The Munchkin card game has been around since the turn of the millennium and became instantly popular by poking fun at more traditional tabletop role-playing games. In the card game, players start at level 1 and through traversing dungeons, collecting loot and defeating monsters, must level up to 10 and be declared the winner. Munchkin: Quacked Quest attempts to recreate this in a multiplayer dungeon crawling experience, with varying results.
Quacked Quest is a top-down dungeon crawler with up to 4 players all competing together for the highest level. Levelling up isn’t done through traditional methods of collecting EXP but rather from collecting money through killing enemies and looting chests. Chests contain weapons and outfits that you can equip or sell on for a pretty penny. Each room also has an objective to complete, and the winner is gifted a level. These objectives can be to collect the most ducks in a room – hence the game title – by killing the most enemies or throwing the most objects into the pits. Despite each level in the dungeon being procedurally generated, these are the only real objectives you will have to face; all become repetitive rather quickly.
But first, the tutorial. Here you will learn some of the ropes, but by no means all the basics. Things like the presence of a second weapon – all players start off with a shield as a secondary weapon – and ranged attacks are confusingly omitted from this opening guide, leaving the player to figure that out for themselves.
The tutorial does do a good job of introducing the random elements however. Each game of Quacked Quest starts with four random cards presented as: modifiers which affect the gameplay; combat flavours which change up the enemies and their difficulty; layout flavours which affect the dungeon presentation and bosses which will assign the type of final boss when the time runs out. Some of these modifiers are genuinely fun but others less so, such as Elite Foes which increases the level of the monsters. Combine this card with a dungeon level that requires you to kill the greatest number of enemies and you’ll quickly find yourself starting a fresh run through the game.
Further cards can be unlocked when you complete a runthrough of the game. Crucially missing though is the ability to select the cards you want to use; being completely random means the game is susceptible to more disappointing runs than normal. Cards are given a rarity value from common all the way up to epic but this doesn’t appear to affect the rate by which they are offered as a prize for completing a run.
The main menu is arguably where you’ll have most fun. It’s an interactive lobby where you can destroy furniture and kick an oversized d20 around. You can also amend the total time in the dungeon and turn bots on and off. You can even change your race which – aside from a cosmetic upgrade – determines the speed of your character and total max health. However, the speed unfortunately feels irrelevant; no matter which option you choose the enemies are always quicker than you and will chase you down.
Once in the dungeon, things quickly get chaotic with the number of enemies on-screen. Often it can be hard to even find your character within the opposing swarm, and if that happens to be near one of the multitudes of pitfall obstacles it is often too late to do anything about it. Thankfully, there is no penalty for death aside from being a ghost for a few seconds, but this gives you the opportunity to get into a better position and begin your next attack. You will die a lot in Munchkin; not necessarily because of the difficulty, but due to being constantly overwhelmed and/or unable to find your character.
Perhaps most bizarrely in a competitive game, you can’t actually damage your opponents. You can tackle them into the pits but swing a sword at them and you won’t do any damage.
There is the presence of an announcer that commentates on the action unfolding in an attempt to convey some of the humour from the card game, but this also falls short.
Also disappointing is a lack of online multiplayer. Munchkin: Quacked Quest only has local multiplayer, and for a game that launched on Xbox Game Pass to bring the biggest audience possible this online omission seems puzzling.
There are 26 achievements to unlock in total, and none should be considered difficult. All of them can be unlocked through playing the game normally except for ‘EPIC GAME!’, which requires you to play a Full Epic card dungeon. Not only does this appear to be random based on the card generation, but this achievement is currently glitched from unlocking.
Munchkin is a beloved card game full of charm, humour, replayability and, most importantly, fun. Munchkin: Quacked Quest on Xbox One on the other hand offers none of that. Forced gags, a severe lack of dungeon variation restricting replayability and a lack of initial guidance mean that this transformation into a videogame is just not much fun. Players may get one game out of it in a local environment but will quickly look to move on, and anyone that has ever played the card game before will be hoping for so much more.