Munchkin: Quacked Quest, from developer Asmodee Digital, is the first adaptation of the classic card game that has spawned many variations and expansions over the years, all involving co-op and competitive action with friends. Surprisingly, the video game does not attempt to replicate the mechanics of its source material, and instead is a dungeon crawling action game rather than a card game. Despite being called Munchkin: Quacked Quest, there is little about the game that reminds players of the great card game and is, at best, a mediocre way to pass the time.
There is no story to speak of in Munchkin: Quacked Quest. Instead, up to four players dive into dungeons to compete in a series of mini-games, earning gold and winning challenges to level up and with modifiers to make each game unique. At the end of the session, which can be set from a few short minutes to up to an hour, the highest-level player wins.
In the lobby area, players can change their race, which offer different amounts of health and character speed. When everyone is ready, players to jump into the action.
Gameplay Marred By Mediocrity
For a game that relies completely on providing an engaging action experience for up to four players on screen at once, the gameplay feels generic and the controls are sloppy. Players begin with a base attack, block, and charge to push back friend and foe alike. Each map will have an objective, such as pushing opponents into a pit, being the first to take hold of a duck, or landing the last hit on a larger opponent that resembles a boss. Death is temporary and the announcer repeats the same catchphrases and lines over and over.
Fortunately, there are several different types of weapons and armor that can be picked up, providing a broad range of abilities to use. For example, the default shield can be dropped and exchanged for a crossbow, letting players attack from afar while still retaining their sword for up close attacks. Unfortunately, swapping loot is impractical during the hectic scrambles of each challenge.
So Much Loot, So Awkward To Pick Up
The game promises lots of loot to help fight, but picking up anything in the middle of a dungeon is awkward, to put it lightly. Smashing a treasure chest in the middle of a challenge reveals a number of items that are unidentified, appearing like cards from the Munchkin game, and players need to step over and pause to see what the item is. If it is an upgrade, they must then take a moment for the pickup bar to fill. This means that a player needs to ignore the objective, enemies, and other players while slowly stepping between loot cards, deciding which is best, and then change items.
In practice, this means that most items are ignored in favor of working to complete the map objective, or being interrupted by other players who see you trying to pick up an upgrade. The look system would work much better if it could be done before or after a challenge, as opposed to right in the middle, and that would be a real incentive to go after new loot.
Missing Key Elements Of Cooperation
The Munchkin card game has players cooperating as a key feature of its gameplay, marked equally as important by betrayal at the most opportune moments. This feature is absent in Munchkin: Quacked Quest. Cooperative action in the card game is often necessary to take down big enemies, but in this video game, the same is not true. In fact, most challenges require a focus on individual action. Even if trying to play cooperatively, players will still find themselves hitting allies with their weapons.
No Online Multiplayer Is A Complete Deal breaker
With so many fantastic online multiplayer games for the Nintendo Switch, Munchkin: Quacked Quest shoots itself in the foot by only allowing for local play. At least the PC port benefits from Steam’s new Remote Play feature, but on the Switch, its replay value is virtually zero unless one invites friends over to play a mediocre dungeon crawler. At least with random players online there could have been some merit to Munchkin: Quacked Quest, but as it stands, there is nothing of the sort.
Is It Really Munchkin? Depends On Who You Ask
As a card game beloved by fans for years, Munchkin has been a title that players have wanted to see adapted for digital play for years. Now, technically, players have the option of a Munchkin game, but at its core, this would not have been what players imagined. While the game is enjoyable in short bursts with groups of friends, its single-player content with bots is unsatisfying, and trying to connect this to classic Munchkin feels disingenuous.
The problem with creating a dungeon crawler game and calling it Munchkin is that there is too little connecting to the source material. They are both “dungeon crawlers” in a manner of speaking, but Munchkin: Quaked Quest feels more like a cartoonish Gauntlet Legends that forces players to duke it out in a series of mini-games. Diehard fans of Munchkin will perhaps appreciate the card art that modifies gameplay, but most people will hardly notice it at all.
For everyone else, it is best to forget this game was released and hope that a better digital adaptation of the card game is developed in the future. This might be called Munchkin: Quacked Quest, but it is not fooling anyone.