Guard Duty

Guard Duty is a new comedy adventure game from Sick Chicken Studios.

Guard Duty is a new point and click adventure game coming to PC this spring. This is a genre of games very close to my heart, having played through games like Day Of The Tentacle, Full Throttle and The Monkey Island series in the 1990’s. These games first taught me about puzzles in games and demonstrated games too could have a long lasting, meaningful story packed full of action and humour.

I was lucky enough to get a preview of Guard Duty this week and have played through the first few hours. I also sat down with Nathan Hamley to chat about Guard Duty.

Story

Guard Duty revolves around our hero Tonbert and it’s his job to guard the gates of the castle in Wrinklewood. The game starts with a bang. As players, we’re taken to 2074 and there’s 10 seconds until the end of the world. The start makes you sit up and take notice for sure. We’re then taken back to medieval times and meet our Tonbert.

Tonbert’s approached while guarding the gates by a mysterious stranger. He’s tricked (and perhaps had one-too-many) and lets the stranger in through the gates. We’re then taken to the next morning with Tonbert asleep and he’s locked in his room set up in a tree outside the castle. Unfortunately his uniform’s been stolen and he has to get back his clothes back and find a way out of his locked room.

Tonbert asleep after a night out
Tonbert asleep after a night out

The game spans across two drastically different time periods – you’re either in the past or the future. Both time periods look beautiful. We spent most of our time in the past and it’s inspired by Terry Pratchett’s Discworld and Simon the Sorcerer. The future looks bleak, dark and like something out of Blade Runner. The contrasting settings are very cool indeed and we’re keen to find out how they join up and where the story takes us.

Gameplay

Guard Duty is a point and click adventure game however it’s streamlined somewhat. We’re provided with contextual clicks – the left mouse button on an object allows you to take an action and the right mouse button allows you to find out more about an item. It’s a great system.

Much of your time will be spent exploring the detailed world, finding clues and solving puzzles. There’s a fantastic amount of comedy threaded throughout the game which keeps you engaged and entertained that compliments the puzzles and exploration.

The Town Square
The Town Square

The player is equipped with The Infinity Pouch. This is your main inventory system. The game keeps track of your to-do list noting down current objectives and goal, so you always know what to do next. Guard Duty also features streamlined inventory and puzzle design. The game feels like a classic mid-90s point and click adventure game but without the complexity of action panels.

Graphics & audio

The graphics are beautifully hand-crafted pixel art and the world building is great. The pixel art look and feel is true to the era with Guard Duty created in 320×240 resolution and really makes it feel like something from the 90’s.

Wrinklewood
Wrinklewood

The audio is equally detailed and you can see the passion the development team have for the genre. There’s over 30 unique pieces and 6000 lines of dialogue in the game.

This all adds up to a wonderfully crafted world that feels unique and immersive – it’s bound to draw you in and keep you coming back for more.

First impressions

Guard Duty is a charming adventure game and we like what we’ve played so far. The graphics and audio really take me back to the 90’s however the controls have been streamlined to make the game much less hassle. The contextual actions make the game much easier to control so you can focus on the story and not worry too much about your inventory. The puzzles are challenging but engaging and exploring the world feels rewarding.

There’s a nostalgic feel to the game for me, but will welcome in new players to the genre with it’s engaging story and split timeline. I’m looking forward to getting further into the game to find out how the timelines meet and characters interact with each other.

You can clearly see the hard work and passion for games gone into the design and gameplay. It’s come together fantastically well and is bound to provide you hours of entertainment.

Agent Starborn
Agent Starborn

Check out the trailer for Guard Duty or find out more about Sick Chicken Studios.

Guard Duty is released on PC via Steam , Mac and Linux this spring. I’ll be back with a full review once the game has been released.

[Image source: Sick Chicken Studios]

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