STAFF REVIEW of Panic Porcupine (Xbox One)


Monday, May 22, 2023.
by Adam Dileva

Panic Porcupine Box art I have no qualms when a game is trying to mimic another or is heavily inspired, as long as it somehow has its own identity in some form. Paying tribute to a game or genre is one thing, while full on being a clone is another, and sometimes it’s difficult to differentiate where that line is. Panic Porcupine rides this line, and while you’re going to initially think it’s a simple classic Sonic the Hedgehog clone, there’s actually more to it than simply running fast. Do you enjoy difficult platforming games like Super Meat Boy? What if you combined that with the speed of a Sonic title? Panic Porcupine is the result of combining the two.

Expect speed, deaths and frustration in this 2D side scrolling adventure. If you’re one to try and collect everything or a speedrunner, you’ll feel right at home. If you’re looking for a more casual Sonic-like game, this isn’t going to be the one for you. Despite clearly looking like a Sonic clone, it’s actually quite challenging with its single hit deaths and constant level resets once you die for the hundredth time.


While there’s not much of a story here, you’re tasked with stopping an evil scientist that looks like a cross between Dr. Robotnik and Dr. Wily, trying to save the Chickabirbs. There’s a few funny lines about how a particular blue hedgehog is busy out filming a movie, so now it’s up to Panic. The hung portrait of a buff Sonic on the wall is hilarious too if you notice. Take on Dr. Preventriculus across 50 stages, find hidden eggs, go for speed runs and collect everything. A platformer with high speed, Panic Porcupine is full of obstacles like spikes, pits, flames and much more that will instantly kill you when touched. Expect to die many times in this unique genre mashup.

Instead of larger levels that require you speed to get through, Panic Porcupine’s levels are much shorter in design, instead challenging you with collecting all the Chickabirbs instead of reaching a finish line. If you know the levels they can be quite quick, maybe 30 to 60 seconds or so, but getting to that point will take quite a bit of repetitious practice to learn each level. Even though speed isn’t the main focus, you will be moving quite quick like Sonic, but need to know where the obstacles are.


With no enemies to face aside from the boss at the end of each stages’ tenth level, it’s you versus the environment. Timing and precision is paramount, as is learning the level layout to not just save all of the Chickabirbs, but even more so if you want to 100% levels by collecting every egg. Expect to reattempt jumps over and over, trying to get over the spikes and buzz saws, getting enough speed to get through some loops and ramps, all while figuring out where the Chickabirbs are.

Each stage is broken up into a handful of different levels, with the final being a showdown against the evil Dr. before he escapes and you move onto the next. The boss fights were fun, simply having you hit him a few times, freeing the Chickabirbs in pods, but each has its own unique challenge. Each zone has its own theme and biome, changing up the backdrops and design of levels.

Momentum is usually a large portion of how to complete levels, and while the controls are generally decent, I did have issues now and then with having to be completely precise in my moment. Bumpers caused me many issues, though not as much as the rotating poles that you kind of stick to before leaping off in either direction. It seems half the time my timing was off and I’d jump to the wrong side.


Many levels end up being trial and error, as you’ll simply need to know when to jump to avoid whatever is about to kill you, eventually becoming more and more challenging as levels progress. This sometimes comes down to reaction time and memorization as you speed across each stage. My main complaint is that you need to button press to have Panic roll into a ball instead of simply pressing ‘Down’ like in certain other hedgehog games.

The retro visuals are done so well that at a quick glance, you might expect it actually came from the 16-bit era. It’s bright, colorful and seeing Panic’s eyes constantly circling when you take a break from moving is always funny. Audio is also fitting for the era with a catchy soundtrack and decent sound effects along the way.

Panic Porcupine isn’t for the faint of heart. If you get frustrated by dying numerous times, then you’re going to have a bad time. On the other hand, if you enjoy a challenge or even want to speedrun, there’s a lot on offer. You’ll need to have reaction speed and accuracy if you want to see Panic complete his journey, and while you might simply assume it’s a Sonic knock-off, it’s more akin to a Super Meat Boy than anything else.

**Panic Porcupine was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X**




Overall: 7.2 / 10
Gameplay: 7.0 / 10
Visuals: 7.5 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10

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