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Shufflepuck Cantina

Reviewed by:  Zachary Zaletel, Alaskan Apple User Group Member

Product: Shufflepuck Cantina on the App Store on iTunes or via Steam
Company: Agharta Studio
Company Website: aghartastudio.com
Price: $9.95
PRO:  Everything you remember from Shufflepuck Cafe… without the regret4 Mooses!.
CON:  Perhaps a few too many mini-quests and locked achievements?
Moose Rating: 4

Conflict of interest: Agharta Studio provided a free copy of the software for the purpose of this review.

AghartaStudio-ShufflepuckCantinaDeluxe-1024x375If you’ve been around the Mac world long enough, you’ll undoubtedly remember Broderbund’s classic Shufflepuck Cafe, gleaming at you in its 9”, black and white glory on your old SE or Plus.  I know I whiled away many an hour attempting to beat Biff Raunch.  Ah, the days.  I’m glad to say that those days are back again and then some with Shufflepuck Cantina, produced by Agharta Studio.

 

Agharta, based in Lyon, France, have done a great job in capturing the fun (frustration?) of the classic Shufflepuck Cafe gameplay and brought it into the 21st century and then some with an array of colorful characters, fun and challenging gameplay, quests, humor plus great audio and visuals.  What good luck to find yourself right next to the Shufflepuck Cantina after crash landing onto a remote planet.  Of course some of you will say, “Cantina?  That reminds me of something involving the Kessel run and Han shooting first” – and you’d be right.  While the theme is a mix of Cafe of old, modern interface with mini-quests, credits (er, credz),  and a bit of the Lucasfilm™ world blended in, it works well to draw you in for… just one more game, time and time again.

It's the Cafe, not the CantinaCantina does a decent job of explaining itself to start, giving you the basics to get started in the ‘Hall’ on the first floor, with opponents who will give a bit of challenge as you get the hang of things without sending you away.  In order to get the pieces to fix your ship and make your way back out into the Galaxy.  As you progress in experience and credits, you can upgrade your paddle and other tools to bring a more formidable ability to the shufflepuck table.  With enough victories and gameplay, you can accumulate credits and gain access to the bar, disco and other upper levels of the cafe, where the competition takes a step up, as does the reward for wins.  At any time during a match, you may come across credz on the table or a power-up that could help – or hurt, which helps to introduce a bit of variability to the gameplay.  I would quibble a bit that it only allows you to pick up the power-ups in a match – which doesn’t seem fully equitable, even if the opponent you’re playing has the opportunity to receive a benefit from the power-ups.

While I’m not the game-player that I once was, I had a great time playing Shufflepuck Cantina.  Though I could take or leave the sheer number of mini quests presented, they’re not in the way to keep from advancing through the game, which I appreciate.  For those with an Oculus VR unit, you can give the cantina a shot in 3D – sadly I can’t comment on this ability, but I’d be willing to bet that it’s well done, considering the effort that’s gone into Cantina.  Ultimately, Agharta did a fantastic job of both paying homage to the original Shufflepuck while still producing a new, unique and fun game in its own right that will easily keep you busy for a few minutes or five hours.

 

 

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