With such a clever title that tells you everything you need to know about the game and more, it’s easy to see why Punch Kick Duck would appeal to someone like me who’s happily swayed by visuals at first glance.
The single-plane beat ’em up is, as the title suggests, all about a duck who has to punch and kick (and duck) his way through a tower to earn his freedom, but the doubleentendre here also refers to the actual moves you can unleash. Witty puns aside, is it compelling enough to make you want to fight the good fight?
Table of contents:
PUNCH KICK DUCK VISUALS
The clean and colorful artwork of the 3D action title is a fabulous way to present this seemingly simple game. The titular protagonist itself is formidable yet adorable, with equally cute enemies that will come at you in waves with each floor you climb. The foes – from short piggies to gigantic grizzlies – are almost too cute to take down, but as fate would have it, you’ll still need to put up your feathered fists to brawl through these hordes despite your enemies’ visual appeal.
The backgrounds, while nothing too breathtaking, offer a nice variety as you progress through the floors. You’ll also be able to unlock different characters from what look like action figure boxes. These heroes don’t really offer anything new in terms of skills or moves, but they do make you look downright hilarious, as these in-app cosmetics should.
THE GAMEPLAY OF PUNCH KICK DUCK
As mentioned, you’ll progress through a single plane to fight for your freedom here. Combat is a rock-paper-scissors-esque affair, where Punch beats Kick, Kick beats Duck, and Duck beats Punch. Running is automatic, but you can hold down on the screen to slow your pace if you ever feel overwhelmed by the barrage of enemies charging your way. You can also collect coins throughout your run, which you can use to either buy cosmetics or give yourself a quick Revive when you’re knocked down.
You can use a controller too if you’re into that, or play either in portrait or landscape mode. In my experience, using the touchscreen itself on landscape is convenient enough, as you can easily see the buttons you need to press to execute those three moves.
Eventually, things will start to get a little bit heated, as enemies will chuck random items at you and you’ll have to dodge them to make it out of the level unscathed. A timer will also indicate whether or not they’ll sic a huge bear at you to speed up your pace, which can all spice up the gameplay any time you’re feeling bored.
WHAT’S THE APPEAL?
To be quite honest – while you can adjust the difficulty settings here to suit your capabilities best – I actually felt like the game was too challenging for me (or it could just be that my own reflexes aren’t good enough). While the premise of having one move beat the other is interesting, it all eventually boils down to memorizing which enemy does what and which moves counters that. You don’t really see any visual indicator about how an enemy might behave, so it ends up being a trial-and-error experience with a combat style that’s all about memorisation.
It might also feel a little repetitive for some players who like hunkering down and playing in one go, so it’s not the best game to play during long sessions. Still, despite my difficulty with it, each attempt did feel engaging, with highly entertaining heroes and foes alike (you can even punch, kick and duck your way as an actual carrot).
Overall, Punch Kick Duck is one of those “easy to play but hard to master” games that harken back to the good ol’ days of arcades. All you really have to do is beat up any foes coming your way without rhyme or reason – that is, if your memorization skills are up to the task.