Duck Game is a game about ducks, obviously. You’ll focus on the basic aspects of everyday duck life, such as quacking, flopping around, wearing hats, and the most important skill – shooting every other last remaining duck to claim victory! The game was first released back in 2014 for the Ouya, a Steam-like game system that you don’t remember for good reasons. Now the game has found a new home on the Nintendo Switch and hopefully the larger user base will give it the chance it deserves. The main question is whether or not this game is all it’s quacked up to be.
Much like the Super Smash Bros. series, Duck Game is most fun when played with other people. It has a multiplayer focus to it and at its core it’s sort of an arena fighter where you battle it out with three other players. The game features rather simple controls where you can move around, jump, and even flap your wings to slowly float to the surface. Items will be littered about the stage and you’ll be able to pick them up, toss them around, and use them to your heart’s content. The competitive nature of the game brings out the beast inside the ducks and it can be quite the battle, so don’t underestimate the small birds.
While it’s easy to pick up and play, there’s a depth and strategy hidden away that should keep most players coming back for more. You must make expert use of the “A” button, which allows your duck to quack with the force of a Viking armada. Plus, it’s just fun to annoy the other players. Also, while the quack button is a vital key element to the game, another important button is the flop button. You press it and your character immediately falls to the ground. You can use it to fall down stairs, or bounce off of doors, or to just lie on the floor and wiggle around. Truly this game requires the most in-depth skill to master.
Despite the game’s simple look, there is a surprising amount of content hiding underneath the simplicity. Once you start up the game, you can either head straight for the online multiplayer lobbies or jump around and interact with four separate menus. Two of them are straightforward, with one leading to options and the other to a library where you can check out your profile statistics. The two other options are much more interesting, as one is the single player mode where you get to play mini-challenges via arcade machines, and the other is a level editor mode.
In the single player arcade you are faced with challenges that are essentially time trials where you must complete certain missions in the fastest time. By achieving the best times you get rewarded with tickets, which can be redeemed for game enhancing options and other unlockables like more arcade machines. As is sometimes the case in a multiplayer centric game, the single player mode leaves much to be desired. It’s basically a glorified training mode, which is too bad because this game’s quirky nature could have resulted in some truly outrageous ideas. As is, it gets the job done, but don’t expect to put many hours into this mode and if you were considering purchasing this game and playing solo it might not be worth the money.
While the single player mode isn’t that appealing, the level editor mode is the complete opposite. As the name implies, this is where you get to create your own levels and the developers really went wild with the toolkit. You are given a rather impressive assortment of assets to use in this mode, and creating the level itself is a perfectly simple process. You have tiles for the background, foreground, and can even alter specific features throughout the course. You can choose from a rather intimidating list of weapons and equipment to place in your stage, as well as spawn points for certain items and a variety of other stuff such as doors and traps. There is so much to experiment in this mode that I spent hours messing around with the creation tools. You can upload your custom stages online and challenge others to play on them.
You should know what to expect from the online multiplayer mode by now, but there are still some aspects that haven’t been covered. The online connectivity is stable for the most part. There’s no lag in the movements and you can pick up weapons and hit opponents without any real issues. There have been very rare moments where the matches would completely freeze up, leaving you with no other option but to quit. I’m not entirely sure what caused the issue, but it only happened twice in the several hours I played online. Also while the online multiplayer is primarily the focus, it’s worth mentioning that there is local competitive as well for those who want to fight amongst friends in the same room.
Duck Game excels at so much, but none of it would be as great if not for the quirky personality of the game. There’s a real charm to this game that is rare to find these days. Filled with fun and crazy weapons, kicking music tracks, and the somewhat unnecessary quack button, there’s plenty of originality here. You can even unlock an assortment of hats for your ducks to wear that even offer up some unique animations. All of this mixed together makes for a fantastic experience that puts quirky fun above all else.
Duck Game Review
- Graphics - 8/108/10
- Sound - 8/108/10
- Gameplay - 10/1010/10
- Lasting Appeal - 9/109/10
Final Thoughts: GREAT
Duck Game is a quirky gem that has stood the test of time. Once released on a failure of a console, it has managed to find new life on the Switch with its fun gameplay and fantastic game modes. In the end, this game is a true work of poultry.