Ducks are fascinating creatures! They can do wondrous things like fly a rocket, yet they cannot do the simplest things like finding their way to said rocket. They have to play follow-the-leader in order to get anywhere. That's where YOU come in. You must become their leader, and lead them to the safety of their rocket. However, nothing is ever that simple. Oh no! Walls, fire, aliens, holes, spikes and a whole lot more stand between you and freedom, and you must find a way to overcome these obstacles.
As if all that wasn't enough, you even have to contend with the ducks themselves. For those of you who don't know, ducks are easily distracted, and you have to get their attention before they will follow you. That being said, they are just as happy to follow a flying saucer or a bird. You can use this to your advantage as you plan their escape route, but it can also cause you all sorts of problems if you are not careful. So are you up to the challenge, or are the ducks doomed to wonder aimlessly for evermore?
Ducks was originally a shareware game created by Hungry Software, but was released as freeware on 6 November 2006. The game is similar to Lemmings, in that you have to guide a bunch of critters (in this case, ducks) to safety. You control the green 'leader' duck, and you have to guide all the orange ducks into their spaceships.
The game has 80 levels altogether. The first 10 are 'Training Levels' that teach you the basics of the game. From the main menu, you can adjust various options, such as video settings (blood on or off), volume settings, and game speed, to suit your preference. When you are happy, then you can start the game. As I said earlier, you must guide ducks to their rockets. Each rocket can hold up to 5 ducks before it blasts off, and there is usually more than one rocket per level. Tools such as bridges, bombs, hot-air balloons, transporters, air bubbles, and more enable you to guide the ducks to safety. Left-click anywhere on the screen to make the leader duck walk there, and right click to use the currently selected tool.
The number of ducks you must save is shown at the bottom of the screen, together with the number of lives you have left, the time you have left, your score, and the available tools for that level. Pressing 'Escape' nukes that level, and takes you back to the main menu. From here, you can save your progress, load a previous game, retry the level, or quit the game.
Even though the game is now freeware, you still need to 'Unlock' the game in order to get the full version. At the main menu, go to OPTIONS. Click on REGISTER DUCKS. Type in the name EVERYONE, and then the code 004893. You should now see 'Full Version' displayed at bottom of the screen.
The graphics are bright and cheerful, which makes the game a lot of fun to play. The ducks are well animated, and I like watching them follow the leader duck, all in a row. Rockets blast off very smoothly, and I especially liked watching the hot-air balloons rise up. Tools such as bombs and balloons are fun to use, and you will find yourself using them more than you really need to. I loved how the fire flickered - it was so effective. There is so much to see here, you will never get bored.
You MUST use DosBox 0.70 to hear the sounds properly. However, DosBox is very slow, so you need to crank up the cycles very high before the game will play at a decent speed. If you don't want to use DosBox, you can still play the game, but I would recommend you turn the sound off, as you will hear some strange screeches.
I really liked the sound effects for this game. You can always hear something in the background, such as bugs flying around, machines operating, or even the wind blowing. The leader duck makes a nice wooshing sound as he enters the transporter, and all the ducks give a satisfying 'quack; as the enter their spaceship. Balloons and bombs give a nice 'bang' as they explode, and I especially like hearing the 'squish' as the ducks get killed (aren't I nasty!). Tim Furnish (the creator) has filled the game with a lot of fun sounds that you will enjoy hearing.
Ducks is compatible with Windows, VDM Sound, or DosBox. The game runs very slowly in DosBox, so you will need to crank up the cycles incredibly high (at least 20000) to get a decent speed.
Ducks is a very addictive puzzle game that I highly recommend. If you liked Lemmings, then you will love this game. The levels are well thought out, and will give you a good challenge. The whole idea of saving ducks is very appealing, but I also found letting them get zapped, squished, or spiked quite amusing at times. The colourful graphics are a pleasure to see, and it was fun watching ducks float around in air bubbles. The sound effects are fun to hear, but they don't distract you from the game. There is so much to see and do in this game, you will be playing for hours. All in all, a brilliant game that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Review by: Frodo
Safe for all ages
Windows, DOSBox, VDM Sound