All bright colours and cute characters, Duck Souls+ is the kind of wholesome, light-hearted game that makes it a bit easier to forget about the state of the world right now.
It is a 2D platformer featuring an 8-bit duck as its protagonist. At the beginning of the game, the titular Duck Souls summon you to a mission to collect and protect eggs. You then embark on an adventure spanning 100 treacherous levels across which you run, jump and dash to rescue the egg at the end of each. The story doesn’t factor hugely into the gameplay, but it does contribute to the sweet silliness of it.
The platforms are littered with 20 different types of traps. These are largely the kind of classic challenges and obstacles you’ll find in platformers, ranging from spikes to laser balls to a creepy ghost clone of you that chases you down. If you fall victim to any of these, you explode in a Super Meat Boy style burst of red pixels.
After a few standard levels that give you a chance to get the hang of the controls, Duck Souls+ is pleasantly challenging. In casual mode, there are checkpoints along the way where you respawn if you die so you don’t have to repeat early obstacles. These are removed if you play in hard mode.
With each platform you complete, you rescue an egg and unlock a new level. There is also the chance throughout the game to unlock a variety of hats that your duck can wear on your next run. As far as I can tell, they make no difference to the game, but they are super cute.
It’s fairly easy to blast through all 100 levels in both modes in the space of an afternoon. The game times how long your run takes and also counts how many times you die, so you can play it over again to beat your score as much as you like. It’s fun enough that it’s definitely worth replaying a few times, especially if you’re the kind of gamer that takes pride in beating your own personal best.
Duck Souls+ is simple, but it excels at what it does. It’s inexpensive and adorable. There are few key ingredients that it takes to make a good platformer and Duck Souls+ has them all.