Ducks: Think outside the Flock is a puzzle game created to test the player’s mind and wits as they tackle twenty-five levels of brain teasing, duck related puzzles. Developed by Bonte Games, players are faced with multiple puzzles with different ranges of difficulty. From the very basic to the outright mind-numbing conundrums, this game will surely keep you occupied for a long time, especially if you cannot think outside of the box. Put your thinking caps on, it is time to lead the flock.
Birds of the Same Feathers form a Flock
While most puzzle games use very basic graphics when presenting their games visually, the guys at Bonte Games obviously wanted to make something both visually appealing and mind boggling at the same time. Sure the game will not win any awards for its graphics but it is still a step above the rest compared to other puzzle games we have played in the past. Despite the simple use of character models – the ducks, the developers added certain graphical effects to make sure the game maintains a certain visual standard while being played. The duck models used in the game were rendered to make them look three dimensional, especially since the game requires the player to rotate the ducks to solve particular puzzles on certain stages. The game’s limited use of colors is a bit noticeable though, even at the later levels. With the water being nothing but a black pool, players would not even know that it was water until ripples are created by the passing ducks. What we found weird about all of this is that despite the lack of colors, the game still looks good which we are guessing is due to its unique visual presentation.
Visual effects such as ripples on the water surface add to the game’s overall visual appeal. Since all the levels found in the game occur on a body of water, any object present during the game creates the same ripple effect once they are moved or touched. Unfortunately, the game only has one stage, which is a bit disappointing since the player will be spending quite some time on the game itself, especially if they get stuck on a particular puzzle. Other effects, such as the reflections of the objects on the water surface, would have added more to the game’s graphics though.
Dancing with Ducks
Duck: Think outside the Flock’s music can be summed up into one word – Classical. Various classic musical pieces are heard throughout the game – which might have players thinking whether or not they are playing a puzzle game or watching a ballet at the theatre. We actually found the choice of music for the game appealing and at most times helpful in calming our nerves during certain levels where we wanted to punch the monitor since we could not solve the puzzle presented to us by the game. While the game’s sound track might not appeal to everyone especially those who loathe these kinds of music, an option to turn off the music is available for those who would rather listen to a different music genre on their computer’s media player or their portable mp3 players.
Sound effects are constant but few in the game. With only a handful of audio effects available, such as the quacking of the ducks themselves and the sound of the rippling water, the developers of the game obviously made some sacrifices in terms of audio effects. While there is not much stuff in the game to provide sound effects to, certain things could have used some sound effects to further enhance the game’s appeal; maybe a celebratory tone or chime that rings when a puzzle is solved or even a different set of quacking sounds from the ducks themselves, these could have immersed the player ever more in the game.
Flocking for a cause
Unlike most online puzzle games available on the internet these days, Duck: Think outside the Flock presents their puzzle in a very simple way. A lot of puzzle games today are too cryptic and even rely on other factors such as quick reflexes and good hand-eye coordination. Bonte Game’s Duck: Think outside the Flock is the opposite of those games, with its old school puzzles that are not too easy but also not too difficult to solve, using only the basic of controls from the player’s mouse - it is what puzzle games were in the past and should in the present. Each level uses a different type of puzzle, from the simplistic spot the difference to the more challenging, arrange all the ducks to face the player while each movement taken turns a certain number of ducks at the same time. The player progresses to the next level once the puzzle is solved. There is not an option to pick stages in the game, which we felt sad about since we wanted to replay certain puzzles and we did not want to pass through all other levels just to play it again.
Observation is the key in this game since the game does not offer any hints or any written objectives for players to follow. Some guess work is needed in certain levels so do not hesitate to experiment with certain things on the screen. Some of the more creative puzzles were the ones that had us controlling a single duck, where our objective was to gather all the white balls – sound simple? Well it is, until you have to do it according to size with the controls on your mouse reversed, not to mention hitting a ball with a different color resets the stage. Other, more simple puzzles involves lining up three ducks horizontally or playing a round of Tic-Tac-Toe with duck pieces. Overall the gameplay involved in Duck: Think outside the Flock is just your average everyday puzzle presented in a different way.
Once Everything Has Been Resolved
Ducks: Think outside the Flock is a good online puzzle game for those who want to spend their leisure time just lazily thinking of a way to solve some puzzles while listening to a calming set of musical classics. While most of the game’s puzzles might be catered more to a younger audience due to their simplicity, Duck: Think outside the Flock is still worth checking out even if you are a diehard puzzle solving wizard. With a good presentation, both visually and audibly, the game can definitely hold its own against modern games from its genre. The only gripe we have with the game is its short lifespan, with only twenty-five stages. Players can breeze through the game in an just hour.