I love hockey games. I’m not typically the biggest sports game fan, but when it comes to the virtual version of my favorite sport, I’m a sucker. The NHL series is repetitive, but fun, and I’ve been itching to have a hockey game to play on the go. Seeing as FIFA has found its way to the Nintendo Switch, I was hoping to someday see the NHL games ported to the console. I’m learning now not to hold my breath. The truth is, soccer is the most universally loved sport in the world, and it makes complete sense why FIFA would be the only major sports title to be ported over to the Switch. Though I still hope by some miracle we’ll get the NHL games on the go, for now I’ll settle for a fun indie arcade hockey game called Super Blood Hockey.
I initially only bought the game because I was desperate to have a hockey game on the Switch. Sports games are fun to me because you can play single, isolated games, and be in and out of the experience quickly—or if you’d rather play a lengthy tournament, you have that option as well. When I’m in the mood for fast and simple fun, I always fire up a sports title to satisfy my craving. Super Blood Hockey is designed for exactly this type of gameplay urge. The arcade stylization allows for absurd physics and quickly-paced action. There’s no rules or regulations to slow you down—anything goes in this game. Those who are acquainted with the early-2000s masterpiece NHL Hitz will be familiar with this type of sports game; which favors a fun and exciting gameplay experience over accurate simulation.
You can choose to play solo exhibition matches or tournament play, and the game allows up to four players. The CPU can also offer a fair challenge to those who are flying solo. The graphics are a retro throwback and contain a surprising amount of violence for such a colorful, vibrant game. But of course a game called Super Blood Hockey has to be a little brutal. The game lives up to its name with fighting being an active component of the gameplay, and not just an occasional spat with another player. Super Blood Hockey actually encourages the player to engage with the rival team, and will reward you with an advantage if your team manages to successfully win one of the bench-clearing brawls that pop up during a game.
The controls are basic, but do require some finesse. You have to really work your angles to score, and placement of players on the ice is crucial. There are individual classes that represent a different type of skillset. You have your snipers who are made for scoring, your enforcers who are made for defending, and your balanced players who are capable of doing both. This allows for a bit more customization than you’d expect from a throwback arcade game, and these elements help elevate Super Blood Hockey from a basic indie game to a strategic sports experience. For these reasons, I find the game to be quite accessible to both avid sports game fans, and people who don’t typically play this sort of game. It’s fun, it’s fast, it’s bloody, and most importantly… it’s portable! Of course the game is available on all the other major consoles as well, but the Switch alone has the luxury of taking Super Blood Hockey on the move. You can pick up this indie sports gem in the Switch store today, and I can’t recommend it enough.
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