New Game Review

Review – Clusterpuck 99 (Switch)

Go puck yourself!

Ever wanted to play some air hockey without having to go to an arcade? Ever wanted to go puck wild in the comfort of your own home without having a hulking air hockey table taking up half your living room? Well then the answer is either for you to find a more enticing sport to occupy your time or check out Clusterpuck 99 by PHL Collective.

As an air hockey styled game, obviously the controls in Clusterpuck 99 are very floaty, but it’s very easy to pick up. The gameplay is super simple with you moving your circular controller around the arena to capture the puck and take it over to the opposing team’s goal to score. You can shoot the puck from afar, slam dunk it into the goal, dodge, and check your opponent. Not exactly the most complicated of controls. You’ll be able to jump right into it in no time.

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Good thing I have my name displayed in GIANT letters to block out half the obstacles!

There are a few different modes in Clusterpuck 99. First, there’s the Challenge Mode. This takes you through 9 different challenges with the potential to score a gold, silver, or bronze medal in each challenge. The only way to progress through to the next challenge is to beat your current level with a bronze medal or higher. Achieving a gold medal will unlock a reward for you  like cool new skins for your player. The levels offer a variety of challenges to face like scoring as many goals as you can against a goalie, protecting your goal as the goalie, obstacle courses, breaking as many targets as possible within a time limit, and of course winning some air hockey matches. This mode was fun, well rounded, but very short.

Second, there’s the Party Mode which allows you to play competitively against up to 8 friends. There’s no online multiplayer, so all of your competitors have to be your friends or AI. This is a mode where Clusterpuck 99 can be a lot of fun, but if you don’t have 8 friends with their own Switches coming over to enjoy some crazy puck action, then you’ll run out of interest in this mode almost immediately. True, you can adjust the AI to better simulate actual intelligent opponents, but without the smack talk and boasting of real people, what’s the point?

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Look at these cutting edge graphics.

Third, there’s a Level Creator Mode in Clusterpuck 99. I’m not going to lie, this bored me to tears so I’m not going to go into too much depth on it. You use basic building blocks and various obstacles to make a level. Just like every other level maker on the planet, but with a lot less bells and whistles. Plus if you don’t have lots of friends coming over to play it, I ask again, what’s the point?

The graphics are very basic. The arenas are simple shapes with hardly any texturing or details of any sort. There are spiky balls that make you explode on impact, gold balls that are suppose to be bumpers, and neon green strips that accelerate you. You can’t really tell what anything is until you run into it. Even the more advanced opponents have flames on them, but it looks more like orange and yellow blurs. The most frustrating design choice however, was my name displayed in giant letters over the top of my player. This made it incredibly difficult to see the puck at times and was especially disastrous during the obstacle course. Yeah Clusterpuck 99, I’m pretty sure I’m not so stupid I can’t tell which player is mine.

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She shoots, she scores!

The sound is nothing terribly special. The soundtrack fits the game well enough, but is completely forgettable. There are few sound effects in the game like when your player explodes after touching a spiky ball that are decent, but for the most part, nothing memorable.

Clusterpuck 99 is a game that I could see being a really fun time for anyone who has a lot of friends with Switches and who loves to host competitive gaming nights in their home. However, let’s be honest, most gamers don’t have that many friends, at least ones who hangout with their own consoles all the time. Most of our friends are across the world and we play with them through online multiplayer, so until Clusterpuck 99 can make that available, chances are you’ll be bored with this title fairly quickly.

 

Graphics: 5.0

Very basic shapes, which can make it tough to know what you’re dealing with at first.

Gameplay: 7.0

Floaty controls are easy to pick up. Simple but effective movement options.

Sound: 6.0

Fits the game well, but is forgettable. So I guess it fits the game perfectly.

Fun Factor: 6.5

Fun and well rounded Challenge Mode that was too short. Party Mode is only fun with friends on their own devices.

Final Verdict: 6.0

Clusterpuck 99 is available now on Switch.

A copy of Clusterpuck 99 was provided by the publisher.

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As an avid gamer from childhood, I've come to love and appreciate games from all genres and I work hard finding time to play all of them between work and my two children. Some of my favorite games are: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Dragon Age: Origins, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Bioshock, Street Fighter 2 and Super Mario Land 2.

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