One of Steam Next Fest's biggest survival games makes a compelling promise: "Imagine DayZ or Rust but you're a duck"

Two ducks fly over an island in a screenshot from Duckside
(Image credit: tinybuild)

"Imagine DayZ or Rust but you're a duck," is the irresistible premise behind one of Steam Next Fest's biggest survival games.

Duckside is the survival sandbox that's trying to teach ducks worldwide some self-defense. In the same way that Palworld uses the 'Pokemon-but-with-guns' premise to its advantage, Duckside has all the scavenge-y-craft-o-survival bits you'd expect from the genre, but this time it's the ducks that have guns. Want to make your game stand out? Just give your pets some deadly weapons.

"Over 10 million ducks get killed per year by featherless hunters, a statistic that would be much lower if ducks were combat trained," the game's Steam description explains. To combat this, the trailer above has a deadly flock of ducks doing your usual survival chores: sweeping up resources, building big bases, and attacking human (presumably computer-controlled) enemies, as well as other player-controlled ducks. Birds of a feather should stick together, after all.

"Play alone or create a flock with other ducks to build, explore, fight, and survive together," the blurb continues. "Ducks are fiercely territorial, so encounters with opposing ducks can and will often result in some feathers being ruffled."

Duckside has a free demo available now as part of Steam Next Fest, and it's already the fifth most popular game from the entire event based on daily active players. Jumping into the game myself, it's not too hard to see why. Duckside might have fairly standard bones, but the allure of being able to fly anywhere makes this one stand out. It can be a chill time, gliding across lakes with mates, if you want it to be. But that added verticality also makes infiltrating enemy bases a very different type of shooter.

For more, check out the 10 best survival games you can play right now.

Freelance contributor

Kaan freelances for various websites including Rock Paper Shotgun, Eurogamer, and this one, Gamesradar. He particularly enjoys writing about spooky indies, throwback RPGs, and anything that's vaguely silly. Also has an English Literature and Film Studies degree that he'll soon forget.