The geniuses at Kieffer Bros. have produced another game. It’s called Hyper Puck. Now you’re probably wondering what Hyper Puck is. I was too. Then I discovered it was the most manly thing on the App Store with the exception of some of the Mr. T soundboards, and perhaps… eh, I won’t go there. Hyper Puck mixes guns and air hockey. That’s right, guns and air hockey.
Upon installing Hyper Puck, you are met with a gorgeous menu with 2 buttons: more and play. The more button uses a stylish transition to open a tabbed view with 3 tabs: How To, Credits, and Settings. ‘How To’ gives a brief description of the objective of the game and how to play along with the game’s idiosyncrasies. We’ll get back to this later. ‘Credits’ shows a support email, copyright, and programming credits. Finally, the ‘Settings’ tab allows you to toggle Music and Sound Effects if they get irritating after awhile. They do. Let’s hit the back button in the top right corner.
In the play menu, you can select who you’re playing against: the computer, or another player on your wireless network. I don’t know anybody with Hyper Puck, so I had to hit computer. Upon selecting an opponent, you’ll be met with some game options where you can change which arena you’re using, how many pucks, what shaped pucks, mode, and the computer difficulty.
There are 2 arenas: Cryogen Inc., an icy blue arena based off of a cryogenic tank of some sort; and Shady Lanes, an arena inspired by a bowling alley. You can add up to 3 pucks to your game, with the available shapes being circle, triangle, and square. However, you can have more than one shape, so you are not forced to pick a certain shape for a puck. The available modes are Classic Deathmatch and Slow Motion. Slow Motion is simply Classic Deathmatch, just slowed down. The Computer has 3 difficulty levels: Easy, Medium, and Hard. I’m still on Easy.
Once finished with toggling the innumerable amount of settings, you are ready to get into the über-manly combination of guns and air hockey. Except it’s really polished looking, which doesn’t exactly exude manliness. I suppose that’s okay, seeing as each arena is detailed to a sheen, the reflection of the air hockey table’s lights gaze up at you from the table, all of the user interface elements are completely custom, the matte gradients are simply perfect, and the transitions are pretty stylish too. The only real issue I have with the user interface is the spinning wheel when a new game is loading. It’s ugly. It doesn’t fit with the game. Now that I’m finished drooling over Hyper Puck’s graphical prowess, we’re ready to move back to the actual game portion of this review!
To shoot, tap the screen, but more importantly, to aim, tap in the direction you want to shoot. You can shoot directly at the puck by tapping on the puck, but you can mix things up by shooting at the walls and using ricochets to your advantage. To move your gun left and right, use the accelerometer and tilt your device, you guessed it, right or left to move the gun right or left. The basic point is to get the puck(s) through the other guy’s goal 5 times, before they do it to you. You can check the scores by looking at the top left and right corners.
But there’s more! You have power ups! You get power ups by having one of your bullets hit the small coloured orbs floating about the arena. The power ups are a green ‘Hyper Shield’ and a blue ‘Triple Firepower.’ The ‘Hyper Shield’ blocks bullets, while ‘Triple Firepower’ gives you 3 bullets and spray all over the arena. Both only last for a very limited time, and you can only have 1 power up at once.
Now due to the fact that you have guns with unlimited ammo, the guns overheat when you’ve shot too much in a certain period of time. Then you start shooting slowly, which is kind of a drag, but I guess it limits the game so people aren’t constantly shooting at the puck and stuck in a complete deadlock. You could also stop shooting for a bit and let the overheat bar in the bottom left hand corner go all the way back.
Something that’s very nice about Hyper Puck is the pausing. If you turn the screen off, Hyper Puck automatically pauses the game for you. You can normally pause by hitting one of the score displays in the top left and right corners. However, Hyper Puck does not save your game if you were to exit say, for a phone call or an accidental press of the home button.
I haven’t had any crashes yet, which is quite nice. However, I would suggest that the Kieffer Bros. implement a timer into Hyper Puck, so you could try to beat your time of beating the opponent, which could lead into a high score system. A high score system could also be implemented on the amount of times you’ve beaten the opponent with win/loss records, etc.
Hyper Puck is a very nice, polished, initial release from the Kieffer Bros. While the graphics are absolutely gorgeous, gameplay is a little iffy. There’s little to no replay value, as you cannot compete with yourself and there isn’t some kind of achievement system, a la ngmoco games. I’d like to see the Kieffer Bros. really expand on this great concept. Music is also fantastic in this game. It’s well composed, kind of zany, but very well done. The sound effects of each gun shot gets very repetitive. It’s nice how you can turn the sound effects off though.
Hyper Puck retails for $1.99 in the US App Store and works on all devices with firmware 2.2.1 and above. The Kieffer Bros. have an excellent support service as well. When I discovered their website’s support image misspelled concerns, they replied within 24 hours with a nice thank you and a cheerful, erm… cheer. You can purchase Hyper Puck on iTunes.
Presentation and Graphics:
It’s pretty sweet. The only issue is the activity indicator.
The music is fantastic, but the sound effects are irritating. You can turn them off.
Gameplay & Controls:
It’s a little quirky, but overall the controls are fairly intuitive.
While there are difficulty levels, the replay value isn’t great.
Most $1.99 games are a little bit better. But there are also a lot that are far worse.
[rating:overall/10] Hyper Puck is a fun, inventive, and totally gnarly game that would screen epic manliness if it’s user interface was not so polished. The score does not reflect where the game is, as its main strengths are it’s quirky and inventive nature, which really can’t be put into any of the above categories, which I am required to use.
If you would like to look into Hyper Puck and the Kieffer Bros. any further (which I’m sure you are), check out the Hyper Puck website with screenshots, a video, overview, and more.