Looney Tunes: Duck Amuck
Though well before most of our time, many of you may recall an early Warner Brothers cartoon starring the infamous Daffy Duck. Duck Amuck is a classic sketch that was created in 1953 involving Daffy Duck. The premise was simple, yet clever. Daffy appeared on the screen and was constantly annoyed by an animator. As the animator continued to toy with Daffy, he become increasingly frustrated. As it turns out, the animator was actually the eclectic Bugs Bunny, who was doing a mighty job of irritating the speech impaired duck.
Looney Tunes: Duck Amuck (LT:DA) is as unusual a game as was the original cartoon. When you start the game, you will find Daffy Duck standing alone with nothing but a white screen as background. At first, it appears as if the game is some sort of Tamagotchi or Nintendogs clone, but as you begin to find ways to interact with Daffy the unique nature of the game becomes apparent. Touching Daffy or leaving him idle will trigger certain events, which will lead to new ways for interaction. For example, if you ignore Daffy for a period of time (which is quite humorous in itself due to his persistent chatter), a gas can appears which can then be used. You may be asking yourself what is the actual point of the game? Well, the game’s premise closely follows that of the cartoon whereby your main task is to annoy Daffy. If you successfully annoy him enough, he will hit boiling point and the credits will roll. The question remains, how does one annoy Daffy? Interacting with him is only part of the equation. By interacting with him, what you will ultimately discover is that there are a number of mini-games you can play. It is through these mini-games that you can annoy Daffy even more.
While there are only a few mini-games available at first (accessible by picking Daffy up and chucking him towards the left of the screen), most of them must be opened via interaction. It’s an interesting and well executed idea, as finding the mini-games becomes a task in itself. There are clues available if you get stuck, but it’s quite entertaining to try and discover them yourself. The games themselves, totalling about 20 all up, range in quality. Some are great, whilst others are good, and others still are just OK. Overall, the quality is respectable and there’s enough variety in the games to keep you interested. There’s some ideas used in the mini-games and the majority of them make good use of the DS’s capabilities, including the touch screen and even some well executed microphone based games. There’s also the option of playing the games over Wi-Fi multiplayer, which gives some added value to the package. On top of that, you can play through the game on two difficulties. If you open up a game via interaction with Daffy, you will first play through on easy mode. Once you play the game again through the mini-game menu, you can try it again on a harder difficulty. You are awarded a Daffy’s head if you are successful in your endeavours. Finally, there are a number of hidden coins in the game. You will notice a sparkle from time-to-time which indicates a hidden coin. Tapping the sparkle will unlock the coin, each of which has one of the Looney Toons characters on it. It’s not super exciting, but it gives you something else to watch out for and for those who love collecting, there’s a decent amount of coins to be found.
LT:DA sports pretty basic, yet suitable visuals. Daffy looks just as he does when you watch him on TV and while there is a lack of anything graphically impressive, the game looks and feels like an authentic Looney Tunes cartoon. Sound is again basic, though it certainly does the job. There’s a few catchy tracks to listen too and Daffy’s persistent chattering is entertaining. It won’t take a great deal of time to open and complete the mini-games, but you can always play them through again to try and better your skills. A top scores tally would have been nice as a means of tracking your scores and allowing you to gauge your improvements or lack thereof. Alas, no such thing was included so you may find yourself with little reason to return to some of the games.
Overall, LT:DA is a zany mini-game compilation that sports a decent amount of good quality games. The game’s premise is a winning formula, and the mix of interaction and mini-games makes for an entertaining package. It’s quite basic on most levels but it’s certainly worth at least a rent. It’s not often enough that a game breaks the usual formula in preference of something a bit different. When it does happen, it’s often a pleasant surprise and allows the game to stand out from its competition. In the end, the mini-games are the crux of LT:DA and whilst good, a few more games would have been welcomed. That said, quality is more important than quantity and the mini-games here are pretty good. Nothing particularly brilliant but certainly not bad in any way.
It’s easy to recommend LT:DA for it’s unique blend of virtual pet (well, sort of) and mini-game compilation. It’s a clever rendition of the classic cartoon and with a good array of mini-games and plenty of laughs to be had, Looney Tunes: Duck Amuck is good value.