Even though I don’t fully understand its rules, hockey is a sport that I’ve been always interested in. The fast-paced games in a cold rink have a special magic that always caught my eyes in movies or cartoons… I don’t know but maybe this interest came from a cartoon from the 90s, Disney’s Mighty Ducks (yes, I was a kid who grew up watching Disney cartoons) or the homonymous movie. Anyway, that’s why I enjoy hockey games so much. Especially arcade hockey games like the one I’m reviewing for you now.
From the Finnish indie developer Loren Lemcke and published by Digerati, I introduce you to Super Blood Hockey, the pixel art old-school hockey game released in 2017 that has just received a version for Xbox One for our joy! Choose your favorite team, put on your equipment and enter the rink for a bloody good and old arcade match!
- Easy to pick: Playing Super Blood Hockey is very easy. There aren’t those complicated controls and strategies you may have experienced when trying a licensed simulator from one of the big companies (well, chances you played are high since NHL 2019 was one of the Games with Gold in May). Here we have commands only for passing, shooting and putting, plus a button to change the player you’re in control. You can hold the pass or shoot buttons for a stronger hit (that can knock down other players in the trajectory of the puck – which is very useful, keep that in mind;). You can opt for manually controlling the goalkeeper, but this bastard already does a good job by himself (well, at least when I’m trying to score) so I recommend focusing your efforts in the other four players of your team, because…
- This game is hard to master! I’m not kidding! You will eventually find a way to overcome the adversary defense… Just to stop at the goalkeeper. You will try to do quick and smart plays… just to be blocked by the defense of the other team. You will try your long shots and try to score on rebounds… but the opponent will almost never fall for it. And use it all against you! I think it’s great that I couldn’t find an exploit in the game and take advantage of it, like most arcade sports games have. You will always need to play smart to win these matches. Try watching some Gretzky’s videos to remember some tricks and simulate them here to win these games!
- Game modes: Besides, the usual Exhibitions, you can try the tutorial to learn how to play (and some tactics), play in Tournaments (with different endings, be it winning or losing, for each team), accomplish the Challenges, with very specific conditions (like winning a 12 vs 12 game) that unlock some modifications in other modes, and the Franchise mode (a game mode nobody saw it coming) that works as a career mode from the perspective of the coach. If it’s not adding value to the game, I don’t know how to name it.
- Playing with friends? Yes, please! What would be sports games without the option to play with friends? For those of you who answered Golf… well, you’re probably right. But that isn’t the case in here! You can play Super Blood Hockey with up to three friends in co-op or versus and this is bloody funny!
- Visually and bloody funny: Although with simple visuals, the pixel graphics of the game do a good job. Especially the animations of the characters, be it celebrating a goal, bleeding on the ice after a fight or celebrating the victory of the tournament (with some very special guests like Psy dancing Gangnam Style! What? You don’t see the similarity? C’mon, use your imagination!) But some other times things feel a little… meaningless (like the characters struggling to enter the locker room during the interval). The humor was a nice addition to the game, but the over simplistic visuals weighted on the bad side of the balance for me this time. You always play in the exact same rink, with merely three variations of characters which differ only in height and width. The menus have a nice retro touch, but I feel it lacks something to be more special or, at least, above average.
- Sound: Being simple isn’t a bad thing. It’s just a missed opportunity to try to do something remarkable. That’s what I felt about the game audio. The music is ok. As much as the sound effects, aiming to emulate the retro experience the game proposes. But again, missing that special seasoning to add a special flavor to it.
- No online multiplayer: You can enjoy this game in the company of your friends. But only in local co-op. Players who don’t have friends to play with will surely miss a great part of the fun of this game.
Super Blood Hockey is a fun and challenging game for those who love a good hockey match or those, like me, who don’t understand its rules and just want to have some fun with it! The simplistic art style used in the game, while not bad, may still obfuscate some of its bright. But rest assured that it is nonetheless a bloody fun game!
Developer: Loren Lemcke / Kittehface Software Publisher: Digerati
Played on: Xbox One X Also available on: PC, PS4, Switch
Time to beat: A wild guess between 8 and 10 hours
Achievement difficulty for 1000 Gamerscore: Grindy… winning one hundred matches will take like forever!
Perfect for: Those who like hockey
Xbox Game Store link: Click here
With a history of gaming that goes from his old man’s Atari 2600 to his Xbox One, Rafael or RAF687, our Brazilian editor, has a love for games as old as he can remember. He has already spent countless hours in many consoles (Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Saturn, PS1, PS2 and Xbox 360) and is always ready for more (as long as his wife is asleep). Raf has been writing for LifeisXbox since 2017, with a passion for games of almost all genres – though we know he has a special place in his heart for RPGs, racing games and anything that includes pixel art. Writing about games has always been a childhood dream to Raf, dream that he has fulfilled reviewing games for you here. You can drop him a message at Twitter, Facebook or Xbox Live at any time.