I’m a pretty competitive person.
I grew up on Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. so you can’t really blame me. The point is that I take competition pretty seriously. When I saw Clusterpuck 99 release on Switch, I thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to take on my enemies in a game of hockey. It’s a tabletop-like hockey game that supports up to eight players. Now, with eight players, maybe the game might have shone a little brighter, but with just me and one other person, the game got boring pretty quickly.
The aim of the game is to gain control of the puck and shoot on through to the goal. That means dirty-tackling your friends to take the puck off them, and do whatever you can to keep that puck to yourself. As you can imagine, with a large group of friends it leads to short bursts of riotous fun, but playing against just one other person means that same level of feisty competition just isn’t there. It clearly isn’t the way Clusterpuck 99 is designed to be enjoyed.
I think one of Clusterpuck 99’s biggest downfalls for me is that you have to choose what you want your game to include, every single time. How many computer players? What type of level? How many points to win? There was no way to have a pre-loaded level so you can just jump in. It becomes cumbersome having to go through and go through all those choices every single time you start a new match.
I did, however, really enjoy Clusterpuck’s level creator. It allows you to make your own levels in cheeky and devious ways to annoy your friends and family. Put unavoidable spikes right after a boost, or bumpers right on the corners so if they forget to brake, they go flinging all over the map. It’s a fun way to put your won personality into the game and fuel your creativity.
Clusterpuck 99 is a fun game to play for fifteen minutes at a time, but at that point your friends will probably be asking why you’re all not playing Mario Kart or 1-2 Switch instead. The controls are difficult to learn, and choosing your level criteria can get frustrating, but if you have enough people to play, it’ll definitely be worth giving a go.