The following article was originally produced for the site Nindie Nexus! They’ve had to move hosting sites, so all of my content will be uploaded on both my blog and their new site. They’re some of the most passionate players I know. Please go support them!
Super Blood Hockey combines virtual sports, and virtual murder, my two favorite things! Well, when you ignore 20 other things they are. I don’t play many sports titles, especially hockey. I do play lots of “murder simulators” as my elders call ’em. When I first heard about Super Blood Hockey, it had me intrigued. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to get to it before. When I found out Digerati was publishing a Switch port, I knew I had to get in on it. Let’s find out if Super Blood Hockey is just as boring as the base sport, or gripping at all!
Developer: Loren Lemcke
Publisher: Digerati Distribution
5 Hours Played // Review Copy Provided // $14.99
The basic gameplay loop of Super Blood Hockey is rather entertaining. You can switch between players, pass, punch, and shoot. Depending on how you charge your shot, you can knock-down, or injure opposing players. During a match, you can trigger a full blown team fight. To me, these felt sort of like top-down beat ’em up sections. The team that wins a fight, causes injury to the other teams players. When playing casually, this can be a minute one player low. When playing in the franchise mode, this can be the death of one of your star players.
Super Blood Hockey attempts to catch your eye with the violence, but it grips you with it’s solid gameplay. The game looks straight out of the Sega Genesis era. There is a specific type of feeling you get watching a game like this. Something that feels both disturbing, and creative. Personally, the presentation of Super Blood Hockey is charming in a way I don’t experience from other games that try to capture this style.
There is a lot more to unpack than the surface hockey gameplay. Franchise mode allows you to build a team, and manage it across Hockey seasons. You get a calander to tell you when games are, a base of $10,000, and a computer to hire players. Personally, I couldn’t get into the micro-managing mind-set of franchise mode. Franchise seems like a thing many would buy Super Blood Hockey exclusively for.
Other than running a franchise, you can set up tournaments, and do special challenge matches. Tournament mode is pretty self-explanatory, so I’ll be skimming over it. Challenge matches can range from winning while controlling the goalie manually, to winning while only playing one player. These challenge matches unlock extra options for you to play around with. I found them decent time-sinks, even if I didn’t find the reward worth the trouble.
Something that got on my nerves a lot while playing were the menus you navigate. They felt confusing and oddly bland. I’d press buttons and hear noises, but sometimes it didn’t even effect anything. I think removing the noise would do a lot to help. “Less is more”, especially when you’re micro-managing a sports team.
Super Blood Hockey is local multiplayer only. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get into playing with CPUs. Sometimes, they were too stupid to pass properly, and others they were making TAS Speedrun plays. I only had fun when I was able to play with friends. Unfortunately, I can’t always do that, and neither can the people this game is targeting. An online function would be appreciated, but I can’t really fault the developers for not including one.
At the end of the day Super Blood Hockey is an arcade hockey game with lots of blood. If you’re not into micro-management, the only thing left to hook you is the base gameplay. Even then, I hope you have friends to play with. Super Blood Hockey easily earns the Nindie Nexus full heart. I’ll enjoy bringing this out at get-together’s, and probably no other time. Fortunately, I know it’ll be a hit at those get-together’s.