Developer: Leaders Association
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

If you remember Frogger, or any of the many copy cats that followed you will be in familiar territory here. The basic idea is to get your baby ducks safely across a busy street of traffic without losing too many in the process. These ducks are pretty dumb though, and they will run right into traffic so you are their only hope. You can control the speed of the little guys by tilting your Iphone to the left and right, but they dart out on their own. The only way of bringing them to a complete stop and saving their damn lives in the process is by tapping on Momma duck to give a howl. Unfortunately this will only momentarily stun them into submission, a second or so later and they’re back to the mad dash. There is also a runty little brown duckling in the mix who can’t make it across as fast as its siblings. Take extra care with him because he’ll happily trot along straight into incoming traffic.

The graphics and animation are really nice, and presented in a pseudo 3d style. Seeing the little guys get smacked is hilarious but a bit morbid. You seem to actually feel the thud of the hit as they fling into the air in 3d out into your screen. Honestly, they are more like lemmings than ducklings with their suicidal tendencies. I happen to live in a neighborhood with a few ponds nearby, so I actually live Urban Ducklings on most days, although my neighbors and I tend be a bit more polite and caring about the little quackers than the maniacal drivers here.
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Urban Ducklings succeeds as a casual game. The controls are really responsive and most importantly the game is easy to pick up and play. Tilting the Iphone back and forth to control the ducks safe voyage works well and feels natural. This type of game has been done before so it’s nice to see that developers are using the device’s strengths to add new life to an old idea.

However, all is not sunny in duckling land. The music is pretty simple and can get a bit tedious. Although for some reason one of the games sound effects is a sample of the theme from “Dragnet”, which doesn’t make any sense, but it is funny. Also, I don’t know if it’s just me but Urban Ducklings took way too much time to load, almost 45 seconds. If this was a big name game or an EA title I would understand, but this supposed to be a quick pick up and play kind of app. On a couple of occasions my impatience got the better of me and I gave up before I even started.

Sadly, I don’t think there is enough in Urban Ducklings to keep me glued to the screen for too long, but I can see playing it every now and again. It is a bit of a one trick pony, but you do know what you’re getting into. If you like this genre of games, Urban Ducklings is one of the better ones. Plus, it’s only 99 cents and that’s cheaper than a pack of gum. I can guarantee you’ll have more fun here than with a pack of Hubba Bubba.

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