Cute ducklings and a shot of nostalgia.
Back in the first half of 2012, a little point and click adventure by Waffle Friday Studios appeared on Kickstarter. The funding was quite the success and today we have Duck Quest?. Yes, with a question mark. Because… why not? Duck Quest? is built like an adventure game of old, and when we say old, we mean a dozen colors on the screen and characters so pixellated you can count their edges old.
Sure is a fine day in the park. Oh, look at that family of happy ducks! A strong wind, oh no! The little ducklings have been carried away! This calls for an epic Duck Quest? Yes, it does call for an epic duck quest. In the park. With talking birds and happy dogs and flea-ridden musicians!
Use the arrow keys to move the little white duck around the park, walking off the edge of the screen to change locations. The W key opens your inventory and E allows you to examine things or talk to people. Ducks can talk, right? They can quack, we know that, and to do so, simply press Q. The Enter key, which isn’t listed in the game’s help screen, clears conversations and allows you to use items where appropriate. It’s a pretty simple set-up, now all you need to do is investigate everything that moves to see if you can find your younglings!
Duck Quest? is all about exploration. There’s not much to check out in the park, but what’s there is as charming as can be, multiplied by the lovely artwork and innocence of a mother duckling looking for her babies. Talk to people and examine things to find items or trigger events. One event leads to another event which eventually turns up one of the four missing ducklings. Unfortunately, triggered events aren’t always logical, so whenever you complete a task you’ll need to explore each screen again to see what changed. That ends up being a bit of a nuisance since the duck’s walking speed is so… leisurely.
Duck Quest? is a charming game just about everyone can enjoy, but it’s not without a technical flaw or two. The least of these is the fact that you can’t press two keys at the same time. Or, more accurately, additional keypresses don’t interrupt the original. It sounds like a small point, and it may very well have been an intentional feature to keep the pace of the game slow, but in order to check things out or open your inventory, you first have to stop walking then press the new key. It’s a bit plodding, but not something you don’t learn to ignore after some time. This reviewer also managed to get stuck inside an object simply by strolling around the park. No warning, no chance of avoiding it, just change screens and blam. Trapped. You can’t save your progress in Duck Quest?, so this meant starting the game all over again.
It’s too cute and simple to actively dislike, even with its lack of features and possible game-ending glitches. Duck Quest? provides around half an hour of colorful questing, complete with a handful of odd characters and some short cutscenes. For a free game, it’s not a bad diversion.