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DuckTales Remastered review: Disney's best platformer pogos onto Windows Phone and Windows 8

Disney's Duck Tales was a hugely popular animated television show in the late eighties and early nineties, spawning a theatrical film and a spin-off series. Based on pulp-style comics from the 1950s, the show revolved around the adventures of the world's richest duck Scrooge McDuck and his nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie.

DuckTales' greatest legacy is probably the videogame of the same name. Developed by Capcom using the Mega Man engine and released on the NES and GameBoy, DuckTales remains one of the most beloved 8-bit platformers of its time. In 2013, developer WarForward teamed up with Capcom and Disney Interactive to remake the game on modern consoles and PCs as DuckTales: Remastered.

At last, DuckTales Remastered has made its way to Windows Phone and Windows 8. Does it retain the magic of the Xbox 360 version, let alone the original NES game? Read on to find out!

Bringing DuckTales back to life

The original DuckTales game had a light narrative bought to life through relatively minimal on-screen text. Remastered goes above and beyond the call of duty in updating the story. The entire tale has been rewritten and expanded to the point where it feels like an episode of the show.

An impressive array of series characters show up, including Scrooge's nephews, Mrs. Beakley and her niece Webby, Duckworth the Butler, Launchpad McQuack the pilot, Gyro the inventor, Fenton the annoying guy who turns into Gizmoduck, and Bubba the caveduck. Flinthart Glomgold, Magica De Spell, and the Beagle Boys turn up as villains.

All of those characters are fully voiced, with most played by their original actors – including Alan Young as protagonist Scrooge McDuck. Roles belonging to deceased actors were recast, including Mrs. Beakley, Flinthart Glomgold, Gyro, and Fenton. Flinthart's new voice turns in a fantastic performance, whereas Fenton's voice makes him even more annoying than he's supposed to be.

The story still comes to life via in-game sprites rather than separate cinematic sequences. The characters all animate and emote, but unfortunately their mouths don't move. Hey, at least they have voices!

Story scenes can be skipped. Alternately, the Quick cinematics option skips any previously viewed sequence automatically.

Quest for treasure

DuckTales Remastered opens with an all-new tutorial level that sets Scrooge's adventure in motion. The Beagle Boys (a gang of habitual felons) attack Scrooge's Money Bin, a gigantic vault that protects his riches.

Scrooge takes it upon himself to storm the vault, eject the intruders, and rescue his nephews. In doing so, he discovers a treasure map hidden in the painting the Beagle Boys were after. Looks like we have an adventure on our hands!

Now Scrooge finds himself his Money Bin office, the game's hub area. From here players can select levels, purchase unlockable gallery items, and even go for a swim in the Money Bin!

The five original levels (African Mines, The Amazon, The Himalayas, Transylvania, and the Moon, all revamped and expanded) can be played in any order. Each one functions like a mini-episode of the show. They culminate in some truly exciting boss battles, which again are vastly improved over those of the original.

After knocking out the five levels and collecting their treasures, Remastered has a brand new final level: Mount Vesuvius. Here Scrooge teams up with an old adversary, trading clever barbs while navigating the dangerous lava-filled environment. It's a challenging and thrilled-filled conclusion, far better than the NES game's repeated Transylvania finale.

Unlike the original, DuckTales Remastered has only a single ending. But it will bring a smile to the faces of fans of the show – especially when the lyrical theme song plays during the end credits.

That's a cane, not a shovel

Although it used the Mega Man engine, DuckTales played quite unlike other games of its time. Scrooge McDuck doesn't blast baddies with a gun. Instead, he hops on them with his cane.

The pogo attack is easier than ever to perform in Remastered. Simply jump and tap the cane button to pogo onto enemies' heads, damaging them. Pogoing also happens to allow Scrooge to bounce higher and avoid damage from spikes on the ground, so players will often pogo around all over the place. Recent Xbox One release Shovel Knight borrowed its shovel pogo mechanic from DuckTales.

