The crowds surrounding the two giant displays at the PHL Collective booth gave me a great feeling when I went to check out ClusterPuck 99. People were excited about the match they were involved in and everyone watching seemed to be just as hyped up. It’s a classic couch multiplayer game that mixes a combination of soccer, pool, and pinball mechanics to make a simple but really fun game.
Not having played the game before, I decided to jump right in and play with one of the devs against some fellow PAX-goers and I wasn’t disappointed. The game’s ability to quickly build up excitement in scoring goals is great and it got intense even in a 3v3 and 3v2 match. You can add AI to balance out uneven teams or play with a mix of friends and AI to change it up. You can max out a total of 8 players on each version of the game.
Map layout is a mix of your more standard and competitive styles, and then more complex and tricky designs. I say tricky because some maps have spike strips that if you hit, you explode (in an annoyingly comical kind of way) and have a reset before you drop back into the match. These come in super handy because you can check players into the spikes, or check them clear off the map if there aren’t any walls to keep you in-game. Did I mention there is also a level editor? Because there is. You can build your own levels and then play against friends with them, so even if somehow you managed to exhaust the roughly 30 levels (with some exclusive levels per platform) you can just start making your own!
So Andrew, what’s the short version?
The game is super fun, competitive, and allows you to trash talk up to 8 of your friends all from the comfort of your own home. The game has such simple mechanics but there is a hidden complexity behind it all that makes the game both challenging and fun. The variety of maps changes up the gameplay which means your strategy and communication is pivotal. Sadly in the world of wireless controllers you can’t just unplug your opponents before they score a goal, but you CAN totally knock the controller out of their hands. The fact that it’s launching on Switch means I need to buy more Joy-Con controllers, and get a bigger couch.
PHL Collective, the team behind ClusterPuck 99, has partnered with Coatsink (you may remember them from Shu) to bring the game to Nintendo Switch. It’s currently being demoed on the Switch at PAX South this weekend if you happen to be in town!
Written by: Andrew(@SoAfterISaid)