Shufflepuck Cantina Deluxe VR
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 8

While at first glance Shufflepuck Cantina Deluxe might look like a glorified version of Pong it actually has a lot to offer. Your opponents are varied and it takes time to learn how to defeat them while a steady stream of unlocks will keep you coming back for more. Whether you want to play for a few minutes or a few hours, Shufflepuck Cantina Deluxe is a good choice.

Gameplay: Very addictive in short bursts, but can become a bit of a grind.

Graphics: Enhanced enough to not look like a simple mobile port.

Sound: Good tunes but some of the sound effects can become annoying

Summary 8.0 Great
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

Shufflepuck Cantina Deluxe VR

Developer: Agharta Studio | Publisher: Agharta Studio | Release Date: 2013 | Genre: Action / Indie / Sport | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

After somehow “accidently” jumping his spaceship through a wormhole, the human protagonist of Shufflepuck Cantina Deluxe finds himself crash landed on a desert planet somewhere deep in alien space. As luck would have it the planet is home to a casino inhabited by a motley group of air hockey loving aliens. With defeating the aliens at their own game and wining the parts needed to repair his ship the only way to ever leave our intrepid hero embarks on a new career as an air hockey champion.

The plot in Shufflepuck Cantina Deluxe is probably not going to win any literary awards, but it does provide an excuse to take on some wacky alien critters in one-on-one games of air hockey. Amazingly enough, this is not the first time that aliens have taken up mallets to smash around air hockey pucks in a game as this title is actually an homage to Shufflepuck Cafe, released in the late eighties. Don’t worry if you have never heard of the original, however, as this game can stand on its own without being propped up by nostalgia to enjoy.

The game follows the rules of air hockey so you basically have to use a mallet to smash a puck across a board and past your opponent’s mallet. Of course your opponent is not just going to idly stand by and let that happen so the result is a furious exchange until someone misjudges a shot or are not fast enough to react to one. To make things trickier, each of your opponents has a special shot that they can perform and countering these take a lot of practice. You have to battle your way through four floors, each with three opponents before taking on the big cheese waiting for you on the top floor.

Due to the nature of the game, rounds can be quite short and duels can be won quite literally in seconds. The game also uses a lightweight 3D engine that features virtually no loading times, making the game ideal for quick bursts. Don’t expect to finish it in a hurry however, as there are 13 opponents to defeat and literally hundreds of side missions. To win ship parts you first have to earn enough of the game currency, called credz, to purchase the complete biography of an opponent. After the biography is completed, you can take part in a special match to earn the ship part.

Completing the ship is only part of the game however, as you can earn bronze, silver or gold medals during duels to unlock side missions. Each character has ten side missions and these all involve attaining a certain score against an opponent without receiving a single strike against your character. These missions can feel almost impossible until you have mastered defending against the special strikes of your opponents, but definitely add some longevity to the game. Apart from the duels, which are quick matches with a predetermined score total, you can also perform bets to earn extra credz or take on survival challenges where you earn more points for staying alive and scoring goals without conceding any. Along the way you also earn tokens which can be spent on a prize machine.

Although the game was originally released for mobile devices the graphics are pretty good and feature visual effects such as dynamic lighting, glows and particles to ensure that it doesn’t look like cheap port. The game is viewed from a first person perspective and your opponents are a detailed lot. The aliens range from robots to humanoids and you’ll spot plenty of not very subtle Star Wars references. Take for instance Ayato the Bakani smuggler who won his ship, the Centennial Pigeon in a sonic marble tournament. The game definitely doesn’t take itself very seriously, but this is part of its charm. Your opponents don’t actually hold their pucks during matches, but instead stands on the other end of the board watching proceedings and reacting to points won or conceded. These animations can become a bit repetitive considering the amount of matches you’ll play, but the developers were very quick to respond to user suggestions on the Steam forums and swiftly implemented a way to speed up these scenes.

The audio is great with some nice tunes, including an homage to the famous Mos Eisley Cantina tune that is as close as you can get without the Disney lawyers knocking on your door.  There is no speech, but each of the aliens makes their own unique noises during matches. Some of it is quite funny like the mechanical sounds that the droids make, but some like the incessant “oh no no no” yelps of Furry can become a bit annoying. The controls are very responsive and playing air hockey with a mouse feels quite natural. Even after learning how to counter the moves of your opponents the game keeps you on your toes with power-ups and power-downs such as reduced mallets and pucks as well as shields.

If you plan on unlocking every little thing that the game has to offer, it can become quite a grind but most of it is optional. It took me close to twenty hours to get all the spaceship parts, defeat the owner of the casino and rack up 51 of the 76 achievements but there was still plenty left to be done in the game. Despite all the time I spent with the game I am still not tired of it either and it is definitely a title that I will be returning to regularly for a few matches.

