There are no real sound effects in this game. Kind of. Instead of the harsh clank of puck on ice you now get the noise of a bored EA developer sat at his desk making swoosh noises. And ‘Hup’, ‘Oip’ and ‘Florp!’ Oh dear.
The tick-box has all the real-world NHL players. The difference is Jeremy Roenick (a guy who once told NHL fans to “kiss his ass”) is now a big-bobbled headed cartoon character. Though the moves from NHL 09 are all in here, along with a similar control system, everything else has been streamlined; rules and the like are ditched in favour of fast-paced old-fashioned console hockey. You don’t ever get penalised in NHL Arcade. Even when we took time out to floor the goalie and finally bundle the puck over the line, the points were ours.
Oddly, scoring is tricky. You can repeatedly flatten the goalie and hustle the puck into the net, but come up against decent opposition and they’ll put three or four past you in seconds. It’s just a case of getting used to the shooting system, varying snapshots and placed strikes as well as using the two team mates to set-up points. Passing is fluid and the smaller arcade rink ensures there’s a shot on goal every other second.
Being all arcade-like, there are eight power-ups to collect in the game – the likes of Super Shot, Super Speed and Small Goalie all speak for themselves, while Banana makes everyone slip and fall and Freeze stops you opponent dead. Against human opponents online, which is how best to play NHL Arcade, it’s solid fun. But there’s no meat to the game’s bones. Though an arcade title, there could have been a ladder or tiered Tournament mode to keep you hooked, or indeed a locker full of unlockables to add to the gameplay, but neither is present.
NHL Arcade is fun and fast, but a little too simple for its own good and feels more like a bonus mode ripped from NHL 09 rather than a game in its own right. NHL Arcade is a solid game to dip into and makes a change from all the Super Stardust clones, but you probably won’t stick with it for long – the DIY sound effects will drive you insane.
Mar 11, 2009