The Bush Hockey League is a new, free-to-play game that goes after the virtual hockey audience with its Canadian flavor and personality. The game features an in-game store where players can buy skins for their favorite team or player. In addition to this skin shop, there are also two different types of transactions – one without any fee at all to purchase items like coins and diamonds (the currency used within the gameplay) as well as one that has a small transaction fee attached so friends can trade goods without having to pay each other GBP or USD
The “operation sports” is a game that has style, but lacks substance. It’s a fun game to play with friends and family, but it doesn’t hold up well against more competitive games.
It’s long been known that when it comes to hockey video games, EA’s NHL series towers over the competitors and dominates the market, due to its official rosters and the fact that its yearly releases have been part of the public consciousness for decades. That isn’t to say that there aren’t other choices available for people who have become disenchanted with the series’ modest advancement each year and would want to see how a different series might play. Furthermore, the EA NHL series is not available on the Nintendo Switch, so in our Review of the Bush Hockey League, we’ll look at one of the alternative hockey choices available.
Review of the Bush Hockey League
Bush Hockey League, which was initially launched in 2017 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One, is now available on Nintendo Switch. It illustrates the old cliché that the grass is always greener on the other side after playing it in 2022. With a distinct taste to the visuals and a league play option that draws influence from the legendary ’70s hockey film Slap Shot, the game does a respectable job of turning its lack of NHL license into a feature rather than a drawback. Despite its tries to set itself apart by focusing primarily on the brutality and fighting parts of the sport, it eventually disappoints by being a poor imitation of the NHL series on ice.
With that stated, let’s put on our skates and grab our sticks so we may use them as weapons as we figure out what works and what doesn’t in this situation.
What I Enjoy
Art Style & Music
With its smeared and ruined photos of players from the 10 clubs in the BHL, the game’s sense of style quickly gets your attention from the opening credits. These vivid paintings succeed in transporting you to a bygone period of hockey, when rough-and-tumble leagues existed on the outskirts and the game was played in working-class cities where the game was only a sideshow for the inevitable bloodshed.
By placing the game in the 1970s, it’s easier to distinguish it from the NHL series by evoking the era’s attire, replete with retro pads and masks used by goalies — and even the porn star mustaches proudly shown by certain players. There’s a lot of charm in the little elements that the game uses to bring you back to a joyful period in hockey history. Instead of attempting to fill it with cool current musicians, the Bush Hockey League opts for arena favorites like the Addams Family theme (try not to snap your fingers) and Stompin’ Tom Connors’ iconic “The Hockey Song.”
Mode of Narration
Considering Mode of Narration is the only option the game offers aside from playing a meaningless exhibition game, it’s almost imperative that this aspect of the game delivers and, for the most part, it absolutely does. Offering a fresh take on playing within the framework of a league, the mode drops you into the midst of a season where your team, the Schuylkill Hinto Brews, is floundering near the bottom of the standings and tasks you with turning your ragtag group of players around.
While playing games, you’ll find many of the standard features seen in comparable modes, such as player data, standings, and a calendar to keep track of all of your forthcoming encounters. The fact that each game will have goals for you to fulfill, rather of just winning games, is a wonderful touch. For example, you’ll be required to hit a certain player on the other side or make a certain amount of passes. You’ll be able to unlock some cool hockey cards if you achieve specific milestones, which you can add to your collection and look at at any moment by turning them over like a real card.
What I Don’t Care For
Time to Load
Perhaps the best way of conveying how long it takes to load into every game of Bush Hockey League is that each and every time, there’s the eventual suspicion that the game may have actually frozen before it finally gets to the drop of the puck. It’s possible that it’s partly due to growing accustomed to the speedy Time to Load on next gen, but there’s no doubt that Time to Load can be a deterrent when you’re considering playing a game that you know will take an inordinate length of time to start.
Have you ever found yourself wishing for NHL 16’s controls? That’s approximately how they feel in Bush Hockey League, because all of the buttons are almost identical to those in the NHL series, with the exception that they don’t feel quite as polished as the most recent edition. On offense, you can do rapid wrist shots or wind up for booming slap shots, conduct basic side-to-side dekes, and even hold down a button to switch to skating backwards, which can be just as overpowering in keeping the puck away from defenders as it has been in the NHL for years.
Unfortunately, you’ll be lacking a critical weapon from your armory since the game doesn’t allow you to utilize a one-timer. Defensively, there are plenty of weapons to employ, but they aren’t nearly as effective, and you may find yourself attempting to throw a body check or use a well-timed poke check just to have them turn into a futile exercise as the other player skates right by you. It also doesn’t help that the physics and collision detection aren’t very good, thus being in the line of an opponent’s pass will almost always result in it passing past your guy rather than being intercepted. The majority of the buttons on the Switch are mapped precisely as they are in NHL games, which is both useful in rapidly picking up the game and leaves you feeling like it’s doing too little to set itself apart from the competition.
Aside from the control issues, there are a few more major reasons why the game fails to create a pleasurable ice experience. Nearly everything about the goalies (aside from their cool retro attire) is terrible, from their inconsistency, which causes them to stop several point blank shots in a row but concede lob shots from the blue line, to their limited animations, which force them to make most of their saves on their feet with little to no movement. This is typical of the game’s AI issues in general, which isn’t unexpected given that the NHL series hasn’t entirely solved the case either. As a result, teammates are regularly caught off guard (especially on defense), and opponents become unstoppable machines on the hardest difficulty setting.
It’s particularly unfortunate that the game’s efforts to stray from the NHL playbook and embrace the chaos and carnage fall short. This is primarily due to the fact that fighting in the game isn’t all that entertaining when you opt to drop the gloves and settle things with an enemy player using fists. You can only throw and evade punches, which means the mechanics are even more constrained than in the NHL series, which should not be the case when this is a big aspect of how you’re attempting to get into the video game hockey industry. There’s some technique involved in knocking out tired players and temporarily removing the referee so you can strike everything that moves, but it’s not apparent or prominent enough to make it a worthy addition to the game of hockey.
There Aren’t Enough Modes And Features
As mentioned previously, the only modes the game has for you are exhibition games and Mode of Narration, leaving you wanting for something like the ability to at least play against friends online. Even when you’re playing games though, the absence of a standard feature like instant replay sends the clear message that the game is still many years behind the competition.
Though the execution of Bush Hockey League doesn’t ultimately live up to the novelty of its concept, the artwork throughout and its Mode of Narration deserve credit for evoking the rough-and-tumble life of minor league hockey in the ’70s just as it was depicted in Slap Shot. Ultimately, it sails wide of its target though by sticking too closely to and yet still trailing behind the NHL series when it comes to the controls and not being innovative enough in the gameplay department. It does make an attempt to implement some mechanics that lean into the more violent tendencies of the sport, but they aren’t nearly as rewarding or enjoyable as you would hope.
The “wwe 2k22 roster” is a game that has style, but lacks substance. The game is only available on PC and PS4.
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