We already took a look at the beta version of Duck Game a few days ago. Adult Swim Games released the final version of this promising title on Steam, and it meets expectations with flying colors. The high octane action that Duck Game promised to deliver is fully rendered in this final version, which also includes additional maps, new challenges and improvements to the matchmaking and online multiplayer system.
Duck Game is a 2D arena shooter where ducks fight each other for glory using an immense variety of weapons, including unconventional ones such as saxophones, landmines, broadswords, and even laser guns. The game features both a multiplayer deathmatch tournament, where you fight other players on different maps until one of them wins 10 games, and a single player Arcade Mode, where you complete various challenges to unlock different power-ups and hats.
That hats are an important way the game maintains an over-the-top style. It’s also thanks to its unique collection of headgear and wacky weapons, which will make being chased by a duck sporting a Frank Zappa look and wielding a chainsaw no longer just a distant childhood nightmare. And seeing your enemies scramble as they try to dodge your flying swords or rockets and suddenly trip on one of your well-placed bananas is a refreshing, fantastic experience.
The single player challenges can keep you entertained for a few hours and provide a good way to test the different weapons, abilities, power-ups, and special moves. But it’s clearly the multiplayer where Duck Game gets its life force. Matches see up to four players in a frantic set of fights across a variety of maps where quick thinking and dexterity are key to victory. The quick and relentless action is one of the features that makes this game compelling. Every time a fight ends, the game will load a new map and the next fight will start. You only have a few seconds to find yourself on the screen, locate the closest weapon, pick it up, and discharge it at the nearest enemy to win the fight and secure a point. As the tournament progresses, an intermission screen will show how each of you are doing and how many points you need in order to win the game. The great variety of maps and weapons comes into play here and makes sure that each fight is different from the last one. Switching from a calm forest where weapons are well highlighted and easy to find, to a busy office building where doors, tables, and windows can be used to your advantage makes for dynamic gameplay where no match is similar to the previous one. Some power-ups such as the Swing, a grappling hook that allows ducks to swing from platforms and ceilings, or the Shoes, which allow you to crush your enemies to death by jumping on their head Mario-style, let you develop your own strategy on the fly in order to dispose of your enemies in fun and brutal ways.
This is made easier with Duck Game’s solid control system, something that is important to any game that empathizes quick reflexes and short reaction times. Duck Game manages to work flawlessly when played with both a keyboard or a controller, albeit the default controls seem to be a bit wonky. These can be fully remapped to fit your needs, though.
Smooth, beautifully-crafted graphics and sound
The graphical design choices and the great amount of dedication that the developers put into this game result in smooth gameplay while delivering a beautifully crafted sets of environments. From industrial areas, to space bases, office buildings, jazz clubs, forests, and a few more. Each map is carefully designed to be aesthetically pleasing while being challenging and fun to play. The graphic style gives Duck Game a retro feeling, which perfectly fits with the gameplay and brings memories of older times when similar titles were created, and when couch gaming, a pasttime this product seems to aim at resurrecting, was a live and breathing branch of games.
Some of that dedication also went into a great soundtrack, including different tracks for each map and challenge. If it were released as a separate purchase, I could see a lot of people buying it.
Close to being a masterpiece, Duck Game doesn’t manage to reach that level quite yet. While being an enjoyable experience, the multiplayer still suffers from occasional lag, which tends to ruin gameplay and turns the speed-based matches into an excruciating fight for survival, as opponents keep rubber-banding from one side of the map to the other and weapons lose all of their accuracy. This has been drastically decreased since the final version has been released and has become a rare event, but it’s still the biggest problem with the game. Considering that the multiplayer is the main feature of this title and by far the most enjoyable one, I hope that Duck Game will continue to receive constant updates as the developers have done in the past, and that more and more people will keep playing.
Duck Game is definitely a title to own, both to be played with friends over the internet or as a party game for a rainy day. It is a game designed to bring people together and should be your first choice when looking for some mindless fun. Easy to pick up and play and with a relatively simple learning curve, Duck Game is perfect for both veteran and casual gamers who are looking for a way to blow off some steam. If shooting your friends in the face with unconventional weapons while running around wearing silly hats is your idea of fun, then Duck Game is just the title you’re looking for.