Super Blood Hockey (PS4 Game Review)

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love football, but I’m nuts about hockey. I’ll watch the sport at nearly any level, high school to pros, and enjoy every minute of it. When it comes to hockey in video games, Blades of Steel for the NES was an absolutely awesome game. Even today, that game still holds a special place for me. Sure, EA’s NHL series is the most accurate hockey simulation you’re going to play, but there’s something special about those arcade style games where you can throw every bit of reality out the window. Welcome to Super Blood Hockey.


As soon as Super Blood Hockey comes to life on your screen, the initial layout harkens back to the days of 8-bit video games.  Even the frame around the menu is an old two-in-one VCR/TV combo.  If you’re looking for realism, this is not the place, as Super Blood Hockey delivers a nostalgic look that is reminiscent of games from the late 80’s and early 90’s.  The characters/players themselves tend to bear a striking resemblance to the old NES game that was simply titled ‘Ice Hockey’ with three types of skater builds.

You’ve got your hefty enforcers who are slow as molasses on skates, but are experts at knocking down the opposition.  Next is the skinny sniper who would fall over from a strong wind, but can possess an impressive arsenal of attributes that includes solid accuracy and great speed.  Lastly is the sort of in-between player known as a playmaker, who isn’t too big and not too slim. They have an array of skills that find a home between two aforementioned player types.

The game’s menu is easy enough to navigate and includes the following selections:

  • Exhibition – A quick pick-up game
  • Tutorial – Learn how to pass, shoot and fight
  • Tournament – An 8-team, single loss elimination tourney
  • Challenge – Complete various feats in the game to unlock options like puck friction and manual goalies
  • Franchise – Start a team from the ground up!  Name your team and buy inmates that fill out your roster.
  • Leaderboards – See how you rank against other SBH players around the world
  • Options – Settings for what you unlocked in the Challenge menu

While most of those are self-explanatory, Franchise Mode is worth a second look.  The players in the game are inmates, so forget the idea of penalties, as these guys tend to redefine brutality.  As the team’s coach, you will have a number of duties to keep tabs on.  One, watch your money.  You’ll earn more by winning games, but you need to buy players, food and sometimes drugs.  Yes, you read that right.  You can literally sneak out the back door and to acquire steroids and cannabis for your players which affect various skills of theirs.

Coach slides out the back to meet with a dealer

In addition, you will need to assign daily duties to your players.  Sending them to the showers heals injuries.  Make them hit the punching bags to improve their ability to brawl.  A little slow on the ice?  Put that player on a treadmill.  Weak shot?  Get him over to the dumb bells.  Underweight? Choose a meal plan and feed that boy!  After all of that, the proficiency of your management skills will either shine or flounder when it comes to game time as you get to see how all your efforts come together.


This is such a slippery slope to rate as I can’t fault the game for dated graphics as that was the intent.  I also can’t give it a perfect score as that would be a little over the top.  As stated earlier, this game makes no apologies for its 8-bit delivery.  Ice shavings scatter the playing surface in the form of fast-flying gray cube specs and players are brought under our control in all their blocky glory.  Even the blood, and believe me the blood will fly fast and furious, sprays feverishly throughout gameplay as gushing red pixels.

Colors are displayed from a palette that goes slightly beyond your basic array of red, blue, yellow, black, green and white.  It’s nothing awe-inspiring, but then again, this isn’t that type of game.  God of War is the next aisle down.  The spectrum used here gets the job done.


Things are pretty straightforward forward here.  Supporting up to four players, games are four on four with three forwards and a defenseman (plus goalies). Triangle changes the player you’re controlling, square shoots, X passes and O checks.  While you can pull off a one-timer, there are no other on-ice heroics here.  Remember, this is an arcade style experience so don’t seek out disappointment because you couldn’t do a spinorama or even a deke.  Shoot, pass, punch.  Keep that in mind and you’ll have a good understanding of the heart of this game.

Playable countries include the Czech Republic, USA, Canada, Germany, Finland, Sweden, North Korea and Russia.  The only real relevancy a country selection has is during franchise mode as the players’ names are somewhat native to the country you pick.  Team colors don’t always makes sense though as I played my first game as USA against Russia, with Russia in red and USA in dark gray.

Let’s get back to talking about those controls though as they can be rather tricky.  While the idea is that you use the left thumb stick to point in the direction you want to pass or shoot, I have found that the aim does not always hold true, especially with passing.  I have sent more passes astray to wide open players of mine than I care to count.  It does get frustrating, not so much from a challenging perspective, but from a sensibility perspective.  If the center is in open ice to the upper right of my puck carrier and no one is near the center, why does the puck occasionally get sent straight up or even directly horizontal?

You can charge your passes and shots, though, which add that extra spike of power that is sometimes necessary to thread the needle on a scoring attempt, or even just getting it out of your own zone.  Button mashing will come into play when a fight breaks out, which usually is the result of hitting a specific multiple times during a game.  Get ready to work out that O-button because winning a fight, just like in Blades of Steel, is the only way to get a power play here.

Speaking of having a man advantage, it can potentially be one that lasts for a game.  In my last matchup, I took a guy out with an injury that the in-game headline described as a massive eye-gouging.  Be cautious not to pick fights when you’re shorthanded, however, as you will end up rolling some seriously figurative dice when it comes to your guys on the ice.  There are no line changes, so if someone gets a fatal injury, it’s good night for him.

Lastly, everything is an obstacle in this game.  The lone referee can get in the way of your shots and your players.  Heck, even your own players can get in the way of your players.  Moving the puck around is crucial in this game, otherwise you are just running into each other or taking blind shots that are easily cast aside by the opposition’s netminder.


Super Blood Hockey throws caution to the wind and proudly stands in the spotlight of inappropriateness.  I absolutely love that about this game.  It does not take itself seriously.  While for me it does not surpass Blades of Steel, it definitely has a home in my video game library.  The game provides ridiculous violence, but also some nail-biting tension.  Super Blood Hockey is a definite buy in my book.  The game is currently available on Steam, Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox.

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