Duck Game

Originally released on Ouya in 2014, Duck Game has recently made its Steam debut through a partnership with Adult Swim Games – and this game has been frustrating the hell out of me in the best kind of way.

Though simple in execution, Duck Game is exactly the kind of thing that takes minutes to pick up and forever to master. As I watched my poor duck repeatedly crash to the ground in a spray of pixellated feathers and gunfire, it was becoming increasingly apparent that a lot of other people have had “forever.” Are these folks this good, or do I just need to brush up on my duck skills?

Duck Game is a platformer/arena game served up in an 8-bit style. When playing online, you compete with up to 3 other players for most kills over several rounds. Pick a duck, pick a hat (unlocked by obtaining certain achievements), and get to fighting. It sounds reasonably straightforward, but any new player will quickly realize that there is far more strategy required than your standard run-and-gun.

On launch, the music blares with a retro vibe and is impressively penned by the sole developer of Duck Game, Landon Podbielski (@superjoebob). I found the main menu to be a tad confusing, but I eventually got where I wanted. After struggling with the controls for a few minutes, I hopped into a match and braced for impact.

The level loaded up and the countdown began. As I quickly learned, it is common courtesy to hammer the “quack” button as many times as possible before the countdown for the match begins. There isn’t much point to it, but everyone seemed to be on the same page with this one.

I met my end almost as soon as the match began. This trend continued as levels moved in rapid-fire sudden-death battles. I didn’t even have time to be frustrated at my lack of ability – I just laughed heartily as my poor Duck met his demise over and over.

As mentioned earlier, the bulk of my experience was spent attempting to master the movement controls, which frustrated me for a platformer. If using the keyboard, absolutely everything you need is cluttered around standard WASD movement. I tried to remap, but didn’t have much success. My guess is that if you have the ability to utilize a controller, you’re going to be much better off.

That said, I still had a great time with the keyboard. I quickly made friends with my assailants, and we bungled through chaotic round after round until the buzzer rang and I saw my sad, sad score that landed me in 4th place. Better luck next time!

Online fights aren’t the only way to play. The good folks at Adult Swim Games have supplied a number of challenge modes where you can practice not just your mobility, but also your trickshots with the variety of weapons you’ll have at your disposal. While they were nice practice, and will certainly make for a great challenge for solo players, I definitely preferred my time online.

Duck Game is well stylized, well executed and well worth your $12.99 on Steam, even for the soundtrack alone. Landon has created a chaotic retro masterpiece, and I am thankful.



  1. This game is the bomb! I played it ever since the Ouya release.

    September 7, 2015
    • gareth said:

      I am going to try to play. Always the trick, so many games, you have to pick what you want to play and assign the others.

      September 7, 2015

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