Game Review #398: Catch a Duck (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Steven Green
Developer: All Those Moments
Publisher: Ultimate Games
Release Date: 06.29.2019
Price (at time of review): $4.99
Buy Catch the Duck from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
Catch a Duck is one of those interesting titles that doesn’t wow on entry, but turns into more than you had expected as you continue through and progress with the title. What you have here is sort of an action-puzzle game, in that you must move and react quickly and accurately through obstacles and fights while trying to come up with the best method to avoid the various animals and collect everything for the best score. You find some promise here and there, and it wasn’t what I was expecting it to be, but with some issues that can’t be overlooked.
You are a simple fox looking to dine on the ducks that roam this forest. However, you have competition all around you from bears and wolves and also have to avoid traps and the hunters who set them up on your way to that delicious duck at the end of the yellow brick road.
This title is a puzzle game of sorts at its base and the key to each level is finding the best path to get to the duck we need so badly. Maneuvering through trees and bushes while taking advantage of various cover and hideouts will be key to getting the level completed. The action portion of this game comes in having to manually move your fox while running away and tricking other animals into precarious situations.
It’s A Trap!
To start you just have to basically get past a group of wolves who are scattered throughout the level. Simple enough, and it isn’t something that is all that difficult. From there they amp things up with the addition of bears who are much tougher than the wolves (and can be used accordingly) and hunters who take a shot at you from a distance. Traps that one hit kill you or any other animals they ensnare are also scattered about once you progress through to tougher levels also. This is where things get a little more interesting, as you will have to lead the rival animals into these traps in some levels in order to get past them efficiently. This also isn’t the toughest thing as the AI involved isn’t tricky and chases you in a straight line, but nonetheless adds some flavor to the basic avoidance tactics you use throughout. Jumping in and out of cover is used here and there and can be useful to get a sense of your surroundings. At the end of all of that you have what the game is centered around; just making it to the end of the level without being caught.
The only other aspect of this title is the point system it uses. It rates you based on the accumulated score and gives you so many stars based on that. You can increase that score by getting as many of the rival enemies trapped or attacking each other as possible. You can also increase your score with stars that are placed in strategic positions that increase the difficulty as you usually have to avoid an additional obstacle to get to that star. The obstacles in question come from the groupings of either animals or traps that are used throughout. Going for a high score generally means you will be clearing the board of all the enemies. There are also rabbits that hide in bushes or around the map that can be eaten as well to increase score, but other animals can hide in these bushes, so you have to be quick in reacting to what pops out of the bush.
The issue with all this avoidance you have to do is the controls aren’t very tight at all. You move in sort of a grid layout, and you have some serious layover in your inputs. I accidentally got too close to animals or fell into traps all the time, making for an increase of difficulty of the unfair variety. This was a huge bummer as there is too simple of a premise here to allow for a ton of negatives, and having to at times precisely navigate in order to properly avoid obstacles with a rough movement system isn’t on my list of favorite ways to spend my time playing through a game. With that said, the puzzles are fun, so it was worth trying to get used to the controls even with them being that rough.
This title is also super short. You have a small handful of levels to play through, and if you are just looking to blaze through and not get higher scores you are looking at an experience that can be completed in an hour or so. This isn’t so bad at the price point, and the gameplay is fun, but the game ends before you have really gotten your fill.
The bright spot of this game is the art style. The game is hand drawn and looks like what a kid in school might doodle on the back of his notepad while ignoring the teacher. I love it to death, and that is only amplified by the cute little grunts the animal folk spew at you as they try to eat you alive. It sort of has a Peanuts teacher vibe with how the characters interact vocally, and I appreciated that as well; very cutesy.
Catch a Duck isn’t going to light the gaming world on fire and is too short of a puzzle experience to really satiate that puzzle game itch. The game looks great, and I love the aesthetic, but the game doesn’t feel good to handle which places you in some frustrating positions when the entire point of the game is to be quicker than the baddies and move around them fluidly. This title may be of interest to anyone looking for a quick and interesting puzzle-like experience, but falls short in too many areas, sadly.
Buy Catch the Duck from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
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*Review Code Provided by Ultimate Games