June 5, 2015 2:46 AM | Sean Flint
Have you been looking for a multiplayer game, but just can't stand the typical, bland human casts of most games of the sort? Wish you could play as something with more feathers? Then look no further, Duck Game is here. Duck Game takes the classic 2D shooter formula and adds a ridiculous amount of nonsensical and ridiculous weaponry. If you enjoy ducks, huge guns, and quacking away after each victory, then this is the game for you.
Let's be completely honest. Duck Game is a horrible title for a game. It describes absolutely nothing about it other than the fact that it may contain ducks. I went into the game with absolutely no prior knowledge of it, other than the fact that it was multiplayer. Little did I know that I would soon be experiencing quite the entertaining game.
Playing a round of Duck Game begins with your duck inside of a ship interior of sorts. While in here, you can access the computer and choose your head wear for the coming battle. My personal favorite is the log, which is literally just a giant tree on your head. Other stylish hats include the frog head, the ugly paper bag, and the t-rex head. Customization, even something as small as a hat, surprisingly ended up being really entertaining. I really enjoyed seeing what piece of the hat would move as I quacked furiously upon victory.
This leads me into the most ridiculous, yet hilarious, part of Duck Game. Pressing the O or B button on your controller allows you to let out a loud quack. This led to copious amounts of quacking both inside and outside of the game. Trying to make melodies out of your quacks becomes a game in itself, and we found ourselves stopping during gameplay to try and recreate our favorite songs. Silly things such as this really add a nice amount of charm to the game.
Unfortunately, I found quite a few issues with the platforming and level design in Duck Game. Turning on 100% random levels (which means each level will be randomly generated as far as I'm aware) often led to extreme imbalances. Someone would, for example, spawn next to a shotgun while the rest of us spawned in a blank area of the map with no weapons. This led to us just having to commit suicide as there was almost no way to achieve victory otherwise.
Another issue we ran into during gameplay was that there seemed to be a bit of inconsistency with the weaponry. To be honest, I'm not sure if this is a design decision, but the weaponry always felt like the range and fire rate were random. During some matches, we pulled off ridiculous shots with the shotgun from a far rage, and in the following match it almost seemed as if the range was halved. This led to some frustration, as we found ourselves often unable to make shots and get used to using the weapons because it almost felt like they were always different.
The last aspect of the game that really bugged me was the net gun. As fun as the gun was to use, we found ourselves making a spoken pact to not use it. Once someone is caught in the net, it takes a ridiculous amount of time to escape, which allows you time to grab and throw them off the level as they sit defenseless. I felt that a good gauge for escaping would be three button presses, but it often took upwards of 10 or 12 to make it out of the net, which is plenty of time for someone to grab and throw you to your death.
With all of this in mind, Duck Game does so many things right. The weapon variety is fantastic. Each level provides a diverse amount of weapon pickups, meaning that you will always have the opportunity to switch it up. We definitely found a lot of weapons to be a bit overpowered, but I feel like this actually added to the fun. When you get a powerful weapon you feel invincible, but it is still balanced enough to not feel completely unfair.
Another fantastic aspect of the game has to be the news reports after matches, brought to you by none other than..John Mallard. The post-game reports showcase a highlight reel which shows some of the best moments from your prior game. Also, there is a meter that tells you which duck is the hottest, but I found this difficult to understand and honestly I felt that it added nothing to the game, so we usually skipped this. The highlight reel, however, was fantastic and we had great fun watching ourselves fail over and over again.
Duck Game's non-random levels are hit or miss in terms of their entertainment value. Some of the levels are just fantastic, with really solid design and make for some great matches. However, there are a couple that really stood out to me, my favorite being a small boxed-in map with only grenades as the weapons. This led to a mad rush for the grenades and tons of running away, and almost always resulted in all three of us dying and no winner being crowned for that match.
Speaking of matches, we found that Duck Game is best played in a first-to-ten format. This means that whoever is the first to win ten rounds wins the game. You can set a frequency for intermissions, and the default was five. This means that every five matches it would bring up the field, which features your duck throwing a rock with your chosen hat on it across a field. The more wins, the further the rock will go. This is a neat way to display score, and also another opportunity to let your quacker shine.
With a large amount of hats to choose from, and many others to unlock, Duck Game is sure to keep you playing for hours upon hours. There are also various modifiers to unlock and choose from to spice up the gameplay, which is always nice for this style of game. We spent hours upon hours enjoying the fast-paced and thrilling gameplay that Duck Game provides, and although there were some frustrating moments, we were able to look past those and keep enjoying the game. Each round provides a nice variation in experience, so I never felt that the game got stale at any point.
Duck Game takes the local multiplayer formula, throws it out, and adds crazy weaponry and quacks. If you're looking for a ridiculous and over-the-top game to play with friends, this is the one. Currently available for $9.99 on Steam, Duck Game is sure to provide some great (and possibly frustrating) hours of entertainment for you and your friends.