Super Blood Hockey Review | Nintendo Switch
Review - Super Blood Hockey
As many of you who follow the Nintendo Dads are aware, I am a big sports game fan. I really enjoy my classic sports games on the NES and SNES/Sega Genesis, so when the Dads asked me if I wanted to review the new Super Blood Hockey for the Nintendo Switch, I was excited.
A lot of what I write about on the Nintendo Dads blog is family oriented, how to connect with your kids playing retro games etc., but this isn't going to be one of those posts. Super Blood Hockey is rated Mature 17+ for Blood, Violence and Use of Drugs. I get the first two, but I haven't played the game long enough to see the drug use.
I booted up the game and starting with the tutorial. The tutorial is essentially you are trying out for the hockey team, with a coach that may remind some players of the coaches they hated growing up. The tutorial lets you know this isn't an easy game. The coach walks you through the elements of the game and you are required to complete them before you can start playing for real.
After the tutorial I played a few exhibition games. Here are some general thoughts:
What I liked
The game has a retro, 8-bit art style that older players will enjoy.
The game takes a lot of inspiration from NES hockey games I grew up like Blades of Steel and Ice Hockey. As in Ice Hockey players choose from a selection of hockey playing countries as your team. Once you choose your team you choose the makeup of your 4-player line. You select from 4 player types, sniper, playmaker and enforcer, which is very familiar to the Ice Hockey light, medium and heavy skaters.
Another element the game brings in from Ice Hockey is fighting. All the players on the ice get into a brawl, and the team that loses the fight is short a player while their player recovers lying on the ice.
The game will also bring up some feelings of nostalgia for the fans of Blades of Steel on the NES. The animations for the opening of the game and intermissions are very similar with the teams coming on to the ice, taking the pre-game skate and the Zamboni coming out to clean the ice during the intermissions. The game puts a slight twist of some of these elements with the Zamboni running over the referee to add some extra violence to the game.
Along with these elements, the controls of the game are reminiscent of the hockey games I grew up with. The controls are straightforward and simple, with one button for pass, one for shoot, one for check and one to change the player you are controlling.
What I didn't like
While I generally enjoyed playing the game, the tutorial was correct, this is a difficult game. If you are playing against the computer, you should expect to lose a lot at the beginning. The lowest difficulty setting in the game is Easy (the others being Medium, Hard, Very Hard and Pro). I lost all 5 games I played on this setting. Goal scoring was the most difficult part of the game. The opposing goalie has great reflexes and is able react quickly to save your shots. Otherwise I found myself missing the net. The most frustrating part of the game is peppering the opposing goalie with 10+ shots and immediately surrendering a goal right after.
The premise of the game being a super bloody version of hockey didn't really add much to it. You can choose the amount of blood to have in the game, but it didn't have much impact on gameplay. The 8-bit graphics just made the blood look like confetti all over the ice.
I really wish the game had taken inspiration from other retro hockey games and really leaned into the violence. I know Marty Estes is a huge fan of Mutant League Hockey for the Sega Genesis. This classic hockey game included the ability to beat up opposing players, and when their energy meter emptied, the player would be killed and unable to continue playing. If a team lost too many players, the game would end due to forfeit. Super Blood Hockey not incorporating that into the game seems like a lost opportunity.
With the difficultly such as it is, I really think this game is better played in multiplayer mode, which is why I was a little disappointed there isn't an online component to the game. As a father of young children, I am not going to play this with them, and I don't have anyone else in the house who will enjoy this. Worst off, I downloaded the game on a Nintendo Switch Lite, so I don't even have the chance to play this on my television, yet.
In the end, this is a hockey game that will scratch the hockey/sports fans itch for play on the Nintendo Switch, and for $4.49 in the Nintendo eShop, it isn't a huge hit. I wouldn't call this game a must play for anyone.
My score for Super Blood Hockey is a 5/10.
I want to thank the Nintendo Dads for providing the review copy of the game and allowing me to be part of the Nintendo Dads family.