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Guard Duty Review

By Rachel Dalton
Spoiler Warning: This Review contains spoilers for the second half of Guard Duty!

At first glance, Guard Duty seems to have a very basic storyline, pretty typical of the classic adventure games: Man goes on quest to find kidnapped princess. We’ve seen it before; it’s a tale as old as time. But Guard Duty, released May 2 by Sick Chicken Studios, offers a lot more that the straightforward plot we have come to expect from the fantasy and adventure genre.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. After an opening scene that will make more sense as you play through the game, we are introduced to our protagonist, a guard named Tondbert who has spent his birthday getting a little too drunk on his guard shift at the gates of the medieval town of Wrinklewood. In his drunken state, he lets in a cloaked figure who is obviously bad news, and wakes the next morning to find himself hungover, and missing his clothes.

Turns out, the cloaked figure (the apprentice of a mage), has come and captured the the king’s daughter, Princess Theremin. Tondbert journeys out past the limits of Wrinklewood to save the Princess and bring her home, encountering many mishaps along the way.

But here is where it gets interesting. The events in Tondbert’s time have lasting repercussions. Midway through the game; we are catapulted a thousand years into the future (to 2074), where we are now playing as Agent Starborn, who is part of a rebellion to save the human race from being wiped out by a power hungry corporation.It is at this point that our classic point and click fantasy game shift into the sci-fi realm - a wonderful contrast.

As far as the characters go, the only characters with any depth are the protagonists, Tondbert and Starborn. Tondbert is portrayed as dim-witted, but you can’t help but be charmed by him. It is clear that though he may not be the brightest crayon in the box, he means well, and will do whatever it takes to make amends for his mistake and bring the princess home. Starborn is a more refined character. An agent of a rebellion, he is more focused and in some ways, he kind of takes over the problem solving potion of the game. All of the other characters serve some sort of obvious purpose and are not fleshed out much past that.

I was a really huge fan of the style of this game. The pixelated style acts as a nice bridge between the two times - bringing the overall tone of “aged” graphics (history) and technology together to make the transition forward less jarring. It helps that there are hints of machines through the first few acts as well.

My favorite part of point and click adventure games tends to be the problem solving. I would wager that is what most people love about them. The puzzles that you solve in Guard Duty were almost too simple at times. I never had to combine items in my inventory - the puzzles were simple enough that they were typically a one step affair.

Another part of the game that I enjoyed was the way simple way that you interact with objects. You right click to examine items in your inventory, left click to pick it up, and click on the object you want it to interact with. In a recent episode of No Avatars Allowed, we discussed how annoying it is to have games that change up the control schemes, so that has been top of mind lately as a play through new games. I really enjoyed how the controls for Guard Duty were expected, but not boring. The ever evolving “To Do” list was a nice touch as well, always letting the player know what the next objective is.

Despite not having the level of challenging puzzles that I was hoping for, Guard Duty has been a delight to play. With tones of Legend of Zelda, it throws the player back into classic adventure games, while still offering something new and challenging in the contrast of the sci fi world presented in Act III. Guard Duty is a simple, relatively quick game. But like it’s protagonist, Tondbert, the simplicity is part of its charm.

Stories    >   Guard Duty Review
    5/12/2019 3:36 AM
    Posted by: Rdalton

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