Unfortunately there are no multiplayer modes available at present, but this feature, as well as Oculus Rift support is planned depending on the sales figures for the game. Hopefully Shufflepuck Cantina Deluxe receives the exposure and recognition that it deserves as it is a great effort from a small studio. There really isn’t anything else like it available now for computer and it packs a lot of content for a very reasonable price so it would be a shame if it is overlooked.

*Review originally published December 2013.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP or later
  • Processor: 2.33 GHz or faster x86-compatible processor
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: OpenGL 2.1 Compliant Graphics Device, 128 MB VRAM
  • Hard Drive: 100 MB available space
  • Sound Card: OpenAL Compatible Sound Card
  • OS: OS X 10.6.6 or later
  • Processor: 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor or faster processor
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: OpenGL 2.1 Compliant Graphics Device, 128 MB VRAM
  • Hard Drive: 100 MB available space
  • Sound Card: OpenAL Compatible Sound Card
  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04.3 or later
  • Processor: 2.33 GHz or faster x86-compatible processor
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: OpenGL 2.1 Compliant Graphics Device, 128 MB VRAM
  • Hard Drive: 100 MB available space
  • Sound Card: OpenAL Compatible Sound Card
  • Additional Notes: 32 bits binary & a usb mouse is required & /dev/input/event* must have read permission. VR DK2 support is not ready yet, in the meantime you can fully enjoy the standard version.

Related posts

Pinball Arcade – Core Pack

Pinball Arcade - Core Pack

Although one of the tables in the core pack is already available for free, it is more than worth it for the other three. Theatre of Magic is perfect for introducing newcomers to the addictive nature of pinball while Ripley's Believe It or Not has something for everyone. Even Black Hole which looks pretty basic by today's standards has some very unique gameplay elements to keep you hooked. Overall a very solid selection of tables that looks and plays great. Gameplay: Four great tables, packed with hours of addictive gameplay. Graphics: Faithful reproductions of classic tables. Sound: Distinctive audio with some great speech samples and effects.

Avoid – Sensory Overload

Avoid - Sensory Overload

While Avoid Sensory Overload is another mobile title to make the leap to PC it doesn't feel like a cheap cash-in. The gameplay is addictive and on higher difficulty levels the game can provide quite a challenge. The randomly generated levels in endless mode also provide plenty of longevity, especially for the price. If you are looking for a pure arcade experience where you can test your reflexes while listening to some nice tunes then you won't want to avoid this game. Gameplay: A nice arcade experience that is addictive enough to keep you coming back for more. Graphics: Not quite a sensory overload, but colorful and stylish. Sound: Thee different musical genres with some nice tracks.

The Waste Land

The Waste Land

The Waste Land is a great entry in the genre and while it is not without its flaws has plenty to offer fans. The gameworld is absolutely huge and the retro inspired visuals are spot on. There are also plenty of enemies to battle as well as huge bosses that take some skill to take down. The open world design is great for players who want to forge their own routes through the game, but can be confusing to those who don't. Some areas, such as the combat, could have been made more engaging, but fans of the genre will still find plenty to enjoy. Graphics: Imaginative, gory and very true to the 8-bit titles from which it draws inspiration. Sound: Some nice tunes, but they repeat way too often which causes repetition. Gameplay: Challenging and entertaining, but could have been a little more rewarding.

Fly in the House

Fly in the House

Fly In The House is quite fun at first, especially after the recent patch, but anyone looking for more depth than simply hunting down a fly while destroying everything might be disappointed. The amount of destruction you can get up to is impressive, but the overall visual quality is a bit low. Since there are only three environments on offer the game can also feel a bit restrictive. It’s still fun to play in short bursts though, so grab it if you enjoy mindless arcade games. Gameplay: Once the novelty of breaking everything in sight wears off it can be a bit repetitive. Graphics: The destructible scenery is nice, but the texture quality is rather low. Sound: Limited and annoying music, but decent enough sound effects.

Enemy Mind

Enemy Mind

Enemy Mind makes good use of the ship changing feature to offer an experience that is not only challenging, but extremely addictive. There is a lot more strategy involved than your typical side scrolling shooter and the local co-op mode makes it even more fun. Rounding off the package is some nice retro style visuals and a brilliant soundtrack. Depending on your skill with shooters, this game will keep you busy for a while and packs some nice bonuses to boost the replay value. Gameplay: The ability to take control of any enemy ship complements the old school gameplay nicely. Graphics: The visuals are a nice homage to the 8bit era. Sound: Great sound effects and an awesome soundtrack by Rainbow Kitten.

Ghost 1.0

Ghost 1.0

Play as a digital ghost with the ability to control androids in this great Metroidvania title from the maker of Unepic. The game challenges you to infiltrate the Nakamura Space Station and uncover its secrets, a quest that will take you through almost 300 rooms. Ghost 1.0 features tight controls, engaging writing, likeable characters and plenty of action, which makes it very easy to recommend to fans of the genre. Gameplay: Quite challenging at times, but very addictive. Graphics: Detailed visuals and some very nice design elements. Sound: The soundtrack is great, but the voice-acting steals the show.

Leave a comment

1 × one =