The Return of the Ducks, a Windows Phone shooter game that has run a fowl

The Return of the Ducks is a Windows Phone shooter game that has you battling evil ducks who are dead set on stealing your pumpkins.

As you might guess, you are tasked with blasting these ducks out of the sky before they can abscond with your pumpkins. The game includes twenty levels of play, a wide assortment of guns and not too shabby graphics.

The game is available for low-memory devices and while The Return of the Ducks presents itself as a fun game to pass the time with, several performance issues holds this gaming title back.

Hunting ducks we are

The main menu for The Return of the Ducks has your typical options that include muting the sound/music, sharing the game, rating the game in the Store, visiting the in-game store, view the help screen and jump into game play.

However, before you get to the main menu you are greeted by the game's first two annoyances. First, is a full-page ad and second is an unpredictable load time. I completely understand the need for ad-support but as I've said before, it should not be done in a manner that takes away from the game or app. I just don't think a game should never open with a full-page ad. The load times can go smoothly, take forever or never end. I noticed in the Store reviews others experienced the same so it is likely a programming bug that needs to be stomped on.

Once you arrive at the main menu, the in-game store has a wide assortment of weapons that can be purchased or upgraded with the gold coins you earn during game play. The help screen is simply an overlay of your gaming controls.

The goal of the game is to shoot down evil ducks before they can steal your pumpkins. The pumpkin patch you are protecting is filled with three jack-o-lanterns and each gaming level has a set number of ducks who will pass across the screen and try to snatch up the pumpkins.

Game Play

Game controls are fairly simple in that you tap the screen where you want your gun to shoot and a reload button sits in the bottom left corner to keep your weapon freshly supplied with bullets. Across the top of the screen is your level number, bullet count and the number of ducks taken out.

When you first start playing The Return of the Ducks, your weapon will have a tremendously low ammo capacity (three rounds). Even upgrading to the assault rifle you will only have a capacity of five rounds. The ducks require multiple hits so this means you'll have to reload often.

You do earn a decent amount of coins when you successfully complete a level so visit the store often and upgrade to the Gatling gun (ten round capacity) or Scattergun (fifteen round capacity) as soon as you can to have a fighting chance.

Game play with The Return of the Ducks is a mixed bag. There were times the targeting system was spot on with your weapon shooting exactly where you were tapping. Then there were times that I could have driven my finger through the screen of my Windows Phone and not hit the broad side of a barn. It can get a little frustrating to tap dead center on a duck and still miss.

If the ducks steal all your pumpkins, you fail the level. Survive and or blast all the ducks out of the sky, you advance to the next level of play. Each level is progressively harder with faster, harder to kill ducks entering the picture.

Overall Impression

The Return of the Ducks is one of those Windows Phone games that has some potential but just isn't there yet. The graphics and animations were okay but the ducks just vanish when shot. It's not that I want a bloody splat on the screen but a cloud of feathers or something similar would not hurt.

While the game has potential the full-page ad, unpredictable load times and unreliable targeting during game play holds this game back. For some, to the point of frustration they immediately uninstall the game never to speak of it again.

If the developer can iron out the bugs, maybe beef up the graphics and increase the ammo capacity of the weapons The Return of the Ducks has a chance of being a successful Windows Phone game. The game does have a 4.5 Star rating in the Store, which we think, in its current state, is about two stars too high.

If you have taken The Return of the Ducks out for a spin, let us know in the comments what you think.

George Ponder

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.