Recommended Winter Sports Games
- Sports Heads Ice Hockey Championship
- Snowboard Madness
- Big Snow Tricks
- Snow Riders
- Avalanche Stunts
- Downhill Snowboarding 3
A series like Sports Heads doesn’t need to bother with trying to simulate the sports they contain in any kind of realistic fashion. In fact, this is something that these series has never promised to do. Instead, Sports Heads tends to take various sporting professions, strip them down to their bare essentials, and put a distinctively arcade-like touch on the proceedings. A simple approach perhaps, but it is one that has been hugely successful for developers Mousebreaker; their games will have you smashing your keyboard with either frustration or elation, I guarantee it. Ice Hockey is the sport to get some Mousebreaker “Arcade-ification” this time around, and it’s as deliciously challenging as ever, if a little familiar at this late stage in the era or Sports Heads game.
Big Heads, Shattered Egos
Perhaps I haven’t managed to convey the unique experience that is so characteristic of the Sports Heads games very well, but it is difficult to put this unusual brand of sporting entertainment into just a few worlds. This Ice Hockey-based version of the game involves taking control of a single hockey player (the massive heads aren’t an essential part, they are essentially hilarious, however) and going against a single opponent in a miniature hockey rink with a goal at either end. It’s pretty simple really: just try and score as many goals as you can in the allotted time limit. You will go up against various players of names that are equally as hilarious as the ridiculous size of their heads (Guy the Flower, John Believer, and Wayne Great-Ski are just a few examples of the gems involved in the player roster), with each player becoming more difficult than the last.
It’s a little more a difficult than simply smashing the puck into the goal of your opponent, however, Firstly, you’ll find that your character is relatively tiny compared to the goal and that you will often have to make a mad scramble or hurried dash for the puck by using the directional arrows to control your player’s movement and the Spacebar to use your hockey stick for smashing the puck when you feel it appropriate. Pay attention to your enclosed surroundings however: you will find that just smashing the puck aimlessly will result in it bouncing off the wall or the ceiling and often causing an own-goal situation. The heads may be big, but the difficulty of the later players will certainly leave your ego and the metaphorical head in this scenario utterly deflated.
Arcade and Proud
What makes the game so unique aside from its unusual format of short matches and an enclosed playing area is that the action has a furiously quick pace reminiscent of an arcade game; it also has a selection of power-ups that can be collected in order to make the action more interesting as well, just like many arcade games. The selection of power-ups is very similar to those that veterans that have played others games of this series like Sports Heads: Football 2 and Sports Heads: Tennis.
Players will find familiarity in the power-ups that shrink their opponent, freeze him in his spot, or increase the size of his goal. Previous players will also be familiar with the power-ups that have effects to the contrary. It can get pretty frustrating when you accidentally collect a power-down that freezes you in place instead of your opponent so that they have free reign on the goal and freedom to trample all over the rink as well as your reputation, pride, and general mood for the day. There are a few new arrivals as well, such as the instant win or instant-loss power-up/power-down, or the Zamboni that comes to create havoc for both players on the ice. This kind of hectic madness is exactly what makes the Sports Heads series so incredibly entertaining, and what makes Mousebreaker a genius developer for coming up with the premise, and one whose games thoroughly live up to their name (your mouse will be at serious risk, as will your keyboard and your general surroundings)
Ordered Chaos, and Better For It
If you happen to be looking for a true-to-life simulation of the sport, you are certainly in the wrong place. For those who are seeking the full on NHL simulation then EA's Sports NHL series is recommended. Other fun games for mobile could include the 1 on 1 hockey game Ice Rage or RatRod Studios Ice Hockey Fight Pro. What you will get with Sports Heads: Ice Hockey is a lightning-fast experience that promises instant action and not a dull minute in sight. There may not be any fights as one would expect from the sport, but you can’t win them all. You should be able to win some of them though, otherwise you’re going to be mightily frustrated at the fact that you apparently can’t even play a mere arcade-dripped take on the sport of Ice Hockey. Don’t be depressed: simply take your frustrations out on the ice.