From Adult Swim Games and Landon Podbielski comes Duck Game, a wild and frantic 2D action game with an emphasis on competitive action. Making its way to the Nintendo Switch, Duck Game is looking to strike a strong chord for those eager for more competitive multiplayer on the go. There is no story or synopsis for Duck Game, other than that humans no longer exist and have been replaced with highly intelligent anthropomorphic ducks. In a series of competitive multiplayer battles, the ducks battle endlessly, using a variety of close and long-range firearms to battle for victory and control.
Duck Game can be best described as an easy-to-pick-up competitive action game, in which players battle out for victory against three additional players across randomly generated levels. Players can choose their cosmetic items, which include how the ducks appear and what they wear. Upon jumping into the teleportation beam, players can either play the single-player challenges or jump straight into the multiplayer.
From space stations to forests to construction sites and so on, Duck Game puts players in a variety of levels with a large armory of weapons. Traditional weapons, such as hand-guns, shotguns, and assault rifles appear, but the game embraces its lunacy and absurdity to give players access to more incomprehensible, but entirely sensible weapons, including the Quad Laser from Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
The objective is to defeat your opponent as fast as humanly possible, as the game adopts a one-hit, one-kill mechanic. The competition goes on until the winner reaches the score limit, meaning players can play anywhere between a few and several dozen rounds or more until they hit the score threshold. Each round lasts an average of a few seconds to roughly one minute, meaning each match is lightning fast.
The gameplay in Duck Game is remarkably silly and enjoyable fluid. From old-fashioned Revolutionary War-Era muskets to cutting edge laser cannons and bazookas, players can use just about everything and anything in various and exciting ways. As the game has procedural generation, players do not know what it is they will encounter upon the next round, encouraging players to think fast and act fast.
The speed and impending desperation for the matches creates an endless stream of hair-raising moments, as players evade fire, secure weapons, and find a means to defeat the opponent. The game’s self-awareness is a delight to see as well, as Adult Swim has inputted nods to certain shows, including the slow-moving but incredibly deadly Quad Laser. Even the game’s presentation is incredibly fluid, with a 16-bit pixelated presentation and a remarkably nostalgic soundtrack that is composed by Podbielski himself. With lightning-fast action and quick gameplay, Duck Game is perfect for when you need that instant satisfaction of multiplayer mayhem.
For the price, Duck Game is superb, but I couldn’t help but want more from the game. The original game was released on the Ouya game console in 2014, then made its way to other platforms in the years following the release of the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. I cannot help but feel that more could have been added to the overall game, especially given the timeframe.
More levels, more nods to Adult Swim’s eclectic portfolio, and perhaps a dedicated single-player campaign would have made the solid package even better. While there is a single-player mode, it is a series of challenges for the player to complete and does not have a dedicated narrative or synopsis. Buy Duck Game only if you are ready to go hard into local and online multiplayer with friends as Duck Game is not suitable for a single-player only experience.
Fast, frantic, and full of absurdity missing in today’s video games, Duck Game is a rip-roaringly good multiplayer shooter, that is only hurt by lacking a single-player and more multiplayer variety. However, there are a narrow few games on Nintendo Switch that have the same sublime multiplayer offerings that Duck Game has.
Duck Game is a rip-roaringly good multiplayer shooter, that is only hurt by lacking a single-player and more multiplayer variety.