Considering that we’re in the middle of the NHL playoffs, it couldn’t be a better time for a new hockey video game to be coming out. Luckily, there’s a charming little title from Loren Lemcke on its way in the form of Super Blood Hockey, which is a fantastic homage to the 8 and 16-bit eras of video game hockey.
In fact, it’s a love letter, albeit on steroids, to the iconic Ice Hockey game for the NES. This is due to its retro-visuals and chiptune soundtrack, but also due to the gameplay, which is mostly spot on to what you may have experienced in NES Ice Hockey if you grew up during the 80’s or 90’s.
You can control a team of players that are either large enforcers, medium-sized all around skill guys, or the super-slim sniper variant. The beefy boys are slower moving, but are nearly impossible to take down with a check, while the medium dudes provide the best overall mix of skills. Then you have the slim Jims, who are lighting fast, but are made out of paper, so they get knocked out very easily.
Speaking of getting knocked out, one of the biggest differences between Super Blood Hockey, and NES Ice Hockey, is the violence and gore. Super Blood Hockey is all about giblets flying, full team fights, and gruesome injuries. In fact, the only way to get a power play is to injure an opposing player during a fight if one kicks off, and when they do, it’s a full team affair as you have to punch out every opposing player to win the fight.
This game also has plenty of modes to keep things interesting. You can obviously play by yourself in the game’s Tournament, Exhibition, Franchise, or Challenge modes, or with up to three other players for some local multiplay. The Franchise mode is fully fleshed out, and plays out almost like The Sims had a retro game baby with NES Ice Hockey. You have to train, feed, and heal your players between games, which in turn will build their stats. You do all of this in a training center that you could literally spend hours in just managing your team as if your were their God if you wanted to.
I played the Tournament mode the most, because it reminded me of the retro hockey games I used to play, but I really enjoyed the bananas Challenge mode, which features crazy game types to explore. These included a 12v12 super match, or a turbo charged mode that features much faster gameplay across the board.
Super Blood Hockey truly is everything a fan of retro hockey video games could ask for. Its clear NES Ice Hockey inspirations are too nostalgic to pass up for older gamers, and I urge younger ones to give this style of hockey game a go, because while it offers a challenge, it doesn’t require hours of your time to get into like a full on, modern day NHL simulator. The over-the-top gore is funny and adds some wrinkles to the gameplay, and the various modes will keep you busy as you hone your skills. It’s a great value at $14.99 for any of its available platforms. Although, I’d recommend the Switch, because it’s a great game to play on the go.
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