Duck standing behind an enemy outpost in Duckside
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Duckside Beta 2 Impressions: Fun Combat That Needs Polish

Duckside still has a long way to go, but its combat gives you all the fun you need right now.

Duckside is another survival game that promises to bring a fun spin to the genre. Games like Rust and DayZ are on the grounded side of the survival sphere, but Duckside manages to go away from that and offer something many titles fail to provide — excitement at every corner thanks to the game’s movement system.

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Graphics and Lighting

Duckside’s developers chose a graphic style similar to games like Sea of Thieves and Fortnite. It features a vibrant color palette that compliments the silly concept of the game. Duckside’s colors are saturated enough to bring attention to all the objects on the screen without tiring players after hours of gameplay.

Captivating is a word that can describe Duckside. I admired sunsets and sunrises while gathering resources in the woods and at the shore of some small islands. Luckily for players, running this game at max settings will not be an issue, as the game lists a GTX 1060 and an RX 580 as recommended graphics cards.

Duck flying across the map watching the sunset
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Anyone with a gaming PC built in the last five years should have no problem running Duckside at max settings at 1080P. The graphics settings are basic but effective. I could control many aspects like view distance, shadows, foliage, and more. The game doesn’t feature an FOV slider yet, but Duckside is in Early Access, so it’s only a matter of time until developers add more options.

A Massive Map So Players Can Quack All They Want

The map is big, with multiple points of interest where you can fight NPCs, loot crates, and bump into other players. The map features a lot of elevated terrain, allowing you to jump off and glide to the next area when you finish looting, crafting items, or fighting other players.

One of the most useful features I came across was these air current spots across the map, allowing me to travel faster between areas. Once I entered one of these big air current zones, my character slowly lifted, gaining a lot of elevation so I could glide to another area of the map more easily.

Duck gliding through the air next to air current
Screenshot by GameSkinny

This feature makes exploring the map more fun and quick than in other survival games, where you spend most of your time traveling from town to town. In Duckside, going from one area to another is not tedious, and it allows players to admire the sights while they go to loot a highly populated area.

Combat Is Where Duckside Shines

Duckside’s combat is like no other, as players can use the game’s movement mechanics whenever they want. As a Duck, you can fly whenever you want (as long as you have enough stamina) to escape NPCs and enemy players or to ambush them and get the kill.

Duck fighting NPC in Duckside
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Fighting NPCs and enemy players is what makes this game unique and thrilling. Hovering above a clueless player while shooting a bow and arrow is one of the many strategies you can employ to get the drop on your enemies and quickly take them out.

Facing enemy players doesn’t get old, as every encounter is unique. Getting better weapons and items makes it better, as you can increase your firepower and healing abilities, making small fights into full-blown chases across the map.

Crafting Items and Building Your Nest

Duckside’s tutorial gets you to make a few items before you start your adventure, and luckily, crafting and building are easier than in other survival games. Making a bow and arrow will take less than five minutes as their requirements are easy to obtain. Crafting starting items in Duckside is easy and fast, so getting on your feet after dying against enemies won’t take long.

To craft better items, players must acquire blueprints and scarce items. After a couple of hours of gameplay, I gathered the needed resources to make my first gun, so it shouldn’t take new players too long to do the same.

Duckside - base building
Screenshot by GameSkinny

The building mechanics in Duckside are very similar to Rust, as the game features a wheel where you can choose what type of structure to make. Building your nest requires you to gather plenty of resources, so crafting tools are a must to be more efficient.

Fighting Enemies and NPCs

Previously, I stated Duckside’s strong suit was its combat, and it is, but the best experiences will come from PvP fights as the game’s AI is not in a good place yet. The game’s AI needs work, as players can work around NPC attacks.

When facing enemy AI, NPCs tend to walk straight toward you while shooting. One time, I killed four NPCs by peeking at them one by one while hiding in a corner and shooting them with my bow and arrow.

You may even find a couple of NPCs standing in an empty room, oblivious of your presence when, a few seconds ago, you were killing their comrades. That said, bumping into an NPC in an empty room will not be a weird event when playing Duckside.

Duck fighting against AI in Duckside
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Enemies will shoot you from a distance, and they will hit you if you are not careful, but flying away should be enough to get some distance between you and them. You will get the most out of Duckside from PvP encounters, as players are creative while they fly near you, shooting their bows and nail guns.

Most PvP encounters feel like a dogfight from War Thunder, as players can dive from above toward you to stop for a few seconds to shoot you while you loot or try to hit them midair.

Duckside Early Access — Final Thoughts

Playing Duckside was a fun and enticing experience until I encountered the unchallenging AI, confusing map, and empty areas. Luckily for survival fans, Duckside is in Early Access, so the game’s developers still have a chance to bring gamers their vision.

Code Provided by TinyBuild. Gameplay tested on PC.

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Carlos Hurtado
Carlos is a gaming writer for Gameskinny and a former freelance writer for Gamerant and Attack of the Fanboy, with many guides and news articles across both websites. When he is not camping on Insurgency: Sandstorm blaming his team, you can find him testing new weapon builds to beat sweaty players on Call of Duty: Warzone. Besides gaming, he likes to spend time with his family, watch old movies, and go to the beach.