Now On Switch
The name might imply that Duck Game follows in the footsteps of something like Goat Simulator, Duck Hunt, or even Untitled Goose Game but first assumptions couldn’t be further from the truth. Duck Game is a competitive 4-player arena combat side-scroller built with an 80s theme and pixilated visual style. Originally released on Ouya, PC, and PS4, this 2015 cult favorite is now on Switch.
Playing solo is a hollow experience. With no tutorial, the game provides mini-game style challenges to a single player via arcade machines in a hub world to get their feet wet. Each machine provides a few challenges that reward the player with stars and tickets. Tickets are then used to unlock new cosmetic features and can provide some tweaks to gameplay like low gravity. While it is cool to have access to a ton of unlockables, these quick challenges do not hold attention for long. It would have also been beneficial to explain how weapons, equipping, shooting, and throwing work. For a game that is actual rather simple on paper, it has a complicated control scheme that constantly made me fumble. One button picks up a weapon while another fires. Once out of ammo, the player has to hit a different button to throw said weapon. But sometimes weapons need to be reloaded and other times not. And there is no ammo indicator. Even after spending time with this title, the control scheme never clicked. Then, toss in things like kickback and jetpacks, which must be picked up with one button, equipped with another, then used with a third button, gets overly complicated especially when trying to jump, run, and gun with enemies trying to take you down. Other things, like jumping with the chainsaw, sounds cool but is more frustrating since control is loose and random at best.
The meat of gameplay revolves around competitive multiplayer. Local multiplayer is supported but a Nintendo Online membership is required to play online. At the time of this review, I was unable to jump into an online game as my review code was provided before the game’s official release. Hopefully the online community will grow otherwise Duck Game will drown in a sea of barren options. Without AI bots to fill the shoes of missing human players, Duck Game can only be taken so far and stands as the title’s biggest flaw.
If you have not had a chance to play Duck Game before, then it is worth checking out if you have access to multiplayer options. However, solo players will want to skip this title entirely even if the visuals and overall theme is expressive, comical, nostalgic.
Worse Than: playing Mario Party solo
Also Try: Towerfall
Wait For It: a Super Meat Boy type game with guns