REVIEW: Super Blood Hockey - Nintendo Switch
Super Blood Hockey has recently released onto the Nintendo Switch, after originally launching through Steam. With the push onto consoles, the title has received multiple tweaks and additions, but does this fist swinging, kidney stealing, blood-bath give life to old school hockey?
My short and sweet answer to that question is yes. If you came to this review looking to know if you should pick up this swift little indie title, the answer again is yes. With this out of the way, I'll actually explain these answers with a full review. Pop your mouthguard in, you're going to need it.
Let's cover the general gameplay of the title. "Retro-esc" (Ret-esc?) is a common choice for independent creators, with not a lot of them really pulling it off correctly or managing to make the style work well. SBH however is an absolute example of how to nail it. Both the pixelated imagery/graphics and sound style are not only nostalgic, but don't feel forced or out of place. From the slight movement of the background in the menu screen to red pixels spurting off downed players and flecks of darker white as a player bumps around the ice, it never feels like it's forcing the choice of art style in your face, it just feels natural.
Not only does the styling flow, but the handling of the main core of the title, Ice Hockey, both sticks to the thematic choice from the creator and is a joy whilst playing. There isn't anything complex to this Ice Hockey game, no duking, wrist shots or anything to that extent. If you want that, go pick up NHL (which I'm not bashing, as per my previous review, NHL 19 is a great realistic Ice Hockey title). It's as simple as punch, pass, points. 4 easy buttons (which I have to admit, the button layout took a game or two to feel natural) make it easy to just jump in and figure out how to play. Even with a very simplistic approach however, it feels satisfying as hell to play. Each passing play resulting in a goal gives a little animation of the team celebrating on the ice, 'checking' players too much results in a fight, a full team vs team brawl which can result in a player on the losing side dying, and gliding about on the ice all are fantastic highlights.
The title has a hand-full of game modes (exhibition, tournament, etc), but transitioning from PC to Switch (and PS4 to come), there has been an introduction of Franchise mode. Just like the rest of the game, it's bloody and funny. Not only that, in my opinion it’s the absolute highlight of SBH. You start off as a brand new coach, trying to set up a new team. Lacking the funds to do so, you're offered an interesting finance plan. One which you don't have a choice in. After such you wake up in a small bunker, fully equipped to run a hockey team. A serious of cots to sleep your players, an injury ward for recovering major issues, a shower room to recover brain damage (logical), a gym to train up certain stats, a kitchen which gives you full control over your players diets (over-feed them for some bulky boys) and of course, a dark alleyway to buy drugs, the typical high end hockey setup. After thinking I'd play this for 5-6 games to get a feel for it, I'm a good 30 games deep and loving every second.
To summarise again, this is a great game. For those who just want a little fun title to pick up every now and then to those who want to push a fair few hours in, Super Blood Hockey is an easy pick up. I'll say it one more time, if you're reading this to decide whether to buy this or not, why didn't you listen the first time. Go buy it before myself and the rest of the 'Dangerous Doddies' give you a severely injured ego on the ice.