Super Blood Hockey Review



Super Blood Hockey Review from r/JoyConReviews

Hockey experiences on the Nintendo Switch are pretty slim. You can play the NES Ice Hockey game if you have a Nintendo Switch Online membership, and while it’s an OK game, there really isn’t much meat on its bones. Thankfully, indie developer, Loren Lemcke, has brought a fleshed out, retro-styled hockey experience to the console. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time playing the game and would like to present you the joys of Super Blood Hockey.

Fun Retro Hockey Gameplay

Modern hockey video games tend to emulate the sport as closely as possible. Super Blood Hockey goes for less complex, yet still recognizable hockey action. Its arcade gameplay focuses on the basics, so you’ll be skating, passing, shooting, and fighting your opponents. You play with a team of four players and a goalie. Your offensive and defensive lineup can consist of any combination of playmaker, sniper, or enforcer. A playmaker is an all-around player with no significant advantages or disadvantages. A sniper is fast and has accurate shots, but doesn’t fare well in fights. An enforcer is your muscle, so they are hard to knock off the puck, they fare well in fights, but skate slower than the rest. All of this feels great and works better here than it did in the 80s.

Each of the face buttons is assigned its own action, so no need to worry about fancy stick control here. The main thing that makes Super Blood Hockey superior to its retro inspiration, is the ability to aim your passes and shots. This gives the player a better sense of control and allows for some strategic play. Your shots will bounce off the goalie, so you’ll need to stay sharp to keep up with the action. One thing you won’t need to worry about is breaking the rules. In fact, fighting is encouraged and rewards the player with a power play if they come out on top. Overall, the focus on a fast-paced, arcade-like hockey experience really works here and makes the game a ton of fun to play.

Franchise Mode is Excellent

Super Blood Hockey has multiple game modes to keep the player interested. You can try to win an eight team tournament in tournament mode, complete with a fancy bracket, or test your skills in challenge mode to unlock special conditions to create an over the top experience. However, the game’s franchise mode is the main event here.

In franchise mode, you get to be on both sides of the action. The mode starts by putting you in the coach role of an upcoming hockey team. As the team’s coach, your first job will be to build a team by purchasing “inmates” with a limited budget. You can purchase up to 16 players, but you’ll need some cashflow first. You get cash by winning games, so you’ll also be playing through a month long season of hockey with the team you build. This franchise mode is actually much deeper than you’d think for a retro hockey game and doubles as an RPG-like experience.

Players have a number of stats that need monitoring, and as a coach, you’ll be responsible for giving players tasks to improve those stats. You may need to adjust their diet to get them to a healthy weight, or tell them to run on the treadmill to increase their skating speed. Players can also suffer brain damage when getting into fights, so you’ll need to keep them healthy by telling them to hit the showers, or providing them with cannabis to speed up the healing process. You can also buy some other substances to tinker with your players’ stats, but that could result in an early meeting with the grim reaper. Player stats will also improve upon completing certain actions on the ice. For example, your accuracy will improve by either making passes to other players, or taking shots at the net. It can take a season to build a strong team, so don’t fret if you’re in trouble early on.

I really enjoy playing franchise mode and intend to keep playing until I can secure the game’s top trophy. The depth was surprising and I was shocked when my first player died on the ice. You get attached to these guys, so it’s sad when you lose a team member. Permadeath isn’t something you think of when playing hockey games. Managing your team can be a little overwhelming at times, but it’s rewarding once you get the hang of it. Franchise mode, as well as every other mode in the game can be played with up to 4 players, so this is an experience you can enjoy for years to come.

Great Sense of Humor

Super Blood Hockey has a great sense of humor and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the reason the game ends up with a cult following. You can see the humor in the game’s pixelated graphics, which includes steamy shower scenes, emotive players, and over the top brawls. The game also puts you in some interesting situations like when a player leaves the game with a strained nipple, or the debate on whether or not to pull the plug on said player. The humor even stretches to players that have names such as Simon Loony and Dylan Beavertail.

Groovy Soundtrack

Super Blood Hockey sports a groovy soundtrack composed by Shawn Daley. Its frenetic sound is perfect for the fast-paced action of hockey. There are multiple chiptunes that play during gameplay and the track will change after every whistle, which is a nice touch. Fighting also has its own theme song, as it should considering the game puts a lot of emphasis on brawling.

Conclusion

Super Blood Hockey may very well be my favorite indie game of 2019. It gives retro hockey gameplay a boost in the arm and really impresses with the depth of its franchise mode. It also features great humor and a catchy chiptune soundtrack.

Final Score: +4

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