A long time ago, a Shaun from a time gone by reviewed a game from another Shaun from a time gone by. That game was called shoot the moon (Free), and it was a triumph of simple gameplay combined with elegant presentation to create a delightful and fun game. In the years since, both Shauns have been busy with various things, but fate has found a reason for the Shauns’ lives to intersect once more. I’m Shaun Musgrave, and I’m here to review Shaun Coleman’s cleverly titled punch kick duck (free).
punch kick duck is another action game, but this time instead of taking on the shoot-em-up genre, the developer has offered their take on another popular genre from the old arcade days: single shot beat-em-up. . think about irem kung fu master, and you’ll be on the right page. You guide your duck (or another character, more on that later) through each stage, fighting off the various enemies that assault you. But you have three moves in your arsenal. Well, you’ve read the title, so you can probably guess what the moves are. You have a high punch, a mid level kick, and a crouching sweep.
Everything is quite simple at first. A bunny approaches and you punch it. A pig rolls up and you kick it. A lanky weasel approaches and you give it a sweep. They appear in groups, but as long as you keep your wits about you, it’s not too much to handle. Oh, and there’s a bear chasing you. You can’t do much with him, so it’s best to put your feet up when you’re not fighting so you can stay ahead of him. Get to the stairs and you’ll be home free to proceed to the next floor. Don’t forget to collect coins that enemies drop while you’re at it. More on that later, too.
As you progress through the floors, things get more complicated. Some of the enemies are pushing carts towards you. Other bottles to throw away. You can deal with all of these things using your own set of moves, but you’ll have to learn which ones are best for each situation and when to use them. It’s such a simple system at its core, but thanks to the variety of enemies and interactions, it always feels fresh. You’ll get a different arrangement of enemies every time you play, and there are multiple difficulty settings that mix things up even more. The challenge never feels unfair, and if you learn to play the game well enough, you can easily make it through the floors unscathed.
Ok, let’s talk about coins and characters. The coins that enemies drop can be used for a few different things, but the most fun you can have with them is using them to unlock new characters. There’s no character tone here, and that makes sense. Each one is carefully crafted and looks as natural in-game as the titular duck. It’s going to take a lot of gameplay to unlock them all, so you’ll have something to aim for for quite a while. Every time you unlock one, you get a little animation of the character coming out of a package. Very satisfying stuff. The gameplay doesn’t change, but it’s fun to switch things up visually. You can also use coins to continue if you are defeated in the middle of the stage. That’s less fun, but you can do it if you want.
So how do you monetize? The base game is free to play, and you’ll have to watch some ads from time to time if you want to keep things that way. If you’re tired of the mandatory ads, you can spend two bucks on an IAP to remove them. If you want to spend more money, you can buy a couple of additional characters a la carte for a few dollars each. There are also voluntary ads that will earn you some extra coins, and it’s not a bad idea if you want to speed up character unlocking and don’t mind looking at them. All pretty reasonable things, particularly by modern standards.
Let’s talk about the presentation, because it is absolutely dynamite. The game looks and sounds fantastic, and is compelling both in terms of its art style and technical prowess. Shaun Coleman’s flair for designing likable, affable characters helped make shoot the moon stand out and are further showcased here. You could mistake it for a cartoon, and I love it. Oh, and you can play in portrait or landscape orientation, and the game is just as viable to play either way.
The only downside to the game is the usual beat-em-ups. If you really settle in and settle in for a long term session, you might find it a bit repetitive after a while. As someone who loves the genre, it’s rarely a problem for me with the good ones, and I think punch kick duck it’s one of the good ones. But I know some people aren’t that into constant fights with enemies and their endless twin brothers and sisters, and if that’s you, then you might just end up bouncing around this game. The good news is that it’s free to try in any case, so… you know, give it a try.
punch kick duck It’s a blast to play, and a wonderful treat for the eyes and ears. It’s great to see Shaun Coleman take on another genre and put his own spin on it, and the results are just as good as he hoped. I hope our paths intertwine again in another ten years so I can see what he does with the single-screen platformer genre or something. For now, I’ll continue to enjoy this great slice of beat-em-up action. Maybe you should, too.