangolin grants Panic infinite lives, so all Panic needs to rely on is his own will. The plot is very silly and nonserious, constantly poking fun at itself. The first world is called “Hills that are Green”, leaning more toward that satirical feel.
Strong Points: Pretty funny Sonic parody; Many standout levels and each world has a unique gimmick
Weak Points: Some levels rely on blind faith or being lucky to complete
Moral Warnings: Violence and deaths related to spikes and buzzsaws
In a way, Panic Porcupine is a bit of a bait-and-switch as with all the Sonic-esque visuals, it doesn’t play much like one. This is a 2D precision platformer relying on tricky jumps, scary obstacles, and no checkpoints. So the overall difficulty is much more difficult compared to other animal/mascot platformers. It ends up being more along the lines of something like Super Meat Boy, Celeste, or Geometry Dash. But like Sonic, it relies on momentum and its physics engine. Panic Porcupine can go fast, but speed isn’t the end goal. It’s more of a prerequisite to reaching areas or platforms that you otherwise couldn’t.
There are about six worlds containing nine or ten levels each. The main objective is to collect the Chickabirbs in the levels and the amount can vary on each level. If the level contains one or two, the level is most likely styled like an obstacle course. Levels that contain many Chickabirbs are usually small in scale and a bit more on gimmicks, such as using cannons. Panic is simple to control as he can only move, jump, or curl himself into a ball for some extra speed or to get past tight spaces. He can’t create his own speed so he is reliant on the layout of the stage to go fast.
Methods to make the journey slightly easier are an option to retain Chickabirbs, because by default, you gotta collect them all in one go. This option doesn’t turn the game into a cakewalk, however, because it makes little to no difference for some levels. The ones with two or three birds progress in a linear fashion, so you’re still expected to be good enough to clear the spikes ahead. This does have more influence on boss stages where you have to collect a half-dozen of them or more. Optionally, are the eggs scattered throughout the levels. While you don’t have to collect a single one to see the credits, the game mocks you at the end of every level showing every egg you failed to collect thrown at Panic.
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)
Game Score - 78%
Gameplay - 14/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5
Morality Score - 94%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10
The look of Panic Porcupine is very colorful, using 32-bit sprites to create something visually pleasing. In motion, sensitive people may struggle as Panic Porcupine happens to be for me one of those games that I can’t play for more than 30 minutes before starting to feel dizzy. I’m not sure why it happens to me with Panic Porcupine specifically as I’ve played other fast-paced games for far longer stretches and never feel any sort of motion sickness. In the options menu, there is a toggle to blur the background, making it easier on the eyes. The music and sound effects combine chiptune and modern sounds to create something pleasing to hear. It’s both old-school and new. While the music stays the same for each world outside of boss battles, I like hearing it. The sound effects have a crunch to them such as collecting eggs or hearing the eggs go splat on the level completed screen.
In terms of morality, there isn’t much to talk about. The most notable thing to point out is the violence. Panic has a pretty unique death animation depending on what he dies from in the stages. If he falls on spikes, he’ll pop up and fall off screen. Being hit by a fire trap is similar, but with his sprite scorched black. Buzzsaws will split him in half. It’s not extremely graphic as there is no blood present and it is done in a cartoonish fashion. At the end of the game when Dr. Proventriculus is attempting to flee, Panic kicks him into lava. I don’t believe that the doctor is actually dead as 100% completion hints at a sequel. While there is a world called Haunted Hill, it keeps a spooky-like aesthetic. No ghosts, but there are random tombstones scattered about.
Panic Porcupine is a solid precision platformer for those who enjoy those kinds of challenge. The momentum-based physics set it apart from others. However, Sonic fans should proceed with caution because even if you enjoy his games, there’s still a good chance you won’t like Panic Porcupine due to the difficulty it presents.