Guard Duty Review

Ever wondered what would happen if a fantasy medieval setting combined with a sci-fi Blade Runner type setting? We now finally know thanks to Guard Duty, a new adventure game where you need to save the princess and then THE WORLD!

Story

The story starts in 2074 with a literal bang. Some type of monster and our hero are squaring off in a stand-of. Things don’t exactly go to plan to say the least and we are then transported 1000 years earlier to the small town of Wrinklewood (Population 52). We meet our “hero” Tondbert, half halfling, half human, who is guarding the town gates. It is his birthday and he has had a little bit too much to drink. A mysterious cloaked figure appears (never a good sign) and, in your drunkenness, you open the gate to let him in. Clearly Tondbert isn’t the smartest of guards. In fact the blind watchman of Monkey Island would make a better guard! The next day it’s discovered the princess has gone missing! With the king uncontrollably upset and none of the other guards wanting to stick their necks out, it is up to Tondbert to save her (and possibly win her affections ion the process). But first you need to find a cure for those nasty bee stings on your face and find your missing armour.

As for the characters, Tondbert is dimwitted but endearing who has his heart in the right place and is, all things considered, the bravest person in the town. You will also meet other guards who laugh at your expense, two travelling salesmen, a pub owner and knights well past their prime. The first two thirds is mostly humourers and light-hearted and while there are relatively few laugh out loud moments, I did chuckle a few times and had a smile all the way through this section. One thing I would have preferred however, is slightly less dialogue as Tondbert does ask each character for their backstory, The Longest Journey style. Sometimes less is more and while these dialogue options are optional, there may have been a better way to do this. Once we reach the sci-fi setting the tone changes dramatically (and rather abruptly) as the game becomes a lot more serious. Here we play as Agent Starborn, who looks and sounds like Solid Snake’s missing brother, raspy voice and all. He even has a similar Comms device which allows him to speak remotely with his team. While this is done well I personally think it would have been better not to try and imitate Metal Gear Solid so much and instead try something a little bit more unique. I also would have liked a little bit more character development in this section and a little bit less exposition but the story remains interesting and thankfully has a satisfying and complete ending.

Gameplay

This is a standard point & click adventure and is very easy to play. You can exit a scene immediately by double clicking but even so it doesn’t take very long for the main character to get to the next scene. When you hover over the screen the cursor changes to green when you find an interactive hotspot and this mostly removes pixel hunting. The puzzles are generally on the easy side. They usually involve using objects with people or your surroundings, interacting with other characters or exploring the surrounding area. There was one very nice puzzle where you needed to remove a giant spider and the solution was logical and required just the right amount of thought. You will also need to distract other characters and open some doors but none of the puzzles should be too taxing for experienced adventure game players and even newbies should be able to get through this game without much difficulty. No logic puzzles here! You also have a checklist to help you keep track of the objectives..In the sci-fi section the puzzles get easier as you automatically use items that you collect which is a bit of a shame but by no means should ruin your enjoyment of the game. That said, those looking for a real challenge may be disappointed but the story should keep you interested at least.

Sound

This game features full voice acting which is of a high quality throughout. The game’s developer, Nathan Hamley provides the voice for the two main protagonists and a host of other characters in the game. While it’s obvious some of the characters have the same voice he does a fine job and has a real talent for voice work as do the rest of the actors.

The music is peaceful and melodious in the medieval setting but becomes a lot more dramatic and techno sounding in the sci-fi setting. This too was very professional and really added to the game.

Graphics

This game features beautiful 2d pixel art with some great animations to boot. At first glance it looks similar to Discworld and Simon the Sorceror but the game looks just different enough to have its own identity and doesn’t have to completely rely on the “nostalgia” factor to get the most of this game. The locations are detailed so you should have no problem finding objects to interact with here.

Conclusion

This game took me around 8 hours to play but in those 8 hours I very rarely got stuck on any of the puzzles. There was no extra padding and no bugs that I found.

While some of the dialogue could have been shortened and the sci-fi setting could have been longer and less like Metal Gear Solid, there is still a lot to enjoy with this game. A unique story with a satisfying ending, some interesting characters, beautiful and detailed 2d pixel art and high quality voice acting this is certainly a game I can recommend to anyone looking for a good adventure game.

Star Rating