I think I speak for many people that the Nintendo Switch has been severely lacking in hockey themed games. As a Canadian I’ve been sad to see our national sport have nothing to show for on my favorite console. So when I heard Super Blood Hockey was coming to the Nintendo Switch, I knew I would have to pick it up. So let’s drop the puck and see just how bloody and brutal this hockey game is
Super Blood Hockey is a 2D hockey action title that’s story is encompassed into one of its game modes. The franchise mode sees you creating your own hockey team of inmates in an attempt to win the championship. It’s a strange little story that doesn’t have a lot of depth, but it’s a fitting narrative considering what the game centers around.
Super Blood Hockey uses a traditional 3 on 3 formula for every match. Each team also has a goalie that is controlled by the AI. The controls are very simple you pass, shoot, and check, and that’s it. Checking is a little bit more gruesome than your average hockey game, however. When you check another player you’ll send them to the ground in a pool of blood. In fact, pretty much every time you touch another player it’ll end in bloodshed. If things get too aggressive a fight will break out among both teams. In this hockey game you’re actually, rewarded for fighting. If you win the fight the other team is short a player for the rest of the match. I enjoyed the simplistic controls as they didn’t make things too complicated, but maybe the options for some cool trick shots or something would have been a nice addition.
Whichever player currently has the puck will be the one you’re in control, that is, unless you want to play with friends. Yes, there is local co-op, for up to 4 players and it’s definitely what this game was built around. You can all join together and play against the AI or pit yourself against each other and split the teams. It’s definitely one of the better local experiences on Nintendo Switch and I can see a lot of fun being had (especially if you grab a few drinks while you’re playing). My only wish was that there was an added online multiplayer mode, because that would have been a ton of fun.
There’s a few different game modes, available in Super Blood Hockey. Exhibition mode will let you pick a country and play a quick game. Tournament mode lets you set up a bracket and play through a few matches to determine a winner. It’s also possible to customize the games as well, so if you only want short 1 minute periods you can do that. Now if you’re looking for a bit more depth to the gameplay, then you got lucky, because there’s franchise mode.
Franchise mode starts you off with a small amount of cash to build up your team. You purchase inmates for your team and each one as their own stats, position, and size. It’s important to create a balanced team, because you don’t want a bunch of the same players. If your team is full of smaller players they will have a hard time standing against anyone who’s bigger. Matches will pop pup on your calendar and everyone you win nets you some cash. My main issue with franchise mode was the balancing. Your teams overall will usually be lower than the opposing team even though you can train your players. That was alright, but the real problem were the fight sequences. Multiple fights can happen in one game and if you lose them you’re not only handicapped for that one match. No your player will be injured and sidelined for a few games. So, because you have such limited funds it’s hard to go out and buy new players if you lose 2 or more characters in a short period of time. I would like to see a balance patch to make franchise mode a bit more lenient on the player. It’s still an enjoyable mode, but can become quite frustrating
Super Blood Hockey has extras in the form of challenges. Challenges will have certain rules set, but by beating them you can unlock new customizable settings. There’s some pretty cool new settings to unlock, like player controlled goalies and halving the size of all characters. Very few games allow you to unlock new settings and I think it’s a really nice addition. There’s also global Leaderboards as well that keeps track of top stats like who’s scored the most goals, or who had the most violent game. Unfortunately, there’s no cosmetics or new locations or anything like that to unlock. While Super Blood Hockey has a healthy amount of content, I can’t help, but feel it should have had more for players to unlock. Without an online mode and the frustrations of franchise mode I can see players who want to play on their own having a tough time keeping themselves interested.
The pixelated art style that Super Blood Hockey uses works pretty well with the gameplay. The character models look nice, but a little simplistic. The whole visual style is fairly standard pixel style and that’s fine, because it looks good. Sound design is a good retro tune, but nothing that’ll keep players overly interested in it.
I had no problems with Super Blood Hockey in handheld or docked mode. Frame rate managed to stay steady, with no significant frame rate drops. Resolution was fine and the game look great on the big screen and small screen.
Overall, I’m happy that that the first hockey game that’s come to the Nintendo Switch is a solid experience. There’s a ton of fun to be had with some friends, and plenty of cool settings to change around and experiment with. While the franchise mode is a nice addition, I can’t help, but feel it lacks a bit of polish. The single player aspects of Super Blood Hockey are generally lacking and I wish there would have been a bit more content for those who prefer to play solo. Super Blood Hockey is a solid game and a great experience, if you have some friends to play with. If you’re going to be mostly playing this on your own, your enjoyment with it may vary.
Great Local Co-Op Experience
Franchise Mode is a Nice Addition
Cool Unlockable Settings
Simple Hockey Gameplay
Single Player Content is Lacking
Lacking in Cosmetic Customization & Needs More Unlockables