We all know that hockey can be a brutal sport, right? Well, if the name wasn’t a giveaway, Super Blood Hockey takes that brutality and amps it up tenfold by allowing players to leave their opponents in bloody messes across the rink, all whilst still trying to score some epic goals from all over the place. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Whilst Super Blood Hockey prides itself on its violence though, it also proves to offer an enjoyable and accessible take on the sport too. However, it’s one where the longevity will be found in the multiplayer as opposed to playing against the AI.
Super Blood Hockey offers five-on-five hockey action, with four players hitting the rink and one playing goalie. Your players come in varying sizes (small, medium and large) with each having their own perks based upon their size, whilst the rule of the game will be familiar to most: the team that scores the most goals wins. It’s a very simple take on the sport with shooting, passing, and tackling (also known as wiping out your opponent) all easy to pull off, whilst the lack of proper rules in-game means you don’t have to worry about any technicalities. There’s just one thing you do have to keep on top of, and that’s being extra-violent.
See, whilst hockey players are known to show off their aggressive side on the rink, Super Blood Hockey actually sees you smashing your opponents to the ground in a bloody heap – there’s as much of an emphasis placed on taking your opponents out as there is on scoring.
Hockey games haven’t been shy in including fighting in the past, but it’s taken to the next level here. After you’ve hit a player a few times, an all-out brawl takes place between the two teams. Whoever is victorious gets an additional bonus, whilst the losing team may find some of their players are left injured and out of action momentarily or even killed off completely. Yep, Super Blood Hockey takes no prisoners, but it’s all the more exciting because of it.
Whilst the core concept of the game is fairly simple, it’s in the selection of game modes where Super Blood Hockey offers some depth. You’ve got standard Exhibition matches, Tournaments where you work through a bracket, and a Challenge mode where you take on some insane scenarios (including a massive match made up of twenty-four players) so there’s plenty to stick your teeth into. However, it’s in the game’s Franchise mode where it’s easy to find yourself hooked in, with it offering a management-like take on the sport – it’s surprisingly deep too, considering that the game itself prides itself more on being violent as opposed to being a realistic hockey sim.
In Franchise you get to build up a team, recruit players, ensure they keep training and improving, keep them healthy, and then send them out to play. There’s a surprising amount to think about, with the player expected to be prepared for any situation that might arise – you may run out of the money required to strengthen your team for example or even find your star player killed in a particularly aggressive match. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t offer the same sort of depth you’d see in an EA Sports or 2K Games sport title, but it’s a surprising amount of fun nonetheless that shows that Super Blood Hockey is about more than silly, bloody action.
Like a lot of arcade sports titles though, Super Blood Hockey can become a bit too easy the more you play. The AI of your opponents isn’t particularly smart and you’ll soon find there are plenty of ways to exploit them, both defensively and offensively. There’s a sense of predictability to their actions and you’ll soon score goals with ease, all whilst avoiding any scheming attacks they send your way. The absurd nature of the game ensures that it manages to stay fun, but it can get a little tiring simply beating your opponents time and time again by following the same procedures.
Thankfully, multiplayer is a blast, with up to four players able to play locally in non-stop brutal action. The simplicity of the experience means it’s easy to just pick up and play without any knowledge of the sport, whilst the violent ways in which you can take each other out ensures you’re kept laughing whilst playing too. Of course, you probably shouldn’t expect your friends to appreciate it when you slice the artery of their favourite player and leave them writhing on the ground in pain, but it’s win at all costs, right?
Super Blood Hockey gives players a brutally fun take on the sport that’s not only easy to pick up and play but also offers a surprising amount of depth within its Franchise mode. It’s one of those games that’s incredibly simple in design but manages to prove mighty addictive because of it, regardless of whether or not you’re even a fan of hockey itself. The only real flaw comes with the fact that it can get a bit too easy, with the AI easily exploited when you start to get good at the game. It leaves matches feeling a bit more predictable, which is a shame seeing as they’re so exciting to begin with. Still, at least multiplayer never grows old and there’s hours of silly, gory fun to be had taking on your friends – just don’t expect to spend too much time playing solo.
Developer: Loren Lemcke
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC