This title was reviewed on PS4 but is also available on PC, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One.
Super Blood Hockey developed by Loren Lemcke is a retro take on the ice hockey sport, with all the violence (hmm, maybe a bit more) included. Played by angry prisoners, there’s lots of blood in this fast-paced arcade style game, what else would you expect with a title like that? I don’t play a lot of sports games, but this style isn’t typical for the genre, so I was interested to give Super Blood Hockey a try, so check out the review below:
Super Blood Hockey is very simple to pick up. On the field you have your team of five players, which consist of four players that try to get the puck into the goal, while the other is your goalie. When controlling the characters, you can press triangle on the PS4 controller to switch which character you are playing as. When the puck is in your control you use the x button to pass or the square button to shoot. Using the left analogue stick will dictate the direction of your pass or shot. If you hold down either of these buttons it will add more power to the move. When not in control of the puck you can use the circle button to whack the other players, which creates some lovely graphically blood shooting out of victim. Some players will take a few consecutive whacks, and you can either whack the person with the puck to steal it back or just whack someone because you feel like it! The most interesting gameplay feature is that sometimes a brawl will break out; As soon as this happens, all players put down their hockey sticks and a fight commences till there’s only one left standing! This nicely brings us to the next gameplay mechanic, where players can actually die. It can be a good strategy to cause the opposite team a fatality to leave them a player short, giving you the advantage in terms of numbers. The goalie is computer automated, so you don’t need to control your goalie leaving you to focus on scoring some goals.
There’s a number of game modes to play: The first is exhibition mode, which is where you choose your play length, difficult,y and change the settings (beat the Challenge modes to unlock these). The second is tutorial mode which teaches you the basics of the game – how to pass, how to hit people, brawls etc. Tournament mode is like exhibition in terms of choosing the play length, difficulty and options, but you will play multiple teams like the name suggests. There is also challenge mode which consists of five different challenges, eg. Outnumber where you must win a game where they have eight players compared to your four players. The last is franchise mode, which is a bit more complicated!
Franchise mode is where it’s at! It’s pretty much a manager mode mixed with playing mode. So, you play as the team, but also as the manager who looks after your team. After a rather gruesome introduction you will be given the job of recruiting prisoners to join your team to win matches, and then pay the rent. Each prisoner enlisted has their own stats, and are identified by what position they play. If they are a seasoned player they will cost more to use compared to a rookie.
In the manager mode you have your office, medical bay, shower room, cafeteria, gym, and trophy room. With each of your players you have to manage their health and weight. You can click manage on each player and set a task for them to carry out daily to improve their stats. The cafeteria will tell you the weight of each character, and you can then click on the character to adjust their diet as necessary – ie. Starve them or give them a feast per day.
And now, we’re going to discuss something a little more illegal! Kids, hide your eyes. For you can give your players… DRUGS. From steroids, to gainers, you can give your players drugs to cut corners in weight management and increasing aspects such as power and agility. If your character is on the verge of complete brain damage, maybe give them a drug for faster healing. It’s up to you whether you want to do this or not! The goal in franchise mode is to get your team ready for game days and tournaments and keep earning money to have the top team.
The graphics are typical pixelated arcade style, which is a perfect fit for this style of game. The sound is also your typical arcade mode, and a little upbeat if I’m honest. This adds a rather hysterical element to the matches when you have this cheery music while they’re spilling blood on the field. I rather enjoyed the graphics and music of Super Blood Hockey.
Super Blood Hockey is simple to pick up, but hard to master. The game adds a lot of interesting mechanics that made a sport game fun for me. Whacking players down with resulting blood splatters is rather satisfying in this arcade style game. It does get a little repetitive as the actual game play doesn’t have a variety of different moves. Once you’ve mastered the controls it doesn’t feel like such a challenge anymore, unless you increase the difficulty. I’m really interested to see if the developers could make other sports in the same fashion! Super Blood… Chess?