Clusterpuck 99 – Game review
Air hockey… with a twist. The twist being, up to 8 players can play at once, bumpers throwing you off course (and out the arena), Boost pads to fire you across the arena, Spikes to stop you in your tracks (by ‘popping’ you) and the arenas, they aren’t your ordinary arenas, more of a maze than anything.
I was a little sceptical at first looking at the initial menu screen, very bland and very simple, literally just shows the options available so nothing really special there. When actually playing its like a whole different game, for such a simple idea put into a game some may expect a little less ‘umpf’ in the graphics department, but not here, clusterpucks graphics are great, everything is smooth, the game flows brilliantly. With the different obstacles within an arena causing sudden changes in movement and the difference between slow and fast paced matches its handled very well.
Gameplay and Modes
There are a couple of modes within this title, a classic ‘normal’ mode, a basic head to head between you and the A.I or play online with you friends. In this basic mode I would definitely recommend playing alongside your friends on this one, don’t get me wrong its good and can be a challenge depending on how you set it up, wether it be you vs. 5 A.I players or a 4vs4 game with a medium to high difficulty to give you more of a challenge or set the “way to win” to points rather than time. I tried 1vs1 on easy, wasnt really a fan, the harder/more A.I involved the better it got and can only imagine playing online with a couple of friends being great (they’re sore losers) as it can become very competitive.
More of a solo player? Head over to Challenge Mode, now this I loved, once I got used to the controls and figured out what I was actually doing I stepped into the arena for a set of challenges. The challenges consist of again, different modes, form a basic 2vs2 for to 3pts against A.I or having to aim for targets within a period of time. These defiantly live up their name being challenges which is what I enjoyed the most, it’s not a simple jump into a game, win, move on kind of thing, you have to take a step back and think, make a plan of action on how you will succeed which I enjoy most about gaming in general but especially this game.
As I’ve already mentioned the arenas arent your normal rectangles with a goal at each end, they are full of bumpers, boost pads and spike which are there to throw you off course, or better still, use them to you advantage to prevent the opposition from scoring (seen below) which brings us to another part of the game I enjoyed. Playing with friends online is always a winner, but what about playing the game with your rules in your arena, in Create your own arena it’s exactly what it says on the tin, you make your own arena which is great. If the pre-made arenas aren’t already challenging enough, try to out do them with your own crazy spike, boost and bumper filled maps or try to get creative making different shapes.
It’s re-play ability can be very hit and miss, at times I’ve sat doing challenges getting stuck in trying to better myself each time and achieve max points is great but for times online with friends it can become a bit repetitive, I would recommend it as one to have a few games with friends, probably more than a couple but not one to spend hours a time on unless you are competitive and head straight for the challenges.
Ok so we’ve covered the gameplay, the graphics and its re-play ability but is it worth buying at $14.99? (Still awaiting confirmation of a UK price but probably around this region) In a word yes. It is a little steep don’t get me wrong but getting Xbox credit currently if you know where to look will make it abit cheaper. This is a good little game to pass time as something different whilst you are waiting for people to come online or just completed a big title and need something to cover until the next one. For all you gamerscore hunters this comes with 16 achievements and 1000 gamerscore which is always a bonus.
Unfortunatly I was unable to capture some gameplay so I will end the review with this trailer for a breif insight on what you can look forward to on 9th September 15.