Duck Game, from Landon Podbielski and published by Adult Swim Games, is an odd title to say the least, but I’d be remiss not to mention how great of a time I had playing this frenetic shooter. Underneath all the cheap mallard puns and assortment of hats you can gain while playing – even having a dedicated “quack” button – was the huge arsenal of weapons that brought out a myriad of possibilities. This is one multiplayer experience you don’t want to miss.
As you blast your way through each of the levels, you’ll notice Duck Game moves very fast, but you mobility and precision is not as high as in other similar titles. Instead, you’re fairly restricted to aiming left or right with your weapon and lack the ability to wall climb or double jump. You can slide on your back, as well as slow down your descent with your wings, but motions are more constricting than you think. This may be a bad thing in most aspects, but for Duck Game this restriction actually works out to make for more harrowing experiences and matches seem more skill based than just being lucky with randomly shooting.
Once the action starts, your actions aren’t about precise traversal of the level, but instead focused on the weapons at your disposal; and oh my, there are so many at your disposal. These range from net guns, sledgehammers, miniguns, quad lasers, vaporizers, the list is astounding. You can clash swords, set off chain reactions, burn to death, and even play a saxophone I kid you not. The chaos and destruction in each level results in a lot of mutually assured destruction between friends and hilarious accidental suicides.
Even the least skilled player in a game will still pick up wins and have a blast doing it. Almost everything is a one-hit kill and most weapons come with a very limited amount of ammo. Once your gun is spent you just simply throw it on the ground and find your next tool of destruction. Tool is the keyword as almost anything and everything can be used as a weapon. This includes rocks, fireworks, darts; you name it and it’s in there, and the fact that it can be someone’s demise is just as satisfactory. The sheer number of items in Duck Game, along with the care given to make each one feel unique is what separates this from a swath of other arena based multiplayer games found on the Nintendo Switch.
Another area where Duck Game diverts from the norm is in scoring where you never know what the current score is after each round, but instead there are a couple of intermissions where each players score is revealed in a cutscene. These intermissions are strange and unexpected, but add another charming element to this satisfyingly peculiar title. There is a story buried somewhere in the presentation, but Duck Game is mainly all about the gameplay and chaos that ensues, of which it does not disappoint. The postgame content is especially endearing as a duck sports announcer shows a highlight reel of some great in-game moments.
These unexpected additions, while slight odd add to Duck Game’s unique identity and general feel. There are local and online multiplayer options available and the game ran just fine on the Nintendo online infrastructure. Where the fun truly lies though is in local multiplayer, as the chaos which ensues will having everyone jumping out of their seat and laughing up a storm. There is a basic level editor that is good enough to experiment around with when you have the spare time. It’s the kind of editor where you can just pick up and start creating and is easy for everyone to learn in no time.
Overall, Duck Game is how a strictly multiplayer shooter should function that is incredibly engaging and fun to play with others. It has a distinct methodology of mayhem that few games are able to effectively convey. Every level contributes to the destruction in its own unique way and it’s a game you can continuously come back to if you just want to have a great time. Duck Game isn’t afraid to have fun, and because of this it should earn a permanent stay in your Switch library.