Sports games take themselves a little too seriously sometimes. That’s why we appreciate the smaller, more light-hearted games like 3-on-3 NHL Arcade.
An early build of the game recently arrived in the Sports Gamer offices. What follows is not a review, but an early peek at one of the first sports titles of the New Year.
The game features more than 40 real-life NHL players, whose heads have been pumped up to a ridiculously comical size. Big heads in sports games is nothing new—the feature has been around for decades. Maybe we laugh a little too easily, but the Sports Gamer still finds Big Heads to be funny. (When you see Jeremy Roenick's big head coming at you down the ice, we dare you to not chuckle.)
But beyond giggling, what's the gameplay like? Well, it's certainly fast. And, based on first impressions, there isn't a whole lot of strategy involved. Move the puck up the ice, make a pass or two, take a shot on goal, rinse repeat. The fast pace seems to be the key to the game's charm. This is a title that has clearly been designed for a pair of smack-talking friends (two-player is available both offline and online).
Checks, like everything else in the game, are completely over-the-top. Lay into your opponent with enough force, and he'll literally go sailing out of the rink.
The game's graphics are simple and easy to understand. Power-ups appear on the ice at random intervals. Whoever can gobble the power-up first gets it. And for anyone who found NHL 09's deep Be A Pro mode to be too complicated, 3-on-3 NHL Arcade should be the welcome palette-cleanser you're looking for.
The question remains: Is this the Blades of Steel killer we've been hoping for? Blades of Steel has been the king of arcade hockey since 1987. Does 3-on-3 NHL Arcade have the stuff to knock the king off his thrown?
We'll have more on this promising downloadable game as we get closer to its release date. In the meantime, enjoy these awesome screens, and see for yourself just how big Big Heads can get. Enjoy.