Let me tell you a little secret. I went for this game without having the first clue what it was about. But I am a Indie whore and will take a chance on anything Indie. With a game called Duck Souls+ I was taking a chance, especially going in blind.
I blame my buddy at Bar Harukiya for mentioning the game in conversation. He just said about reviewing it and by name alone I was intrigued. My main worry was with a name like Duck Souls+ this was going to be a ‘LOL Meme’ game.
How wrong I was. As apart from the name and a couple of cringe based references to other games, this is solid game that has a right to stand out on its own merits.
You take on the part of a duck (surprise) who is given a mission and must then embark on a series of single screen puzzle platform areas to essentially save the day. Look, the story doesn’t matter, you play a duck that has something to do.
Still, cringe name aside my initial impression for the first few screens was… Oh this is a Super Meat Boy rip off!! In truth that is exactly what it is, but it would also do the game a disservice. As despite the clear influence from the Ed McMillen classic there is enough here to keep you engaged.
As the aforementioned duck, you need to navigate the traps and platforms to reach a target to complete each level. In this case it is an egg. Why? Because, reasons.
Early levels are really simple and aside from a few brick handed moments from myself, they were fairly simple to complete. As I progressed though, I could begin to understand why developer Green Dinosaur Games used the title they did.
From breezing through levels, I all of a sudden hit a point where I had to remember the ninja skills I’d learned in Trials, Super Meat Boy and even Dark Souls. It became very, very difficult, but it was too late, I was invested.
Sometime a game can be difficult for the sake of being difficult. For wanting the headlines and not for the betterment of the game itself. But Duck Souls+ does the thing that the games above do. It ramps up and you appreciate the hurdles it throws at you. You get the urge to want to launch a controller, but never get to the point it becomes fully rage inducing.
Now sometimes a game can cause controversy by giving a player choice when it comes to difficulty. (I mean, why is that even a thing? I despair, choice is good). But I applaud Duck Souls+ here, as there is a normal difficulty with check points through each level. There is then the hard mode, which removes those checkpoints.
What I liked though was that despite progression being gated behind completing the previous level, you could switch between normal and hard at any point. No punishments. Which is great for me, because I managed some levels on hard and others I played normal. I can go back and do hard later if I want, but I wasn’t being mocked, or shamed into doing so. Much kudos there.
There is a lot of game here for less than £5 and Duck Souls+ is one that whilst never being as great as its influences is still a solid game in its own right. Well worth the small investment.