ClusterPuck 99 (Switch, Xbox One, PC)

ClusterPuck 99 is a sports game that’s like a hybrid of hockey and soccer.  Because of all the different maps and arenas, it also reminds me of Atari’s classic 2600 game Combat.  It certainly has an old school arcade feel to it, anyway.  So why the ’99?”  Well when I talked to the developers who made ClusterPuck 99 at PAX South, they said they put the 99 on the end because NHL 99 was the greatest hockey game ever.  Anyway, up to eight players can compete in this downloadable game for Switch, Xbox One, and PC (reviewed on Switch here).

The game is simple.  Players separate into two teams and try to get the ball puck into the goal.  Players themselves also look like pucks sliding around.  You can touch the ball and carry it around like you’re ‘kicking’ or ‘dribbling’ it, or you can shoot it out in case you need to score a goal or whatever.  When you don’t have the ball, you can do a dash attack to knock the ball out from another player.  Watch out for obstacles like bumpers and spikes.  If you hit a spike, you’ll go splat and must wait a few seconds to respawn back in the game.  Depending on what mode you select, the team that gets the most points in a certain time, or whoever reaches a certain score first, wins.

Speaking of modes, there are quite a few in this game.  Play a single game in Play Match, and up to eight players can compete in Party Mode.  For single players, try the Challenge Mode where you must win under certain conditions.  There are tons of different playfields to choose from in all the modes, but if that’s not enough, you can also design your own in Arena Creator.  You can also edit profiles of players, including names and designs to put on your puck avatars.  There’s even a Pac-Man symbol, which I thought was cool.

Really the only problem I had with this game is that when you select a mode, it wouldn’t let me go back to the main menu after that, so I had to restart the game.  But I’m sure that’s something that can be fixed in an update or whatever.  If you enjoy simple sports games and have a lot of players around who do, too, you may want to give this one a try.

Kid Factor:

When your puck players hit a spike, they’ll splat into a pile of their team color’s goo, but that’s about as violent as it gets in this game.  Also some parents may not appreciate that the title is very close to sounding like a curse word.  Reading skill is helpful for some of the menus, but not necessary just to play.  ClusterPuck 99 is rated E for Everyone.

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