Shufflepuck Cantina Deluxe is the remake of an Amiga classic known as Shufflepuck Cafe. It's an air hockey simulation (a game in which the two opponents knock a puck back and forth on a smooth-surfaced table) which takes place in a space cantina. Crazy atmosphere and epic air hockey duels are guaranteed.
Compete against the greatest air hockey champions in the galaxy
Shufflepuck Cantina Deluxe is more than a simple air hockey simulation: it's more like a simulation of a bar in space. You take on the character of an astronaut stranded on a strange resort somewhere in the galaxy, where you must earn enough money to repair your ship and leave. To leave, there's only one solution: win games of air hockey against the regulars at the local bar.
Each character you face has their own specialty (curve shot, magnetic puck) and you must score consecutive victories to have a chance at climbing the levels and unlocking all the bonuses. Among the awards you'll get, there are upgrades for your puck, biographies of characters (each more outlandish than the previous), and you'll get a certain time to unlock everything. This game system will suit lovers of air hockey who want trophies to unlock, but others will quickly tire of what is effectively an improved mini-game.
Perfectly precise gameplay
Shufflepuck Cantina Deluxe's gameplay is excellent. The air hockey game is extremely well done, and the puck physics and its responsiveness are very exact, allowing frenzied duels. This makes it all the more regrettable that there's no multiplayer mode, because if you can't compare your scores with your friends, then it's impossible to challenge them directly. It's such a shame because Shufflepuck Cantina Deluxe has really improved and would have proved less repetitive in the long term.
The cantina, a unique atmosphere
From the first moments of Shufflepuck Cantina Deluxe, you'll be struck by the excellent impression that emerges. The graphics, while relatively unimpressive, transcribe the mood perfectly and makes us want to sip a cocktail at the galactic bar in the company of a friendly robot. The music manages to recreate this atmosphere perfectly, with an excellent main theme that creates a real pastiche with the Star Wars IV cantina vibe. This makes it even more of a pity that the music is so repetitive and unvaried, as it gradually transforms what was excellent musical accompaniment into a bit of an ordeal.
Our verdict: fans of the genre will love it
Shufflepuck Cantina Deluxe will certainly tug on the heart strings of those who are nostalgic for the Amiga version; others will quickly become captivated by the atmosphere and intensity of the games.
Some will want to play on to unlock the numerous bonuses available, but others may quickly become frustrated by the lack of alternative activities. Shufflepuck Cantina Deluxe is fun and well thought out, but in the long term lacks attractiveness.