Remember Columns, Tetris and Dr. Mario? Back in the late 1980s and the early 1990s, puzzle games were all the rage. Although each one was unique in one way or another, they all had one thing in common; you could only move the pieces down the field, never upwards. Even more modern puzzlers like Lumines and Super Puzzle Fighter still follow the tradition of sending pieces down but never letting us move them back up. Codename has completely changed the game and the puzzle genre is about to get Pucked Up big time. Its not Tetris. Its not Columns. Its not Dr. Mario. Its Clusterpuck and its game play is actually a combination of the three with two unique twists: we get to move the pieces upwards and combine them into clusters.
Clusterpuck gives us two modes to puck on. There is time mode where you have five minutes to score as many points as you can and there is a tutorial mode. Of course, you will be spending all of your time on Time mode. In Time mode, you start off with one puck and make it bigger by attaching it to clusters and rotating the cluster to make it fit onto other clusters. Points are scored by gathering three or more pucks of the same color and dropping them to the bottom of the field. When they dissolve, you get points and eventually move up in level. Perform a big pucking combo and it may generate a special puck that can be used to increase the drop speed of the pucks or clear lines for you. How you use these powerups adds an extra layer to the gameplay and can mean the difference between a two star or a three star score at the end of the game.
The Arcade Cabinet is quite unique when compared to previous Arcade Cabinets in Home. It has a cool, teched out exterior that is lit with neon lights. Clusterpuck is also bigger than the average cab having more in common with Konami’s DDR Machine as far as size is concerned. It looks especially good in dark and futuristic looking personal spaces. This cab will add some charm to anyone’s growing Arcade Cabinet collection. And the best part is the price, at a mere $2.99, you can get your puck on and puck all night long (or day if you are not a vampire).
Musically, Clusterpuck is similar to Lumines in the sense that the music changes as you progress and combo. Although there are only two tracks, the soundtrack fits well with the game and I wouldn’t mind seeing a boombox for these tunes in the future. Combined with this great soundtrack is an equally impressive presentation. This Cab has more polish to it than most cabs on Home to the point where you may confuse it with a smaller PSN title. Codename did an awesome job on the menu system and overall game mechanics.
Overall, Clusterpuck is a great game for the price. It could use some more game modes and a multiplayer aspect but considering the price, the game mechanics and the overall presentation, this is one game that will not puck you in the end. Clusterpuck is thought provoking, aesthetically pleasing and easy on the ears. I highly recommend picking up Clusterpuck. You will be addicted to pucking over your friends score over and over again. If they try to puck your score, puck those pucking puckers. Puck over there score and tell them to go puck themselves. Now that you read this review, head over to the Games Store and check it out.