Friday, April 26

Review: Super Blood Hockey [Nintendo Switch eShop]


While back in the day I was a consistent hockey fan when there were a variety of options out there, my favorites being Blades of Steel and the classic Mutant League Hockey, ever since the greatness of NHL ‘94 from EA (which absolutely was awesome) it’s a video game genre I’ve lost interest in. When I saw screenshots of Super Blood Hockey they did catch my attention though, a return to some simpler joys and even a bit of silliness were a welcome thought. While it does deliver some thrills, blood, and fun on a budget, longer term I’d say it would be best played with a friend rather than solo.


For anyone who has played the classic Ice Hockey on the NES (or on Nintendo Online, where it’s currently available) the general idea is easy to understand. You’ll be working a 3-on-3 plus goalies, and you’ll have the option of 3 different classes of players to work with, essentially small, medium and large. Working your pass and shots directionally you’ll be able to string together some smart play, and until you work out a solid plan of attack the AI goalies do a respectable job of stopping you.


To throw in some old school on-the-ice violence you can (and will) get into fights, where you’ll simply try to pummel the other team’s players more quickly than they take yours out. The winner of the brawl then gets a power play as one member of the losing team lays twitching in a pool of his own blood on the ice. In particular this sort of thing works best when playing with (up to 3) friends, just be sure to keep the excitement in the game itself.


In order to give the game longer legs for people playing solo there’s a franchise mode as well but my main comment on it would be to be ready to be patient. Building up your team from scratch is a bit of a rough road early on as you’re cash-strapped and will need to make some tough decisions on who to recruit and how to build them up early on. Expect some frustration with that as players need to fight off injuries and your budget will constrain you, but credit to the developer for trying to put in some value added content if people want to invest the time. Personally, I just like starting up an Exhibition or a Tournament and simply enjoying some on-ice excitement.


While Super Blood Hockey is hardly bad, and there’s certainly fun to be had with it (especially if you play with a friend), it doesn’t do much to rise above or even get to the same level of depth of some other classics depending on what games you’re familiar with. Jumping in to get in some goals and bloody up the ice can still be fun, just don’t expect a lot more than that. The franchise mode attempts to add some depth but that doesn’t change the on-ice action, it just throws in a management layer and some challenging decisions to be made if you’re struggling to put points on the board. If you keep your expectations in check, it’s a reasonably fun time.

Score: 6.5

Pros:
  • Some great old school gameplay, with blood
  • Quite a lot of fun to play with friends locally
  • For people seeking more and a challenge Franchise Mode is an option

Cons:
  • The more you play solo the more you’ll learn how to exploit the AI
  • Doesn’t do much to stand apart from the classics that inspired it