Ducktales Remastered PS3 review – Pretty but punishing platformer lays the quackdown

Ducktales Remastered PS3 review

Back in the late ’80s, my grandparents taped every episode of Ducktales until I had a VHS collection of miserly mallard stories that put Ritz (remember them?) to shame. Basically, I heart Scrooge McDuck. And being a tight-arsed Glaswegian grump, I expected Mr McDee’s retro platformer to be a bit of a meanie… but hell, not this mean.

Ducktales Remastered PS3 review

A remake of the 1989 NES classic, Ducktales Remastered subscribes to the sort of nihilistic 8-bit thinking that deemed save points an unnecessary luxury. Play on normal difficulty and you’re given a meagre three lives per level – with which to survive six utterly nails stages filled with fiendishly tricksy enemies, bosses that are total rotters and precarious jumps that require the steady nerves usually reserved for the most complex cardiovascular surgery.

Ducktales Remastered PS3 reviewNo doubt the default difficulty setting will prove polarising, especially as so much of the game is built on repetition. The structure of stages always follows roughly the same template. McPenny-Pincher navigates the most challenging nooks and crannies of a level for a multitude of scattered items – be it plane parts in the Himalayas or bits of GizmoDuck’s armour hidden on the Moon. Then it’s a matter of dying a whole bunch until you’ve built up the requisite muscle memory to nab all these hard-to-reach trinkets, and carking it another few times learning face-palmingly tricky boss patterns.

The game may be less giving than Scrooge at Christmas, but at least the horrific difficulty is offset by sumptuous art. Deploying a 2.5D style, the chunky polygonal backgrounds are complemented by cartoon sprites that look like they’ve been torn straight out of Uncle Walt’s sketchbook. This has clearly been a labour of some love for Wayforward, with overall presentation unerringly faithful to the TV series. Despite the show being off the air for over two decades, the developer has somehow managed to reunite the original voice cast, including McDuck’s 93-year-old actor Alan Young.

No doubt the default difficulty setting
will prove polarising, especially as so
much of the game is built on repetition

It’s also a tremendously rewarding game when you eventually overcome its savage save system. Even though Ducktales made me call it a very naughty name somewhere between my 14-17th failed run on its Amazon stage (hint: replace the ‘d’ with a letter between ‘e’ and ‘g’), the moment I finally duffed up an infuriating Incan statue boss was genuinely thrilling.

Based on the dexterity of your digits, difficulty is a subjective matter. What’s not up for discussion is the care that has gone into this remake. Although Scrooge’s pogo-stick jump is a tad unresponsive, this is a handsome, crisp platformer that occasionally makes me happier than a duck doing backstroke in a giant bin full of bullion. Well, in-between doing all the swears. Life is like a hurricane in this frenzied, fierce platformer. If you can stomach the challenge, this proves to be a mighty duck that spins a fine tale, woo-oo.

Our Score

Score: 7