Hunting for treasure proves just as enjoyable as bouncing around on Scrooge's cane. Each level contains numerous chests filled with valuable gems to collect. Oftentimes, moving past certain areas will cause invisible gems and/or chests to appear as well. The money collected from each level can be spent on items in the Gallery.

Most levels feature unique sequences to break up the platforming. Scrooge gets to ride in mine carts, hang from a rope as Launchpad flies a helicopter, and more. WayForward also added a convenient map screen (accessible via the pause menu) to make navigating the levels easier.

Unlockables

Having beaten the game, players can revisit all seven stages at will. You can also switch the soundtrack to the original 8-bit chiptunes, which still sound fantastic all these years later. Everybody loves the moon level's theme!

As mentioned earlier, money collected from each level can be spent on items in the Gallery. Most are various forms of concept art. But buy enough stuff in the gallery and you'll be able to unlock songs from the game and even concept art from the actual DuckTales TV show. It will take about two playthroughs to afford all the cool stuff.

Windows Phone version

Windows Phone, Windows 8, Steam, and Xbox 360 version differences

DuckTales Remastered is available as a universal purchase for Windows Phone and Windows 8, on Steam, Xbox 360, and other consoles.

  • The Windows 8 version runs flawlessly on the original Surface Pro. The Windows Phone version initially suffered from frame rate issues on the Lumia 1520, but I THINK those were fixed with a recent update.
  • The Windows Phone and Windows 8 versions both offer surprisingly good touch screen controls. The game is perfectly playable with touch, especially on Easy difficulty.
  • Windows 8 and Steam both support Xbox controllers, which is the best way to play.
  • The Steam version offers Steam Achievements and cloud saves, which you won't get from the Windows Phone or Windows 8 versions.
  • Two Xbox 360 versions exist: a retail release with 1,000 Gamerscore and an XBLA game with 400 Gamerscore.

Overall Impression

DuckTales Remastered easily surpasses the NES game, adding new levels, a fun story with charming voice acting, and plenty of new secrets and extras. It's a pitch-perfect remaster of a platforming classic. Anyone who has ever watched the cartoon or played the original game will be overjoyed with the new game.

Like Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (another remastered Disney platformer), DuckTales Remastered rings up at $9.99 on Windows Phone and Windows 8. It's a universal purchase, so buying one gets you the other. The price is very fair given the high quality of the game and lack of in-app purchases. Plus it's five bucks less than the Steam and XBLA versions to boot.

Additional Resources:

  • DuckTales Remastered – Windows PC – $14.99 – Steam Link
  • DuckTales Remastered – Xbox 360 – $14.99 – Xbox LinkAmazon Link (opens in new tab)

