Back in 1989, Shufflepuck Café was released on something like a half dozen platforms. It was a futuristic game of air hockey, set on a distant planet, and played from a first-person perspective.
Although it was released on the Amiga as well, which I was raised on, my only contact with it was on the Macintosh at school in between Hypercard lessons. That version wasn’t even in color. Check this out:
In 2012, Shufflepuck Cantina, Agharta Studio’s hommage to the game on iOS and Android, saw the classic reinvented with modern graphics, new features, and all on their own in-house engine. I remember being wowed at the job my iPhone was doing smoothly rendering the 3D environments.
It also includes some fun nods to pop culture, like the music playing in the hall that sounds like a certain other Cantina we know, as well as the robot M4rv1n, who, besides his obvious choice of names, includes some sound effects which remind me of a certain book.
Recently, the studio put their title forward for Steam’s Greenlight with the hopes that a deluxe edition for PC might be possible, which it was, and its release is finally upon us!
The new release adds to the original game in some significant ways. Want to see the difference? Just toggle TAB to enter low quality mode without lighting or particle effects. That comes fairly close to an approximation of how the mobile experience compares.
Besides the models and sets being redesigned for a higher resolution display, you now have a ship to repair, a boss to fight at the end of the game, and a slew of modifiers accessible through an in-match roulette.
Having recently taken part in the Oculus VR Jam, the team developed a working demo included with the game that I only wish I could try.
I can’t speak for every game, but this is certainly the fastest experience I’ve had launching a game of any that I own; no doubt thanks to their 100% custom engine.
Moving the game to Steam definitely has some benefits over mobile. In my experience with the mobile game, there came a time when I just couldn’t keep up with my opponents, and I concluded that my finger occluding part of the screen while controlling the mallet was a major factor. That’s my excuse, anyway.
Using a mouse is natural to the experience of playing the game, to the point that there are times I’m surprised how well I’m doing, even when my mallet has been reduced in size.
If at first the game seems a little too difficult, don’t despair. It will seem challenging at times, often drastically so, yet with some effort you may find yourself holding your own with even the most frustrating of opponents and their special shots.
At the same time, if you go off of the game’s rate of payoff for matches won, getting a new puck or mallet for the price of 5,000 credz may seem like a bar you may never reach; but fear not: many of the achievements will award you with enough cash to get you there. Also, don’t start paying for biographies before you get a hold of the Providential puck and mallet, which will allow you to earn some extra credz while you play.
With the game’s release today, the team has set themselves a sales goal of 15,000 units. If that bar is reached, then the game will see full Oculus Rift support as well as multiplayer modes added.
Until then, hop over to Steam and pick up your copy as soon as it unlocks. The game is loads of fun to play and works great whether you have 5 minutes or a whole afternoon! Also, if you have an iOS device, be sure to check out their stellar series 1112.