Game Review #304: Super Blood Hockey (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Chad M.
Developer: Loren Lemcke
Category: Action, Arcade, Multiplayer, Sports
Release Date: 4.26.2019
Price (at time of review): $14.99
Buy Super Blood Hockey from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
Hockey Finally Makes Its Way to Switch
It seems that almost every sport has found its way onto the Switch. Traditional football has FIFA, baseball has the RBI series, basketball has the 2k series, wrestling has the horrible ported 2k version, and there are tons of other sports, from BMX, skateboarding, motocross, and more racing games than you can imagine. I was going to say American football hasn’t been brought over to the Switch, but there is the Mutant Football League game, and I won’t be surprised if we see more options as time goes by, with Switch being such a powerhouse in sales growth.
But, the one sport I haven’t seen yet was hockey—especially no NHL games at all—which is surprising, as I think it would sell like hotcakes in certain parts of the world. Then comes a developer based in Oulu, Finland named Loren Lemcke, who has a passion for arcade games of the 80s and 90s, and previously developed Over 9000 Zombies!. Loren’s sophomore effort is the game we are checking out today, Super Blood Hockey, which is a nostalgic throwback to arcade classics of old—with a bloody addition.
Franchise Fees Will Be Paid In Blood
I’m not used to sports games having a storyline, let alone one like Super Blood Hockey, though in the last several years, they have started to implement career/story mode into games like FIFA and Madden. SBH takes place in an alternate future where blood sports are the new normal, and you are here to coach a team in the “Super Blood League”.
You go before the committee in which there are guards who have guns to people’s heads—which makes any business negotiation a tad stressful. You choose which country you want to represent and then name your team—mine was “BAD MOTHER PUCKERS”. From there, you only have one slight commitment as coach of your new team: you have to pay your admission into the league with one of your kidneys. Yes, that’s right, they surgically remove a kidney, which should show you this isn’t your typical sports game!
From here, you get allotted a small amount of money to build your team by recruiting inmates from a prison. You have to pick everyone up on the team, including your goalie, and they even allow you to grab a couple of reserve players, just in case injuries—or worse—occur; and if you forfeit games because of a lack of players, then you’ll be terminated and lose the game.
Once you have your players, you begin to hand out work regimens to them, like treadmill runs to get faster, and/or lifting weights to get stronger. This will also be implemented in their food plans, as you want the enforcers to bulk up and be stronger, and the playmaker shooters to be leaner and quicker. You can also have them take showers to help injuries heal quicker. All of these elements give the game a sim-style feel, with very small bits of RPG elements.
Going to the calendar in the main office allows you to see when games are, and also allows you to go into a game when the day comes. By winning games, you’ll make more money to add to your team’s bank account. All of this made the experience that much more fun, and really added a lot to the overall value that I didn’t even expect to be included.
5 Minute Penalty For Decapitation
The controls for SBH are smooth, tight, and very simple. You use the left stick to move, buttons to pass, shoot, and check/hit opposing players, and bumper button to switch players. Now, off the start, I wish there was a turbo button or a juke button, but they decided to leave that out, going for stripped-down simple approach, which isn’t a bad thing, and makes it feel very old-school arcade-like. The ice has the slippery sliding feel you’d also expect from the old-school games, as there’s no direct stop or precision moves. Also, they took the rule book and shredded that thing to pieces, as there are no rules, only who can outscore the other.
So, when you are left without the ability to finesse a goal, you have to use brute force; and my goodness, it becomes so glorious watching the blood splatter all over the place—and yes, you can go into options and turn the blood all the way up to excessive. Hitting the same player over and over can cause a brawl, and I mean brawl, not a fight, as the entire team will break out into fisticuffs; but all this takes a toll on the body, and players can be injured and even killed, so let’s make sure we keep those reserves ready!
Be warned, the goalie AI is god-like, as it seemed like nothing could get by him at times. Speaking of the AI, the players on my team seemed to just go wherever most time with no rhyme or reason, which was something I wish was done better, as I would get frustrated when they clumped up. Thankfully, there is an up to 4 player couch co-op mode, which adds a lot for me, as having the availability to challenge friends—or even better, to join up together—was so much fun. Aside from the franchise mode, you have the standard exhibition mode and the tournament mode, in which you play until you lose or win the tournament. Be careful though, because if you lose, you’ll be murdered and turned into sausage links—yeah, that’s not a joke. There are also online leaderboards to check in on and compare.
Audio & Visuals
The soundtrack—which can also be purchased separately—pumps out music that is a nostalgic affair and is very well-done. The sound effects are all great, and nothing is quite like the chunky thudding sound of bashing your opponent’s face in. The visuals are what you’d expect to find in an arcade in the late 80s, with cartoony pixel art that is even more hysterical when the screen is flooded with red pixel-blood all over the ice.
It’s A Wrap!!!
Super Blood Hockey is a fun game with a lot of nostalgic arcade feel; and though it has a few shortcomings, the overall value is well worth the purchase. You can jump in for a couple quick games or make it a party game that will be a blast, either knocking your friends around or jumping into the franchise mode and coaching your team to victory. Either way, you’ll have a blast with this one in your collection.
Buy Super Blood Hockey from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
Follow Loren Lemcke
*Review Code Provided by Digerati