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Duck Game Review: Jetpacks, Swords, & Fun

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Duck Game. I really have no idea what to even say here. It’s fantastic? Marvelous? Super duper fun? Yeah, that’s a good start. It has just been fully released on Steam, so it only seemed proper that I do a Duck Game review, especially after all the fun I had with it and the distraction it provided from writing about the game. There are ducks. There are jetpacks, swords, mind control guns, explosions, and a button JUST FOR QUACKING. There’s hats, including a pompadour. Frankly, if you’re not sold yet, I don’t think you know how to appreciate life, but I’ll do the proper review just because.


GAMEPLAY

So what the hell even is this game?

Duck Game is a multiplayer death match game, developed by Corptron and published by Adult Swim Games. The matches take place in various arenas with combat that ranges from 10-45 seconds. First person to 10 wins is the victor. There is a single player component to the game with small micro-missions, where you will race through a level collecting items or shooting pop-up targets as fast as you can, but the game is really all about the multiplayer and the variety of crazy, crazy weapons you utilize against each other.

There’s the mundane weapons, like pistols and shotguns, but also miniguns, guns that shoot nets and wrap the target in a ball, guns that just shoot death squares like old Atari games, a magnet gun that pulls enemies to you, knight armor, bouncing laser beams, the death ray, and even a banana peel. Additionally, there’s joke weapons, like a gun that shoots foam darts or a pistol with the barrel pointed backwards at your duck, straight out of a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

Your duck dies in one hit, and from a variety of things. While the weapons can hurt, you have to be aware of the environment. If someone drops a rock on you, you’re dead. Spikes will kill you, of course. If you catch on fire, you run around for a bit before exploding into a tasty dinner. Falling off the map will just lead to you flapping your wings to slow down your descent into the inevitable. Most deaths are treated as a source of amusement rather than frustration, leading to a great experience so far where people compliment your kill instead of being angry that they died. It’s good fun all around.

I also really enjoy that there is a level editor in the game. Big fan of tools like this, though I haven’t made a map yet. My only complaint is that the single-player challenges feel a bit tacked on, and there’s no hints to really let you know what you need to do to unlock more of them. Of course, they’re also nowhere near as fun as the fowl massacres with other players. They unlock more hats though, and the internet loves anything with hats.

4/5 for amazing multiplayer but tacked on single-player challenges.

GRAPHICS/SOUND/CONTROLS

Duck Game 1

Duck Game looks, sounds, and feels like an old Super Nintendo game. This isn’t a bad thing at all. There’s a lot of detail in the level environments, ranging from futuristic to forest to industrial park. The ducks and their hats explode into feathers and quacks of terror. The variety of hats provides lots of different aesthetic appeal. While the game is sprite-based, a great deal of attention was put into the game, and it shows in the little things. Using the combat shotgun, you can see the shells on the side be removed as you fire, and arming a grenade will result in the pin being tossed away.

It’s the tiny details that really make the effort put into a game apparent, and Duck Game does well here. It also just seems to fit the gameplay. This isn’t one of these new-fangled shooters with the regenerating shields and long fights to 75 kills or whatever. This is four friends sitting in front of a TV (or across an internet connection) and just killing the hell out of each other with laughs and fun. It wouldn’t work with any other appearance, I think.

The sound quality is also great. Music has that older midi-quality to it, there’s quacking on demand, and nothing gets really repetitive. Keeps a good flow with the combat, which is a nice thing to see in a game like this. I don’t really have much to say here. Did I mention the quacking on demand? That part is very important. Okay, good.

The controls are my only nitpick. They work well, and you can remap them as you please, but they threw me off at first. The buttons for picking up/throwing a weapon and firing a weapon are separate, requiring a two-button press if you’re trying to quick draw someone at the other end of the map. I think things would have worked better if fire/pickup were the same button and throw was on its own, but that’s just my opinion. I got used to the controls very quickly, and they feel very responsive and tight otherwise. I solved my grab problem by just putting it on one of the shoulder buttons so it became a bit more fluid to me, and that’s the joy of being able to remap your controls.

5/5. Duck Game has some spiffy pixels, fun music, and controls that can suit any player.

REPLAYABILITY

Duck Game doesn’t have a story, so this doesn’t really apply. However, its got tons of replayability as long as people are there for you to play with online or you’ve got a group of friends. You can pick it up whenever you want and get through a full set of battles before most ovens are finished preheating. Then you can do another round while whatever we put in our hypothetical oven cooks. It’s very simple and easy fun, so it always is ready to entertain you. No match ever plays out the same way, so you’re going to get lots of fun out of the game as long as you’ve got an internet connection or some friends with extra controllers.

4/5 because the game is only great when you have other people to play it, but I don’t foresee that being a problem in most cases.


I don’t really have much of a conclusion to put on this one. I’m very thankful Armed Gamer was able to get a key for the game so I could do this review, so lots of props for that. I’d love to see the game get picked up by streamers, because it’s really entertaining to play or even watch. Duck Game is normally $12.99, but you can grab it for $9.99 on Steam until June 11 in a special promotion, and I encourage you to do so. Strongly. At the very least, get it in the Summer Sale.

4.5 out of 5 for this fantastic fowl multiplayer massacre. I only wish had enough duck puns to put in this review.

About David A. Reeves

David is a 25 year old graduate with a BA in English, and he's wondering how all of this adult stuff crept up on him. He has a large love of Fire Emblem and Final Fantasy, a lack of budget sense during Steam sales, and is involved in an abusive relationship with the MMO genre. Outside of gaming, David can be found reading books with swords and magic, suffering from writer's block on that story he said he'd write, enjoying a hookah or a beer with friends, and trying not to say anything inappropriate despite the overwhelming urge. He's an odd fellow.

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