Sports games have always been a popular choice with fans of specific sports. For example, football fans have generally experienced a session of FIFA in their lifetime. Likewise, tennis fans have undoubtedly had a go at Virtua Tennis at some point. Golf fans have most definitely sampled the odd Tiger Woods release, too. For ice hockey fans, there have been a few memorable releases over the years also.
Ice hockey games are ideal for gaming. They’re generally fast-paced and serve up plenty of action, you can play against friends and family thanks to the multiplayer aspect of ice hockey, and the controls and gameplay don’t need to be too complicated as ice hockey simply doesn’t require it unless you want to master a specific skill or learn a certain shot style perhaps. Not many games have featured some of British ice hockey’s best teams and players, though, as somewhat understandably, the games in this genre tend to cater towards NHL audiences. Maybe one-day things will change, though, particularly as ice hockey continues to win over UK audiences.
There are still a few ice hockey games being downloaded and played on a regular basis here in the UK. For example, games developer Microgaming has produced a popular ice hockey slot game – Break Away Lucky Wilds – as part of its hockey-themed slot series. This accompanies the likes of NHL 21, which is extremely popular also, plus an array of other entertaining titles people are playing. The best ice hockey games were generally produced a few years back, though. Below is a look at a selection of some of them.
3 On 3 NHL Arcade
In terms of offering sheer fun and entertainment, then 3 On 3 NHL Arcade is right up there with the very best titles from this particular genre. Far from a realistic simulation of ice hockey, it’s a blast to play thanks to its wacky 3-on-3 style of ice hockey which obviously differs from the traditional way the game is played in the real-world. As a result of the adjustments, though, the game provides players with full-on mayhem and an ice hockey game which is a favourite for some many.
For the older generation of ice hockey fans, NHL ’94 will be fondly remembered. It obviously doesn’t offer the much-improved and slick graphics of today’s releases, but it doesn’t matter. For its time, though, the game was a masterpiece. Its easy to grasp controls, superb gameplay, and memorable shootout mode made the game a truly unique title to tuck into.
NHL Hitz 2003
(Image via https://twitter.com/CrosbyMustache)
When most gamers think about ice hockey titles from over the years, the NHL Hitz series of games immediately springs to mind. A popular series of games made by Midway, NHL Hitz 2003 was arguably the best of the lot. Although a rather exaggerated and crazy take on the sport, the game was beautifully brutal and offered both fans and non-fans a real taste of the sport. Goalies could handle the puck and score, you could batter players into the stands as the game continued on, and the soundtrack added to the all-round hockey-themed mayhem that the game offered.
ESPN NHL 2K5
Another truly classic release in the ice hockey genre, ESPN NHL 2K5 was back to its best after a few teething problems with the release before it. The gameplay was hugely improved with the gameplay’s issues fixed, and the game’s franchise mode was excellent. Players could deal with the likes of staff hiring, scouting and a whole lot more in what goes down as one of the best ice hockey games ever made.