Duck Twist is a simple maze game for iPhone that shows plenty of potential, but a few limitations and a lack of features holds me back from giving this anything but a lukewarm recommendation. The game plays fairly well from a mechanical point of view, but it does have the feel of a game that hasn’t received much polish.
The game sees you take control of a duckling who must find his way around various path mazes set on top of lakes. Trapped in an egg, he can’t swim or fly, so you must make sure he doesn’t fall off the edge of any path, as it is instant death and back to the start of the level if you do. The game is controlled by turning your iPhone, with full 360 degree movement possible. The duck walks forwards automatically, and will turn his direction of walking in relation to how far you twist the iPhone.
Control methods like these are notoriously hard to pull off, but the developer has done a good job here, as the duck responds instantly to any movement, and I never had any calibration issues or control problems during my time with the game. You can’t place the iPhone or iPod on a flat surface to play, however, it must be held at the right angle.
The only problem with the basic gameplay is that you get no warning when you are about to go over the edge. If the duck flapped around a bit or if an exclamation mark appeared when you were a few pixels away from the edge, that would be a big help, as it really is tricky to learn just how far he can go over the edge of the path.
The levels are twisty and it does require some concentration to get through each one. There are also extra obstacles, such as an eagle that will cause the duck to move really fast for a short period, gusts of wind on the Fall levels and slippery surfaces on the Winter stages. These obstacles add some much needed variety to the play, and it is a shame that there is not more of them.
That is the critical issue here- variety. I would have wanted to have seen branching paths, some thick and some thin, and items to find and collect on each stage. As it is, Duck Twist is a simple trot from one end of the level to another, more a test of your steady hands than anything else. The lack of sound effects when you die or skid, and the fact that the end of each stage is simply an empty path is disappointing.
The graphics on the duck are quite nice, but the levels are bland looking, but the title music and the music that plays when you run from an eagle are both jaunty little tunes, and fit the theme of the game well.
There are three different environments to play through, each unlocked after beating a few levels in the other areas, with thirty levels in all. You can view a short tutorial, post about the game on Facebook and attempt to beat each level on a higher difficulty. There is also a couple of very short cutscenes to view as you play through the stages.
If this game had branching pathways, collectible items and upgrades and a bit more polish, then this could have been really good. It isn’t a bad game by any means, as the controls are decent, and it is fairly addictive while it lasts, but a lack of variety and polish means that this can only receive a mild recommendation.