The Nintendo Switch has become a one-stop shop for any type of game genre imaginable. However, there are some notable exceptions such as ice hockey and particularly ultra-violent no holds barred ice hockey with a franchise mode that screams WTF!
Super Blood Hockey provides the following game modes:
- Exhibition Mode – play vs CPU or up to 4 player local co-op
- Tutorial Mode – learn the basics and play strategies
- Tournament Mode – 8 team bracket system
- Challenging Mode – play 5 match variants with stipulations such as win a match while outnumbered four to eight or win a 12 v 12 rumble. Completing each challenge will unlock new match abilities such as adjusting punk elasticity.
- Franchise mode – I explain more of what this mode is later in the review
The controls are straight forward with left trigger for character movement/aiming, tap (B) to perform a quick pass or hold & release for a charged pass, tap (Y) for a quick shoot or hold & release for a charged power shot, (X) to switch player and the most important button (A) to throw punches into your opponent’s face. The gameplay simplicity is bliss and well-suited for co-op play via joy-cons. I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised to see each player had individual stats, skills, and a class type. This 8-bit blood sport hockey game has some unexpected character depth. The classes consist of enforcers, snipers, playmakers, and goalie. Once you pick your starting five then it’s time to hit the ice.
(B) to pass, (Y) to shoot, (X) to switch player and the most important button (A) to throw punches into your opponents face. The gameplay simplicity is bliss and well suited for co-op play via joy-cons. I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised to see that each player had individual stats, skills, and class type. This 8-bit blood sport hockey game has some unexpected character depth. The classes consist of enforcers, snipers, playmakers, and goalie. Once you pick your starting five it’s time to hit the ice.
Super Blood Hockey lives up to the title as there’s no ref calling icing, offsides or high-sticking. This is Konami’s 1987 NES classic “Blades of Steel” on steroids, literally as I will discuss further in franchise mode. The players glide around the ice with ease and fluidity. Depending on the class of players you selected will determine your gaming experience. Having a couple of snipers will provide more accurate shots on goals and playmakers will complete more passes, but this is Super Blood Hockey! And I’m sure a large majority of players will select a couple of enforcers and put a hurting on the opponent which will lead to goals by force. I would also like to note that in the game settings within “special options” you can remove the blood completely or ramp it up to “tons”.
While out on the ice you will find yourself mashing the (A) button and this is encouraged. The more times you punch a player the greater chance that an all-out team brawl will occur. Once your opponent has had enough of your attacks, a brawl will occur and blood will begin to flow from all involved. At this point, your goal is to knock out every opposing player. If you win, one of the opposing players will be laying in a pool of blood while the game continues. During this time you will have the additional player advantage and the same applies to the opposing team if you lose the brawl.
The enjoyment of having all-out team brawls never gets old and kept me coming back for another match. However, there is one issue that I had and it was with the opposing team’s goalie. It didn’t matter which team I faced, or my player’s stats who were taking the shots. Their goalie would instantly become unbeatable after I scored one goal. Many players are going to have a blast just doing exhibition matches or tournaments against the CPU or with friends. However, Super Blood Hockey has another unexpected surprise that all players need to experience and that’s franchise mode.
Franchise mode is the golden nugget in Super Blood Hockey. The opening scene has you meeting with the receptionist at the league office. It’s at this point that you’ll name your character who would like to be coach/team owner. You will also name your team and pick a nation to represent. Once done, the receptionist says that you have insufficient funds to create your team, but comes up with a payment solution which is to harvest your left kidney. That’s right, the next stop is the operating room.
There is no guessing what happens next since the following scene is in the operating room with a “doctor” using a saw blade to remove your left kidney. After the procedure, the doctor informs you that this kidney provides partial payment for your team and training facility. Your team consists of prison inmates each with unique stats and skill bonuses. Each room of the facility provides a specific service which can be used to enhance your inmates/team stats.
- Kitchen – Allows you to adjust the diets of your team members to have them lose or gain weight.
- Exercise room – Put your team on an exercise plan to increase certain physical attributes
- Inmate Barracks – This is where your team will sleep and you can have up to sixteen inmates.
- Infirmary – After a match injured team members will be sent here and for a fee can be patched up. If a team member dies then the good doctor says you can take the corpse to the dumpster out back.
- Storage room – This area will display your trophies and other team stat info
- Office – Contains a computer to use for scouting new inmates, a safe which shows your available funds, calendar to see your match schedule and a cot so you can sleep. If your team is unsuccessful then you will be provided with a gun to end your life.
I’m sure no one reading this review was expecting any of what I just discussed. There is also a great dark humor story laced over this mode. At one point, I resorted to administering various types of steroids to my team to win matches. I found this mode extremely enjoyable and refreshing. Super Blood Hockey provides so much more than just an arcade hockey experience. The 8-bit charm meshed with ultra-violent gameplay and wrapped in a morbid futuristic story makes this title unique.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of Super Blood Hockey for the Nintendo Switch provided by Loren Lemcke and Digerati Distribution.