In Fox Vs. Duck, developer Studio FungFung has traded the colorful, frenetic high-flying action of Mini Squadron for the more restrained (apparent) serenity of a duck pond. Utilizing the accelerometer for the game’s sole controls, you simply tilt their device to help guide cute little ball-like ducks across a pond containing scattered lily pads and a very hungry and speedy Koi. You must navigate the Flora as it will slow you down, as you try to traverse the water avoiding attack from the carnivorous Koi. Although, the water doesn’t contain the only predator craving confit, for there is also a sly fox dutifully stalking the water’s edge just waiting to pounce on the poor little ducklings when they reach dry land.
Like a strange scene straight out of a Bergman film, the game’s eerie soundtrack made up of hollow sounding bells mixed with odd, peculiar sounds and echos and the nearly monochromatic color palate manages to stir up a conflicting sense of serene uneasiness. Then comes the shock of color, when one of your ducks gets violently attacked (and killed) by either the Koi or the Fox. Pools of deep red blood appear, slowing expanding out from the recently deceased duck and into the water or across ground below. A stark and jarring contrast to the rest of the muted colors in the game, it is quite a stunning, disturbing and memorable visual effect.
- In challenge mode a timer is ticking down and you must attempt to rescue as many ducks as possible before the time expires. For every 5 ducks saved, additional time is added to the timer, but if a duck is killed you will lose some valuable time. Colorful bonus items will occasionally flutter down and drop onto the pond, which when picked up will either give you more time or a temporary speed boost.
- Survival mode plays slightly differently, instead of a timer, you start off with 5 lives with which to help as many ducks as possible escape the pond. Each time a duck is killed by the fox or the Koi, you will lose a life and once you run out of lives, the game is over. Like in the challenge mode, colorful bonus items will occasionally flutter down and drop onto the pond, which when picked up will either give you additional lives or a temporary speed boost.
Both modes have their own OpenFeint supported global leaderboards to track the number of ducks saved and the number of ducks killed. There are also 27 different OpenFeint Achievements that can be earned!
Fox Vs Duck is not only a visually appealing game, but is also both challenging and addicting. With its simple one-handed accelerometer-based control scheme, and leaderboards to suit both the saintly and sadistic player, it is the perfect casual game for some quick pickup and play entertainment. Ironically it is the controls that are also our only complaint regarding the game. Instead of feeling like you are directly responsible for the movement of the ducks, it seems more like you are a parent, urging a stubborn toddler (with opinions of her own) in the direction that you want her to go. Unless this was the desired effect, we believe the controls still need a bit more tweaking. There is an in-game calibration tool, but even when we use that, we still see the calibration sensor jerking around wildly after pressing “calibrate”. That being said, the occasional stubbornness of the controls are not so bad that it deterred us from really enjoying our experience with Fox Vs Duck.