Guard Duty (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Luke Hemming 28.05.2020

Review for Guard Duty on Nintendo Switch

In the heyday of point-and-click adventures, LucasArts ruled the virtual roost with classics like Day of the Tentacle and Monkey Island, until the gaming industry began to move away from the relaxed play-style of these gems, and headed more towards the more flashy fast titles that would showcase new consoles and technology. With a recent resurgence in indie titles leaning heavily into nostalgia on the Switch store, Guard Duty aims to recapture, literally in some places, the magic of the past.

For all the classics previously mentioned, some of the greatest point-and-clicks rooted for the underdog, the misunderstood and underestimated layabout, reluctantly dragged into a world-saving scenario, and bumbling through to succeed. For this reviewer no game captured this better than the 1995 release, Discworld. Hours were lost guiding useless Magician Rincewind through increasingly bizarre scenarios, and even more bizarre solutions.

It's apparent from the outset that, at least one of the developers at Sick Chicken Studios felt the same, and has delivered the perfect love letter as well as a great game in its own right. Anyone browsing screenshots on the Ninty Store, and taking a punt will, most likely be baffled by the opening: the year 2074 shows a grim dystopian future seconds before destruction, a far cry from the medieval setting littering all promotional media. Quickly flicking back to the past, players are introduced to protagonist and lager lout Tondbert, late for a meeting with the king and suffering drink-induced memory and clothes loss.

Screenshot for Guard Duty on Nintendo Switch

From the outset, thinking outside the box is required to ensure that progression can be made not just in the story, but out of Tondberts loft. Thinking outside of the box is the way forward here, but unlike particularly cruel puzzles of games past, Guard Duty employs a simple system to lead players by the hand, and make it a lot more accessible for any new to the genre, but also in a way where not everything is spelled out to the point where it becomes a point by numbers. Main objectives are jotted into Tondberts notebook at regular intervals, and are easily accessed via a quick button nudge. With this helpful hint system, it's always easy to have a rough idea of where to go and what to do.

What does deserve the most recognition is the amount of effort put into the writing of each character, whether it's a supporting NPC, or Tondbert himself. All characters burst with personality and humour, up there with any LucasArts effort of their time. All characters in the kingdom also have full voice-acting, and it's a credit to the team that the time was taken to add all of this on a small indie title.

Screenshot for Guard Duty on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Picking up Guard Duty is going to be massively dependent on whether you were around in the heyday of classic point-and-click adventures, or holding onto some morbid fascination for this type of puzzle-filled journey. This a really enjoyable experience that does require that certain way of '90s thinking to complete. What would look like a pocketful of junk, quickly becomes a series of intricate contraptions in the mind of a seasoned adventurer. Length-wise this is short and sweet, if you know what you are doing, but could easily become much longer without proper guidance. Savour it, get lost in the humour and characterisation of each of the common folk, and enjoy a great, nostalgic experience... then petition for another Discworld when you complete it.

Developer

Sick Chicken Studios

Publisher

Ratalaika Games

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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