duck sitting on sea shore in duckside
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Duckside Beta Impressions: A Memeable Survival Game

Come to the Duckside, we have seed cookies.

I got acQUACKinted with Duckside when my Managing Editor asked me if I wanted to preview a game. All I saw was a thumbnail of a duck holding an axe and keywords “DayZ” and “Rust” in the description and I was sold. Here are my Beta impressions.

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Rust, but With Ducks?

If I had to make this a four-word essay, it would absolutely be: Rust, but with ducks. And it’s legitimately everything you think it is when things are put in such perspective. You wake up on a random spot on a big island, and you use your mighty beak to chop down trees, mine various ores, and start crafting your base, weapons, ammo, armor, and food. And it’s actually absolutely functional, given that it’s in Beta.

The game is made in the Unreal Engine, has decent graphics, and runs well. I didn’t spot any game-breaking bugs apart from the game crashing the first time I ran it, but that’s kinda acceptable nowadays. However, given that it’s in Beta, there’s not a lot of content, but fun can still be had alone or with friends. You’re probably wondering “Why should I play Duckside over Rust?” so let’s go over that as well.

What Differentiates Duckside From Rust?

Well, you’re a duck. A really big and tall duck. Let’s not fool ourselves. This game was made for the memes. You can quack at other players, you can fly (which gives a completely new combat dimension for most players who haven’t touched some of the niche Battle Royale games with various traversal equipment), and the emotes the devs thought of with the duck models are hilarious. You also have a humble selection of hats you can wear. So yeah, you’ll probably be tempted to sport a top hat.

Ducks in Duckside
Screenshot by GameSkinny

The gameplay looks simpler and faster than Rust‘s in this stage of development, so you’ll probably have no problems adapting to Duckside if you’re an avid Rust fan. In fact, I found it completely ballistic (pun intended) that I managed to win my first “dogfight” up in the air. A fellow duck challenged me by shooting arrows at me. I fought back and knocked it out of the air. Can’t really beat the old-school Battlefield 1942 pilot experience as a Rust player, can you? But other than that, it’s the same old formula:

  1. Spawn naked (well, at least you have some feathers)
  2. Gather stuff
  3. Build and craft stuff
  4. Round 1, fight!

If you win the fight, proceed to Step 2; if you lose, proceed to Step 1. I found it hilarious that I could fly really, really high, where most enemies won’t look for danger, and then descend upon the unsuspecting enemies with an effective surprise attack.

One more proof that the devs of Duckside are into meme culture: The merchant is literally the Rich Raven.

The PvE and PvP aspects of the game are also pretty simple: Some drops with cool items show up, and you should get them before the rest of the server shows up. There are bases guarded by NPC soldiers that you can raid alone or in a group and treat yourself to nice items you find within them.

Duckside is currently free on Steam. Just click the green “Request Access” button to try it, and you’ll be notified if your application is approved. You should definitely know in 1-2 hours of gameplay if this game is for you, but if you loved to play Rust and/or DayZ (or still do), I fully recommend trying out this experience because it’s a decent spinoff that will certainly break you out of the patterned gameplay you’re probably experiencing in the above-mentioned games. I feel there could be a good future for this game, but some current negatives are:

  • Lack of content (this will be fixed with time probably).
  • Lack of thorough balancing (this should be improved as soon as possible).
  • Lack of serious anti-cheat (I avoid games that use Easy Anti Cheat).

On the other hand, if you’re not one for perpetually violent games where death may mean that you’ve lost everything you’ve gathered and crafted, check out my Lightyear Frontier review for a more cozy, comfy, and pacifistic experience.

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Nikola L
Nikola's been a member of GameSkinny since March 2024. He enjoys various game genres, but you'll most likely see him chasing quotas in Lethal Company with friends and grinding roguelike/roguelite games such as Vampire Survivors, Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor and Brotato. Loves 90s, driving, video making, and music.