Earlier this morning, Eli and I spent some time with Shufflepuck Cantina [Free]. It's a little like Poker Night at the Inventory, except with aliens and, uh, air hockey. In the game, you play as an outsider who finds himself stuck in a space cantina. Your task, for some reason, is to beat everyone in the cantina at air hockey. As you play, you'll learn the backstory behind every character and unlock special moves for doing so.

If you're wondering, Shufflepuck is an Agharta Studios joint. This is the studio behind a pretty popular adventure game series on mobile, 1112. Aghata's attention to atmosphere and the character, as displayed in its other games, really shows through in Shufflepuck.

Anyway, if you'd like to see the game in action, feel free below.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Montgomery-Gabrys/1085446349 Montgomery Gabrys

    In game purchase con based on a great 80s Mac title. Watered down and constantly trying to sell you crap. Deleted.

    • gemacx

      I only spent 2 bucks (for the double credits bonus) because hey developers need to eat too after all, and i've completed 90% of the game and it was great fun...
      So no you don't have to spend loads of money to play.

  • Cameron Stark

    I've been playing this since it came out last week, and its a really polished, fun game. 3D graphics run buttery smooth on my iPhone 4. Its been fun completing the 200+ missions in the game. There's tons of stuff to unlock and buy as well. 

  • Ciarán Doherty

    This entire concept is stolen from a classic Hypercard game from the Mac OS 6 days called Shufflepuck Café? I used to play it when I was abut 10! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shufflepuck_Café

  • bigrand1

    Personally, I didn't like it. Too much chat and filler. Just wanted to get to the air hockey, but so much blah-blah, I couldn't take it. Some people may find the actual game play to be too hard and too much of a grind as well. Whatever. Just my opinion. Deleted it.

  • http://railscasts.com Ryan Bates

    I've been having a lot of fun with this game. Certainly there is a lot of IAP for the extras, but it isn't at all necessary to enjoy the game itself. I love how challenging it is at the first but gets much easier over time as you get better.

    Here are some tips: Watch the paddle position before the opponent hits to predict where it will go, and there is a pattern to each of the special moves. You can earn the most credz in survival and bet modes.

  • http://twitter.com/Aghartastudio Alex

    The inapps are not mandatory at all to play the game. If we would have made the game as a money scheme we would have put token to play each game like most freemium craps actually do. You can do everything without paying at all.
    By setting the game to free we actually risked a lot of dev money (Took a whole year to make a game with such visual) So please show some respect in your comments guysPS : it's not a crappy remake of shufflepuck café, it's an homage to the game, It's the first of its kind since twenty years.

    • Craig McAhren

      Alex, Thank You for all the hard work that went into bringing us this wonderful homage.I played the original to the point of beating "Biff Raunch" at will,and am making great progress on this amazing version as well.  

    • bashesh

      You are completely right alex. Its a game with great visuals, atmosphere and gameplay. I have played this game since launch and have enjoyed it immensely. Iap is not atall mandatory. This is a great example of freemium done right. Thanks for this gem of a game.

    • http://www.facebook.com/craiggrannell Craig Grannell

      It would be hard to call it crappy, but 'homage'? It's more of an out-and-out clone. Any reason you didn't source the original IP owner and licence it? Even the basic story and some of the characters are almost lifted from the original.

      • airhead3

        I disagree - the original was a single room and no progression outside of picking which opponent to play. I think Cantina does a beautiful job of taking this wonderful gem from way back and taking it to a whole other level of progression, missions, and upgrades. Some of the characters are similar to the Cafe original, but so many more are completely original.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/44XYBBX7VBCWDYQZTWJOBLZHZ4 Ryan Evans

        I think maybe you and some of the others should go back and play the original - I played it recently on an emulator (I used to own it on the Amiga back in the day) And while there are similarities, to call it a clone is downright disingenuous. Also, this is such a polished, playable game and it's free(!) - I just don't understand why people are complaining. I paid a lot for the original version years ago and it's vastly inferior (nostalgia not permitting).

    • Stephen Wilkinson

      Yeah sorry but I see one of the most sorry cases of copy-cat property foul play I've ever seen on a digital store period. Not only does this game hang off the shoulders of a previous concept, its selling chunks of original property from several companies. Broderbund Software is the most immediately obvious, then LucasFilm, and then if that weren't creative leeching enough, take a look at AstroPlasm released in March by Australian studio Subspark Entertainment. I see explicit foul-play by Agharta. So by fair ethic I'll give this a miss and buy AstroPlasm instead.

  • http://iqsoup.com/ iqSoup

    That furball thing makes me wish I had some hairspray and a lighter.

    • vicsark

      lol. Get to the second floor and try a shoot first on the HanSolo loookalike ;)

  • vicsark

    Great game, I'm back 20 years playing ShufflePuck Cafe on my Atari St and blowing up mouse after mouse playing ;)
    Definitely worth a try, as it's free and the in app isn't pushed down your throat at all.
    For once, I purchased in app (the duranium card that doubles all your winnings in game) to thank the developers for a great work.
    Visuals are very refined and the game weighs less than 50mb.

