It’s funny how nostalgia works, primarily as a mixture of poor memory and a fondness for when life was in a good place for you. I don’t remember looking back with a sense of nostalgia on anything I hated or disliked, and nostalgia can also cloud your judgement on how things actually are, as opposed to how they “were”. In video games, we look on a lot of the back catalogues with nostalgia as opposed to realistic critique, as generally games have improved either in terms of gameplay or graphics and with most generations we get the latest shiny versions for us to gush over.
Super Blood Hockey reminds me ridiculously so of the Megadrive/Genesis darling EA Hockey, in all the ways that the game for me, was the purest form of the game of hockey I remember. Blocky graphics with pixel perfection animation were the central focus for a game where two of you would crowd around the small television, looking to face off with each other and have the occasional bout of fisticuffs. In Super Blood Hockey, the blood, the fights and the overall action have been dialled up a notch, but thankfully not at the expense of the purity of the action of smacking the puck into the back of the net.
The game controls surprisingly well in practice, and my trepidation of playing a hockey game after so long was quickly put to bed as I got on with the task of getting my behind handed to me repeatedly by the pixel cute team opposition, while pixel blood splattered the ice as fights broke out between players. I ended up smiling really quickly within the first five minutes of play, as the controls are simple to get to grips with. In fact, you’re only really going to be passing and shooting, with the occasional fight thrown in.
One of the stranger aspects of the game, is the simulation mode, where you are in charge of a group of prisoners, and playing hockey well needs to be done like the inmate’s lives depend on it. You look after them on a day to day basis and take care of their needs and try to manage their stats while doping them up with whatever drugs you can find. While I can see how this might appeal to others, what starts off as an exercise in trying to hone and develop the team, can slowly drag down into an overwhelming statistical mini-game that can take up an unnecessary large amount of time. I kind of see where the development team were going with it, as trying to make it so it was close to any real leagues might have drawn them dangerously close to a face-off with Hockey lawyers. Please don’t get me wrong, it’s a welcome distraction if you’ve got little going on and fancy sinking time into some slight team management, but for me, it was something I found hard to gel with.
What is welcome is the various other modes on offer, from exhibition matches to local play (Hurrah!!) as well as the frankly outrageously fun challenge mode, that sets up differing scenarios depending on your mood and are just simply condensed fun with a huge chunk of ice thrown in. It gives Super Blood Hockey that extra bit of longevity and with a few friends on the couch, it really can transport you back to the days of cartridges and wired controller and shouting and fun.
Super Blood Hockey is an excellent fun game, dripping with pixel laughs and doesn’t take itself too seriously. If you are looking for something different than the usual franchise roll-out of the normal hockey games available, treat yourself and pick this up. It hits the back of the net.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Super Blood Hockey Review
Gameplay - 8/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Replay Value - 8/10
User Review( votes)
Super Blood Hockey is an excellent fun game, dripping with pixel laughs and doesn’t take itself too seriously.