Version Reviewed: 1.0
Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
Graphics and Sound [rating:4.5/5]
Re-use / Replay Value [rating:3.5/5]
If there's one app which has been stirring a fair amount of interest over the last couple of weeks, it's this one. Thanks to the guys at Mr Fung Fung, I got a chance to take duck for a swim before his release. Developed by the people who brought us Mini Squadron, Fox Vs. Duck is an artistic and slightly weird game in which you take the role of duck. Set out around a small pond, the game's aim is fairly simple. Periodically dropping from the sky, you must save as many copies of duck as possible before the time runs out. Sounds easy right? .. Well, in order to get duck across the pond safely and in one piece, you're going to have to make a wily effort to avoid Fox. Fox navigates around the pond, stalking your every move. As you move across the waters surface in a leisurely direction, Fox will be gearing to make you his next meal. But it's not just Fox you'll have to worry about. There's also an unfriendly fish lurking in those waters who is also not frightened of taking a bite out of you.
Using tilt, you guide duck around the pond aiming to reach the edge of it to gain flight. All the while though, you have one eye firmly on Fox and the other on his fishy friend (Wait, you have THREE eyes?). The more of duck you manage to save, the faster and more agile both of your predators become. The game plays out in two modes. Challenge and Survival. In challenge mode, you'll be presented with a timer located at the top of the screen which ultimately counts down. The aim of this mode is to see how many of duck you have saved before the time runs out. Each time you manage to evade danger and send duck on his way to the clouds, you'll earn more time. The more time you earn the more time you have in order to save more duck. The game ends once the time runs out. In survival mode though, you're given 5 of duck to take care of (lives). Each time manage to evade danger you gain a further life. The game ends once all your lives are depleted.
As you progress further into the game and manage to save even more of duck, little coloured speckles will fall from the heavens. What are these I hear you ask? These, my friend, are your life savers. Navigating to and picking up one of these specks will give you an speed immediate boost. Something, I imagine, of value if you happen to be trapped between a rock and a hungry fish.
You might also be surprised to find out that pond isn't static. Okay, I lied, it is in itself .. but the objects inside the pond? They're dynamic. They move. Meaning everytime you do manage to evade Fox and his evil fish friend, the next danger-filled journey across the pond will never be the same. For example, rocks and lily pads are bound to sprout up, slowing your down .. and the slower you move, the more likely you are to be eaten! The game very much centers around this thought of life and death, but not in a morbid or overly-graphic way. In fact, there is little to nothing about the game that would deem the game unsuitable for younger audiences (and least in my eyes.. ).
Fox vs. Duck is definitely a good looking game, one which is both artistic and minimalistic in its approach. I'm a sucker of minimalistic games. If I had it my way all the games in the App Store would look like Edge or Eliss. My only little caveat is when using the tilt aspect of game, the duck felt just a tad too 'resistant'. The game does offer an option to re-calibrate your device's accelerometer though, and while this made no immediate difference to my experience within the game, I highly suggest you do so.
Fox Vs. Duck offers little of anything new we've not already seen, but its use of geometric shapes for its main characters, combined with its sheer simplistic nature of its playing board and in-game control mechanics, makes for a winning combination. It's an enjoyable, addictive and quirky experience which, in my opinion, lives up to the initial pre-release hype.