Drop those g’s, because it’s time to go huntin’ and fishin’. Duck Dynasty: Battle of the Beards, a best-selling app based on the A&E reality series, is a surprisingly fun collection of rapid-fire minigames in the style of Warioware. This game exceeded our modest expectations, which were set a bit low due to previous TV tie-in apps, and the appearance of frog leg pie and squirrel stew on the menu.
Duck Dynasty follows the Robertsons, a family of outdoorsy types in rural Louisiana, where their favorite activities revolve around acquiring and consuming food– especially the kind they can kill themselves. In the game, you’ll have to flick to feed them hot peppers and donuts, draw a fishing line to snag trout, and tap to shoot ducks, doves, deer, and squirrels.
Each minigame gives you only a few seconds on the clock and very specific parameters, like targeting just the bucks while avoiding the does. You’ll also occasionally help the Robertson family assemble and ship duck calls, or blow up the occasional hunting blind by touching a lit match to a fuse.
These activities fly by at a breakneck pace, awarding you with coins and amusing cutscenes featuring characters from the show. With a simple soundbite, they’ll confirm your redneck credentials. If you’re too slow or inaccurate, you’ll have to shave one of three beards (which stand in for lives)– a substantial humiliation ‘round these parts.
Duck Dynasty features impressive graphics for such a backwoods game. The characters are well-rendered, with great facial animation when they talk to the player. You can also customize your own character, who becomes progressively more country the longer you play the game. Leveling up will unlock new facial hair and camouflage options, transforming you from a suited yuppie into a full-on redneck.
Although the 20 or so minigames are often quite clever, there aren’t enough of them to keep our interest for even the length of one episode of the show. You’ll quickly see these scenes repeat, and playing them multiple times with stricter time limits becomes stale.
The unlockable extras that are meant to encourage replayability– new outfits for your character, and talking figures from the show– just don’t provide much entertainment value on their own. We would have preferred to see a full-fledged duck or deer hunting mode, which could bring back NES Zapper nostalgia or compete directly with Deer Hunter on the App Store.
Duck Dynasty is worth a dollar just for the amusing animation and occasional gross-out humor, like eating raccoon pellets. The minigames are clever, but lack long-term value. With additional content and bonus modes, Duck Dynasty could become more than just an entertaining diversion you play during commercial breaks.