Bush Hockey League (Switch) Gameplay Preview

Developed and published by V7 Entertainment Inc. – April 14, 2022 (X1/S/X, PS4/5, S, PC)
*MSRP: $15.99 – https://www.nintendo.com/store/products/bush-hockey-league-switch/

Bush Hockey League is an old school, arcadey hockey game. It was originally released onto the pc in 2017 so it definitely looks dated but the game play is still pretty fun.

This is one beautifully janktastic game.

When you start the game, the user interface is a blast from the past and not necessarily a pleasant one. The font looks like it came from a free plugin and the graphics are far from what most people would call pretty. The music feels like a royalty free track grabbed from YouTube. But underneath that crusty, unpolished exterior, lies an enjoyable hockey game.

Now I am no hockey expert nor a hockey game expert. In fact the last sports game I played with some enthusiasm was WWF Attitude for the N64 (which I actually had fun with as a young lad). Despite this, I could tell that Bush Hockey League probably has some promise as an arcade hockey game.

Shooting a goal feels satisfying. You know what doesn’t feel satisfying? The fighting mechanic where my guys start with no health. How is this even fair?!

The controls feel pretty smooth for the most part, although I am still not used to the shooting mechanic. It feels satisfying to skate around your opponents and gracefully slam the puck past the goalie. It also feels pretty darn satisfying to knock someone over and steal the puck by asserting one’s dominance.

When you make a goal, it feels so good!

The game actually has a lot of controls so I would recommend going over the tutorial if you are new to hockey games. It’s just a series of pictures showing you what the controls are and what they do. It was pretty boring to go through but it was necessary as there are a lot of controls and the game requires at least a modicum of effort.

The career mode are just games with what seems like arbitrary goals tacked on. It honestly feels half baked.

While the game is fun, it does feel a little bare bones. The game has two modes, career and exhibition. Career mode is just a series of games with goals you must complete before you can move on, such as score three goals, complete thirty passes, and don’t let the opposing team score more than seven goals. The goals do feel like they are tacked on and and arbitrarily set.

Overall, Bush Hockey League is a hockey game that definitely plays better than it looks or sounds. It could use more polish on production side of the game but the game play itself is definitely enjoyable. The only nitpick is that it does feel like there isn’t enough content to keep one’s attention for a long time but at least it will be a good time. And of course it wouldn’t be hockey without the fighting and unfortunately the fighting is pretty mediocre.

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