Frenetic. Deadly. Quacktastic.
Duck Game is a lightning fast 2D multiplayer shooter arena. Duck Game is a quack-happy 2D shotgun and saxophone arena death match. Duck Game is a game where you play as a duck who can quack and glide and jet pack and snipe and play the drums and pick up mind control hats and run your enemies off of ledges. Yes, Duck Game is many things. But most of all, Duck Game is some of the most fun you can have playing video games. Period.
At it’s core, Duck Game is a 2D death match. The game supports 2-4 players who each control a duck. These ducks ain’t your run-of-the-mill mallards. They are skilled in the art of combat. Actually, they’re just skilled in picking up one of dozens of firearms and pulling the trigger. The combat options in this game are endless. You’ll get to enjoy the standards, of course. Pistols, magnums, shotguns, rocket launchers, grenades: Duck Game fully supports the usual arsenal of assault. It also has a more colorful set of tools that will help you end your enemies in more creative (read: spleen-splittingly hilarious) ways. These include net guns, mind-control caps, the quad laser, a holy book of conversion, and old-timey musket rifles.
The goal of each round is simple: be the last duck standing. Each level consists of a simple set of platforms, question-mark blocks that produce weaponry, and possibly a few doors and window panes. The rounds are incredibly short due to fast pace of the game. It’s not uncommon for the players to blow each other to smithereens in a matter of seconds. Each round win awards a point and after 10 rounds, the points are tallied. The first duck to 10 points wins the game. It couldn’t get much simpler, and there’s real beauty in the game’s simplicity.
The game oozes personality. Not only is Duck Game chock full of pop-culture references (the aforementioned question-mark blocks and quad laser), but it’s got character of its own, too. There’s a jump button, a shoot button, a pick-up / throw button, and a quack button. There’s a quack button. There’s a FREAKIN’ QUACK BUTTON. Not only can you make your duck quack, but you can also pull on the left trigger to modulate the quack for a full octave’s worth of musical quackery. This same modulation technique is used to alter the pitch of any trombones or saxophones you might find on the battlefield.
The game features some rad retro tunes and graphics. They serve the game well and provide a simple platform for the developers to build upon. The details of the pixelated graphics are quite rich. One of the hats you can equip (yeah, this game has hats, too) is a deep sea helmet. Quacking with it on will cause single-pixel water droplets to splash about the level with physics.
The game’s attention to detail and hilarious, care-free nature make it truly special. I haven’t laughed as hard playing a game as I have playing Duck Game. Screams of joy and incredulity are commonplace while playing Duck Game. Sometimes it’s because my impromptu duck band jam session is interrupted by flamethrower assault. Or maybe it’s because I toss a grenade into a closed door and eat my own shrapnel. The possibilities really do feel endless with Duck Game.
The only thing negative I have to say about the game is that development seems to have ceased. There are rare graphical bugs where ducks are drawn in strange, unusual angles rather than standing upright. No active development also means the game won’t be officially extended or expanded upon anytime soon. However, it supports Steam Workshop and creators have produced many maps, hats, and weapons to enjoy.
Duck Game is one of the greatest multiplayer experiences of all time. I have a theory that multiplayer games that don’t use split-screen tend to be good. Duck Game may be the best in this category. If not at the top, it ranks high on the list amongst Bomberman, Smash Bros, and New Super Mario Bros. Duck Game captures the essence of gaming in its most raw form: unadulterated fun and relentless tom-quackery.