I’ve been playing a ton of NES games lately but to the point where I hadn’t actually reviewed them yet. So it’s time to quickly take a look at what some of those titles were and first up is Ice Hockey. It’s a pretty straight forward game that gets you right into the action. As with most of these old sport games there is a certain charm to it although I don’t expect you would be playing this title for very long with all of the newer editions out there.
When you jump into the game you get to go right into the thick of it. I enjoyed around 4-5 games here although I did lose most of them pretty badly. The game is surprisingly high scoring for Hockey as my opponent scored around 20 in one game. In most hockey games I played previously it would be rare to get into double digits much less 20. I also felt like I was blocking pretty well for most of the game as I must have stopped close to 100 shots. It clearly wasn’t enough, but it shows you how fast paced the game is. You can also effect the speed level which is pretty cool. When it’s on its max setting you’re really flying across the field.
The gameplay has aged pretty well except for the passing. Shooting the ball into the net is easy enough but I just couldn’t get the puck to my teammates. They would eagerly stare the puck down by beyond that they would just end up falling back and I would start to get steamrolled. The graphics have definitely aged pretty well considering how old the game is. There was a good amount of effort put into the game and this is the kind of gameplay that just works pretty well for all times.
What ultimately keeps the game back from more of a positive score is definitely the lack of content here. There isn’t a ton of replay value with only one mode to play and after a few rounds you will feel like you’re pretty much playing the same match. This game is perfect for multiplayer so that’s when you should bump up the score another star or two. If you’re on your own then as I mentioned you’ll probably be tired after an hour or so. Considering that the game is free with Switch Online that’s not really a bad bargain though.
Overall, Ice Hockey is a reasonable game. It’s a good way to spend an hour or so, but in a way you’re just checking off a box as you play through all of the NES classic games. Once it’s gone you’ll forget about it pretty quickly. It’s not exactly Madden or Mario and to an extent some games just aren’t meant to last the long run. Titles like Pac Man and Mario will always be a blast no matter in what era you play them and that’s a testament to the amount of detail and design put behind them. To the average game, once 20-30 years have passed it’s probably just going to feel dated.