  • DecafTable

    I'm so sick of free games with content that can only be unlocked with in app purchases. Put a price on the game and be done with it. I'll be skipping for this reason!

  • Tropxe

    Just played it for about 4 hours straight. It does seem hard at first, but that's because it actually has some depth and isn't just a "touch the screen, receive points and a smiley face" game, like so many iOS games.

    In no way do you need the IAPs, and the game does not rub it in your face. Infinity Blade has IAPs, including huge caskets of gold that contrast starkly to the meagre amount of gold you find naturally in the game. No one complains about that, and this game is no worse. It's nice to find a free iOS game that isn't (a) completely aimed at casuals and (b) doesn't have that stupid "wait or pay" energy bar mechanic.

    Anyway, can't wait for the next floor to be added! Great game, guys.

  • Dave

    Brings back memories of playing Shufflepuck Cafe in High School.

  • http://twitter.com/russm305 305 Games

    Air hockey meets Star Wars!  I  was hoping to play Greedo.

  • Collin Haberl

    I think it's important that Alex and the Agharta folks understand that the detractors are not the majority vote here. This is a great (and I would argue heartfelt) nostalgic nod to the original Shufflepuck Cafe that I remember growing up. It plays smooth and stable on iOS and it looks gorgeous. Also, I'll agree that it's generous enough with awarding credits that you're encouraged to play but not necessarily to spend a lot through IAPs. This is just about as good a tribute to Shufflepuck Cafe as the new Wii version of Punch-Out was to Mike Tyson's Punch-Out. Keep up the good work, Alex, and thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/Aghartastudio Alex

    Another thing of importance : this game was made by a team of 4 guys , with an in house engine. you may notice there are almose no loading time in the game nor any launching time, and it dispaly a good amount of polys at 60FPS even on old IPad 1 or Iphone 4

    • http://railscasts.com Ryan Bates

      And it hasn't crashed at all for me. Thanks for making such a solid game! I'm having a blast.

    • Guillaume Merle

      Yeah actually I was very impressed not to see any loading time. I kinda wonder how it works though, can you give me a basic explanation ?
      Anyway many thanks for the game, i unlocked every biographies, it was super fun, and I'm waiting for the 4th floor now =)
      Also I'm a big fan of 1112, I hope you're making good progress with Episode 4.
      Bref bon courage à vous pour la suite et merci pour tout !

  • GiHubb

    I used to love playing Shufflepuck Cafe on my old black & white Macintosh. However, as much as I wanted to enjoy this homage, I just felt the table is too short in length and that the puck moves too quickly on it. I just sadly couldn't get into it as much as I dug the initial idea and the truly fantastic art style.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1035057081 Donald Hudson

    I really really don't like IAP stores either. I rather pay (more) money and really own the game, unlocking things with skill and not profit. But it seems to pay off better for developers.
    I always loved the art of "Agharta Studios". Please add iCloud support though. Really needed for us iPhone + iPad users.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/7MNECFELUJOJLCEHMMBL2WKK7M Trunks

    Personally it's really hard for me to get behind this game. While I like the game and I enjoy it. it's simple just WAY TOO HARD. I've been playing a pretty good amount of time over the past couple days and i literally can not win. I've put a solid 3 hours into this game and I havent won a single match the best ive done is 3-5.

    • kendahlj

      Buy some upgrades! ;)

    • MartianLM

      It took me about 10 games to actually win against even the lowest player, it really is hard to get into, and the low rewards for being beaten (say 40c) in comparison to the 20 unlocks required for each character's special move totalling around 10,000c for just one character make the game look like a huge grind at the start.

      I don't know if it improves, I couldn't stick with it.

      Like I say, even the furry guy is hard, and it feels like when I score it's entirely a dice roll on the computer's part as opposed to skill on my part. I feel like I have to defend my goal until the dude on the other side of the table decides to miss.

      I know I know, LTP...

      Oh and one last thing, please reduce the length of the animations when you score. If that furry b*****d says "no no no no no" one more time I'll... well, delete it, as I did. Pity as it seems like a really nice game (love the atmosphere and style of it), just too hard to get started and the scoring animations get annoying quickly.

  • Briker Ed

    Too hard to play on an iPhone for me. . . . frustratingly hard even. Shame as it looks well done otherwise. I guess it can get easier further on, when you're able to get some upgrades but don't have the patience to endure till that happens. . . .

  • http://www.facebook.com/ikkyu.san.106 Ikkyu San

    Great game, i'd rate it 4.5 stars. It can seem difficult at first but
    after a few hours practicing i now find it too easy... can't wait for
    the 4th floor, great job guys i used to love the original game when i
    was a kid ! Hope you won't disapoint with the updates !