Whoa, now I am really trippin. I thought the most psychedelic whacky game for iOS was Enviro-Bear 2010, but that is from now on a contested crown. Time Ducks sucked me in, chewed me whole and let me go with some dazzle still in my mind. Basically what you got here is a line drawing take on the classic Frogger. You have to help various animals across the road, while avoiding getting squished by cars, tractors and trucks. There is also the odd dog that tries to eat your precious herbivores. Added to this is a nifty way to control the speed of the game, and hence the name Time Ducks.
The controls are quite simple to get into. Simply tap, and draw a path for your animal. It is paused while you draw, and that means you have to be quite quick in your movements, as traffic isn’t paused. You don’t have to memorize where rabbits or ducks go, once you tap them an arrow shows their destination. Dogs can be tapped to destroy, and pose only a minor threat. Those are the movement controls, and beside those we got time management powers. Sliding to the right, and holding on the screen lets you fast forward. This helps you out at dull moments, and also helps getting better scores. Sliding to the left rewinds the traffic giving you the opportunity to change your paths. Easy to understand controls, and most of the time I tend to skip the rewind ability. Fast forwarding is handy in the early minutes, as the game is quite slow to pick up the pace.
This is my major gripe with the game, as there is only one game mode. It takes too long to become challenging, and I started to yawn. The psychadelia wore off when I started to master the game. There is another dimension to it all with the shear amount of animals, bonus animals and achievements to accomplish. It is near impossible to keep track of all the combinations found in the game. Once you lead three animals to freedom, or kill off a bunch of dogs making the total three you get a bonus. That is of course if you have been quick enough. This means that you need to use the fast forward mechanism to keep the combo going. Once I realised this the game got infused with new life. Tutorials are for losers, right? Anyway I went back to the main menu, and found a hilarious tutorial worth visiting. A pair of wacky zombies put each other down, and let you know the drills.
The presentation is absolutely amazing in Time Ducks sporting a retro psychedelic only seen in Enviro-Bear 2010, and the games from Llamasoft/Jeff Minter. Everything has a slight blur to it, and colours are never clear. It is what the Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix would have loved at their live shows and covers of LPs. Everything from the initial loading screen to the high score screen is filled with a whacky sense of humour. There are few games I can say that it is a pleasure to get game over in, but Time Ducks is such a game. The music is a weird mixture of children’s farmyard tunes, country and the soundtrack for Grim Fandango. All this in only one tune is impressive, and it is changed if you fast-forward, or rewind in the game. The sound effects are higher in the mix, and slightly off. This is made with purpose to go with the general off-ness of the game, and it works beautifully.
Time Ducks is probably a game that could only be born on iOS. It features precise line drawing mechanics, but most of all it is wacky beyond what usually sees the light on other systems. The fact that it only comes with one game mode hurts it, as it starts kind of slow. Hopefully this is updated with new modes in the future. Still it is one of the most unique experiences on any platform, and comes highly recommended for the iPad and iPhone.
Time Ducks $1.99 Universal for iPad/iPhone/iPod
Seller: Tough Guy Studios