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

51 Comments
  • Its support 512 RAM by the way.
  • Twas my favorite cartoon and still is.
  • Not true universal as 360 buyers will have to pay for it again.
  • Xbox 360 is a different ecosystem than the Windows Store. That's just the breaks.
  • Not true universal as Atari buyers will have to pay for it again.
  • Not true universal as ZX Spectrum buyers will have to pay for it again.
  • Naaaa, it'll get archived on WoS at some point, I'll get it from there!!! :D
  • not true universal as ios and android users will have to buy it again
  • Not universal as you have to pay for your toaster and microwave oven separately /s
    I thought this game includes duck dogers and that pig when I saw title :P
  • Expensive. Nothing else i can say but expensive.
  • If you had a vault like scrooge, you wouldn't care.
  • $10 is a decent price IMO
  • $10 game and no Xbox achievements for WP !
  • Totally
  • £7.69 whoa! I'm out!
  • Too expensive.... One can get a domain name for this price..
  • they can also buy a pizza at this prize... also maybe 2 beers... too expensive really :P
  • I always preferred Quackshot and Castle of Illusion to Duck Tales.
  • They were certainly fancier, but the Remastered version has them beat thanks to all the extra stuff and production values IMO.
  • I unfortunately have such a huge backlog of games that I haven't tried the remake of Castle or this yet - making my judgement purely on nostalgia from the originals.  Review of the Castle of Illustion remaster incoming?  ;)
  • Duck Tales. WHOOO OOO
  • I thought it was WHOO 'H'OO ;)
  • Does it support MOGA?
  • Thanks for including the difference between the versions.  Now that I use a Surface 3, the Steam version is decent option.  When windows 10 universal apps start coming, it will become tough deciding between Windows 10 vs. Steam versions - especially if universal apps include an Xbox One version of the game.
  • Yeah, the Steam version is the one to get if you're playing on a PC. But proper universal Windows 10 games with Xbox One support would probably get my money over Steam as well.
  • I broke down and spent the $10 on this title. I came away so impressed that I also decided to purchase another Disney title called "Castle of Illusions", which is equally as well-made and well worth the price. I feel like Disney would be better served offering a trial and letting users see just how good these mobile games are. These are the first platform games on a mobile device where the touch controls feel just right. Both work flawless on the Lumia 1520.
  • Love or hate Disney, it's doing some great work on mobile
  • Have you tried Duck Tales or Castle of Illusions on a Windows 10 PC by any chance? I can't get Duck Tales to get past the loading screen on multiple PCs. It runs fine on the latest Windows 10 Mobile Build - Want to get Castle of Illusions too, but it would need to support Windows 10.
  • Steam has cheevos, but Windows, and WP (made by Microsoft, which also makes Xbox) does not. Strange, yet, I'm used to it. *sigh*...
  • I thought the price of this was totally fair and worth it. I prefer to pay a realistic price for games than end up with a whole raft of freemium games that end up costing more in the long run unless you coast through them not paying for anything
  • Hopefully there will be Winodws 10 for Phone hardware soon that can take an Xbox controller connection.
  • Woo Ducktales! I remember I finish it as a kid~ those were the nice days.
  • Heh, this amazing review makes me want to play it even more, and it only makes it worse that I bought the game as soon as it picked up 512MB RAM support, yet I still can't get past the loading screen on my 630 :'( Anyone else facing the same issue? (I tried uninstalling and re-installing)
  • $9.99?  That is $9.99 more than a lot of loyal "Windows Fans" will want to pay for anything.  I'll pick this up because it looks fun, DuckTales is a classic, and it's less than a lunch with coworkers at a local restaurant but will last a bit longer.
  • There are a lot of people that complain that an app is $0.99... some complain that free sofware has ads, or IAP... This is the internet, someone will always complain.
  • Well I'm buying it for my desktop in the first place, getting it for my phone too is just a plus. If it was for phone only, then I'd agree
  • The music from The Moon is so good, and such a memorable track
  • I couldn't get the game to run properly on my Stream 7.  Crashed left and right, so I uninstalled it.
  • Any idea how this game would perform on a HP Stream 7 and a Lumia 925?
  • Did you see my post directly above yours?
  • I would pay 3€ for the WP version, final offer disney :P
  • The absense of cloud saves and achieves on Windows XBL games is baffling.  I have Castle of Illusions and we can't resume our games on another device.  Isn't this standard fare nowadays?
  • Loved this new version when I played it on PS3. They did an amazing job with the visuals.
  • Awesome! My son likes this game on 360, though I only ever downloaded him the demo for some reason. I'll getting it universal, so he can play on tablet, phone and laptop w/ controller. He'll appreciate this. And $5 cheaper than X360 digital, so I can dig. Honestly, I'll probably end up playing it too. It's converted well to the new gen tech.
  • I think $ 9,99 is quite a lot of money. Of course in the Netherlands that translates to € 9,89...yeah right! Anyway...I see a lot of people complaining about the price. But is it worth the price?
  • Luckily there's a detailed review that answers just that question. But in short, yes.
  • Yes, it does look like a fun game. So no more in app purchases? And by the way: thanks for the review! Always fun to see video reviews like these.  
  • Too bad its 2.5D crap. Have the game, but the original NES version looks so much better
  • That's a really weird thing to say.
  • It's awesome, I love having to uninstall/reinstall everytime just to play it!! Alas, Disney has already got my money ($10) & this is what I am left with. Have no choice, must get my moneys worth!!!!!
  • Nope. it's not the best. Mickey mouse III Yuume fuusen (also known as mickey mouse dream balloon) is.