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Qwak

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Game Reviewed: Qwak
Publisher: Jamie Woodhouse
Developer: Jamie Woodhouse
Platform: PC/Mac
Category: Arcade/Platformer
ESRB Rating: E
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Game Description:

In 1989, Qwak was developed by Jamie Woodhouse and released for the BBC Micro and Acorn Electron. Yeah, I have never heard of those systems either. But Qwak, which was praised upon its release, has stood the test of time, being re-released a couple years later and still living on (with a new, vibrant look) the computer (as well as 300 Game Boy Advance cartridges).

The game is reminiscent of some of the classic platformers: the game that most strongly came to my mind was Bubble Bobble. But Qwak is no rip-off: it is a rather original and entertaining platformer. The player is given a 2-dimensional area full of fruit, gems, keys, and baddies. There is a closed door somewhere in the level, and the player controls a cutely animated duck to gather all the necessary items to open the door and get through it before spikes start falling from the ceiling, while getting as many points as possible along the way by collecting fruit and gems. Making the task a bit harder are the baddies: little monsters that move in different patterns and will kill you if you come into contact with them. Your weapons are eggs that you can hurl at them. Thankfully, there are also many different power-ups scattered across each level: some give you armor, allowing you to be hit without dying, some allow you to use the jump like a jetpack and glide around the level, and others delay the falling spikes.

A great feature is the option for co-op play. In between every level, a second player can join in, so two players can control two ducks using opposite sides of the keyboard. This makes for a very fun experience with a friend, expanding the game that may get you addicted even by yourself.

In addition to the 80 levels in the main game, there is a level editor that allows you to create your own stages. It is a bit complex, but the website offers a full tutorial, and the editor gives you full control over the level you are creating, down to the look and the background. This adds a lot of fun to the game, essentially allowing you to make your own game based on Qwak’s gameplay.

What Parents Need to Know

Violence

As a vibrant, cartoony duck, you chuck bouncing eggs at cute monsters, which simply fade away.

Language

There is no objectionable language in Qwak.

Sexual Content

There is no sexual content in Qwak.

Spiritual Content

Various potions have different effects and bonuses, such as giving you armor, allowing one super jump, or making you invincible for a short period of time. However, it is never actually said that these potions are magic.

A Child’s Perspective

Since the only comments I could get from young girls consisted only of how cute the duck was, I asked 11-year old Jake to play a bit of the game and tell me what he thought. He went through the tutorial and played a ways into the main game as well. He gave me a glowing review, saying it was addicting and really fun to play with two people. He particularly had fun dodging the spikes once they started falling, and he also liked flying around with the blue jetpack potion. He said that he loved the game and that “There was practically nothing that I didn’t like about the game.”

Reviewers Thoughts

Qwak is a very enjoyable game. From the super cute visuals to the often strategic, sometimes frantic gameplay, it is a blast to play. The controls are simple enough that it does not take a hardcore gamer to successfully play the game. If you are looking for a fun platformer in the spirit of the classics, or if you simply want a fun way to pass the time, Qwak could very well be your answer, no matter what your age.



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