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Super Blood Hockey review for Nintendo Switch, PC


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also On: PC
Publisher: Digerati
Developer: Kittehface
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-4
Online: No
ESRB: M

Like a lot of people my age, I have very fond memories of playing Blades of Steel and the earliest NHL games (though I’m probably in the very small minority who preferred NHL ‘95 to NHL ‘94). As such, a game like Super Blood Hockey should theoretically appeal to me, seeing as it styles itself as an homage to the days of 8- and 16-bit hockey.

Unfortunately, “theoretical” is just about the only way to describe my love of Super Blood Hockey, since the reality is that I don’t like at all.

To some extent, this is because Super Blood Hockey adds in all kinds of little flourishes that make it less an homage to the early days of video game hockey, and more a pale imitation with a few too many knowing, modern nods. While, for example, fighting was definitely a big part of some of those older games (and certainly what some people remember most), it wasn’t almost literally all they had to offer, which seems to be the misconception under which this game labours. LIkewise, while the ability to trade and sign real players may have blown my young mind when I could do that in NHL ‘95, it’s less fun to play a game like this and have to build your roster from scratch, using your winnings to sign fairly interchangeable players.

And speaking of those winnings, they’re part of a broader story mode that tries to up the ante with extra violence and drugs. While I suppose it’s interesting to see some developers branch out from your standard career mode into something a little more narratively interesting, it ultimately feels more shoehorned in than anything else.

Super Blood Hockey’s biggest problem, though, is that the hockey here just isn’t very good. Skating feels floaty and weightless. All the players on both teams tend to bunch around the puck, which makes it feel more like a game of kids soccer than hockey. Shots go all over place, and are difficult to aim. Fights are common (as you’d expect from a game with “Blood” right in its title”), but can be won simply by button-mashing.

What I’m trying to get at here is that if you’re a Switch-owning hockey fan, and you were hoping that this game might fill the puck-shaped hole on Nintendo systems that’s existed ever since NHL 2K11 came out on the Wii…well, keep hoping, because this doesn’t do the trick. As it stands, you’re still better served with a Switch Online subscription and access to a 30-year-old Ice Hockey than by anything you’ll find here.

Digerati provided us with a Super Blood Hockey Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C-