Guard Duty by Sick Chicken Studios
Guard Duty is a traditional point-and-click adventure built to replicate the style of classic ’90s examples of the genre, like the popular Monkey Island games. With a story spanning two periods in time, including both fantasy and sci-fi settings, extensive voice acting and a sweeping comedy adventure, Guard Duty is a throwback to the golden days of point-and-click gaming.
Throwbacks and Flashbacks
The story of Guard Duty opens with a dramatic cut-scene showing an apocalyptic sci-fi scenario where seemingly demonic forces bring about the destruction of the Earth. The narrative takes a sudden turn, as we’re whisked a thousand years into the past where Tondbert, a guardsman, spends the night getting drunk and allows a mysterious, hooded man into the city.
From here, an epic story spanning two eras and numerous comic hi-jinks ensue.
The comedy at play in Guard Duty is, for the most part, gentle and disarming, with just the occasional nod to modern-day issues.
Early difficulties faced by poor Tondbert include having to find his scattered uniform after his wayward night of drinking and being stung so thoroughly by bees that the first order of business for the game is to find an appropriate remedy to the stings in order to be able to adequately communicate.
The puzzles themselves are all relatively light, and challenge isn’t the order of the day here. This is more of a “sit back and enjoy the ride” kind of adventure, as I didn’t find many of the tasks particularly tricky.
That being said, difficulty isn’t a necessity in all genres, and simply enjoying the writing, art and voice acting here is enough to provide a relaxing time.
The game also comes with a useful journal system that ensures that the current objectives are always clear.
Speaking of the voice acting, no one will be winning any Oscars here, but the work that has been done is delightfully over-the-top and characterful, with rustic villagers and gruff heroes alike being portrayed with obvious enthusiasm.
Tondbert, in particular, can be very amusing, and it often feels as if his voice actor is channeling Stephen Merchant’s Wheatley from Portal 2.
The voice work is backed up by fantastic and detailed pixel art coupled with a provisionally satisfying MIDI score, a blend of futuristic action with melancholic orchestra that all sounds like it was run through an Amiga soundboard.
The writing itself manages to create an engaging world with the occasional moment of giggle-worthy humor. I particularly enjoyed the moment when DLC, a “death liability contract” was required to leave Tondbert’s city and explore more of the world.
Guard Duty is a lovingly crafted point-and-click adventure that manages to evoke the atmosphere and humor of ’90s titles of the genre. The two separate settings make for an excellent way of shaking things up, and while Sick Chicken Studios don’t do much more to innovate with Guard Duty, they have nonetheless created a superb adventure game.
This isn’t the longest experience out there, but what is here is endearing and clearly created with passion; fans of point-and-click adventures should certainly give this a look.
Guard Duty is available via Steam.
Watch the official trailer for Guard Duty below: