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

Deadstone

Deadstone

There aren’t that many titles on PC in the top down shooter genre and even fewer that offers as much as Deadstone. It’s got a meaty campaign mode that can be enjoyed in a serious or light-hearted fashion as well as a very addictive survival mode. Throw in the co-op mode, which is unfortunately local only, and you have the recipe for a great game. Graphics: The visual style of the game is a little dated and lacking in variety, but overall it’s quite polished. Sound: Nice voice acting during the cut-scenes and the music fits the atmosphere of the game well. Gameplay: Plenty of content and an addictive experience throughout despite the repetition.

Steins;Gate

Steins;Gate

Steins;Gate started off quite interesting, and had me hooked with its unique story, but by the end I was literally on the edge of my seat. Although it is quite a long game, there is literally never a dull moment. The use of a mobile phone to make choices, and branch the story is a stroke of genius, and with six different endings there is a lot of replay value. If you want to experience a visual novel with plenty of action, drama, suspense and outstanding characters, then don't miss out on Steins;Gate. Gameplay: Not only is the story excellent, but there is actually a surprising amount of choices for a visual novel. Graphics: The artwork and character designs are beautiful. Sound: The original Japanese voice acting is very good, and the music is equally great.

Ephemerid: A Musical Adventure

Ephemerid: A Musical Adventure

It might be just as short as the lifespan of a real mayfly, but Ephemerid definitely lives up to its claims of being a musical adventure. The handcrafted visuals are charming and the soundtrack is something that you will want to listen to again and again. Don’t let its length and the fact that it was originally an iOS title deter you from experiencing this captivating title. Gameplay: Not very challenging, but it will put a smile on your face and is very relaxing. Graphics: Beautiful handcrafted visuals and plenty of unique scenes. Sound: The soundtrack is filled with some exceptionally good tunes.

Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey

Letter Quest: Grimm's Journey

Its addictive gameplay, charming visuals and catchy soundtrack ensures that Letter Quest is an entertaining and relaxing title. It has plenty of challenges to keep you busy and while there is a bit of grind involved the RPG elements keeps things interesting. If you are looking for a game to pass some time without worrying too much about a story then Letter Quest is a great option. Gameplay: Polished, addictive and packed to the brim with content. Graphics: Nice visuals, but the animations are very limited. Sound: The soundtrack is quite nice, but could have benefited from a few more tunes.

Isbarah

Isbarah

Isbarah is not a game to approach if you are looking for an easy challenge or rewards that you don’t have to work hard to earn. The game requires quick reflexes, plenty of practice and a lot of dedication to master. It is definitely rewarding though, and taking down bosses many times your own size while they are covering the screen in projectiles is quite a rush. It is not for the faint of heart, but if you are up for the challenge you simply must try out the game. Gameplay: The blend of platforming and bullet hell works brilliantly. Graphics: Beautiful 2D art with excellent character designs. Audio: Adrenaline pumping tunes.

Terrian Saga: KR-17

Terrian Saga: KR-17

If you enjoy classic platforming action where some exploration and puzzle solving is required you will love KR-17. The developers have managed to perfectly capture the audio and visual style of a 90s era title, but made the gameplay accessible enough for modern players. The game still packs a challenge, but keeps things varied to prevent repetition. It is also priced very low, so there is no excuse to not try it out. Gameplay: A great mixture of platforming, puzzle solving and enemy blasting. Graphics: The game looks like it was ripped straight out of the 90s. Sound: A great soundtrack with some nice sound effects thrown in too.

Leave a comment

8 + nineteen =