Review: 'Old Time Hockey' travels back to the 1970s

"Old Time Hockey" is meant to be a throwback to the days when video games were more about pure fun and creative license than authenticity, taking inspiration from the likes of "NHL 94" and "Blades of Steel."

Created by independent developer V7 Entertainment, "Old Time Hockey" is unlicensed and set in the 1970s, incorporating a number of things that wouldn't be considered appropriate in modernsports.

Unfortunately, the promising premise falls apart quickly because of some perplexing design decisions — as well as the gameplay, which is too rough to enjoy. "Old Time Hockey"is designed to have a pick-up-and-play nature (primarily based on a number of simplified control scheme options)but first experiences playing the game will be filled almost entirely with frustration.

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The default camera is set to "Action,"which is so zoomed in that it'spractically unplayable. Another option, "Broadcast,"is presented from the side, which helps but spatially makes it much harder to line up a big hit. I'd highly recommend that anyone playing "Old Time Hockey" firstchange the camera to "Classic"and direction to "Prefer Up"so you're always moving up the screen to score. It's the only way I was able to find any measure of success.

Old Time Hockey



Even on the lowest difficulty setting, those new to "Old Time Hockey" will struggle mightily at first. The A.I. has some major issues, particularly with your own team's defenders, who never seem to be in position to prevent the CPU from getting easy shots on goal against a totally inept goalie.

The game begins to open up as experience is gained and more of the advanced controls and strategies are utilized. There are fun moments — scoring a goal feels earned, hip checks are your best friend in this game, and you can even injure enough players to force the opposition to forfeit — but they're always short-lived

General responsiveness is another pressing issue in "Old Time Hockey," as switching the player that's controlled while defending or when the puck is loose takes far too long. It's also wildly inconsistent as to whether it'll switch to the player that onewould expect and desire based on the situation at hand. Beyond that there are the face-offs, which require such absurdly precise timing that they're rarely won, and given that doing so is a requirement to advance through the game's Story Mode, that and other designated tasks actasinfuriating road blocks.








Old Time Hockey



Story Mode is essentially the entirety of "Old Time Hockey" and it offers a text-based narrative through loading screens and newspaper clippings. New skills and abilities unlock as progress is made through the mode, which provides a sense of advancement and improvement but at a cost of making the early games feel unnecessarily constrained and discouraging. There is no online, leaving simple exhibition games vs. either CPU or local multiplayer as the only other way to play.

Old Time Hockey



Even on the lowest difficulty setting, those new to "Old Time Hockey" will struggle mightily at first. The A.I. has some major issues, particularly with your own team's defenders, who never seem to be in position to prevent the CPU from getting easy shots on goal against a totally inept goalie.

The game begins to open up as experience is gained and more of the advanced controls and strategies are utilized. There are fun moments — scoring a goal feels earned, hip checks are your best friend in this game, and you can even injure enough players to force the opposition to forfeit — but they're always short-lived

General responsiveness is another pressing issue in "Old Time Hockey," as switching the player that's controlled while defending or when the puck is loose takes far too long. It's also wildly inconsistent as to whether it'll switch to the player that onewould expect and desire based on the situation at hand. Beyond that there are the face-offs, which require such absurdly precise timing that they're rarely won, and given that doing so is a requirement to advance through the game's Story Mode, that and other designated tasks actasinfuriating road blocks.








Whether it's laying out big hits or scoring satisfying goals there's some fun to be had with "Old Time Hockey." It just takes too long to get to a place of enjoyment, and even then doesn't negate the underlying issues and otherwise lack of content despite a reasonable $12 price point.

2 1/2 stars



Old Time Hockey was reviewed on PlayStation 4 and is also available on PC. A download code for review was provided by V7 Entertainment.

Old Time Hockey



Even on the lowest difficulty setting, those new to "Old Time Hockey" will struggle mightily at first. The A.I. has some major issues, particularly with your own team's defenders, who never seem to be in position to prevent the CPU from getting easy shots on goal against a totally inept goalie.

The game begins to open up as experience is gained and more of the advanced controls and strategies are utilized. There are fun moments — scoring a goal feels earned, hip checks are your best friend in this game, and you can even injure enough players to force the opposition to forfeit — but they're always short-lived

General responsiveness is another pressing issue in "Old Time Hockey," as switching the player that's controlled while defending or when the puck is loose takes far too long. It's also wildly inconsistent as to whether it'll switch to the player that onewould expect and desire based on the situation at hand. Beyond that there are the face-offs, which require such absurdly precise timing that they're rarely won, and given that doing so is a requirement to advance through the game's Story Mode, that and other designated tasks actasinfuriating road blocks.









Bryan Wiedey posts sports gaming news and analysis daily at Pastapadre.com, is co-founder of the sports gaming site HitThePass.com, hosts the "Press Row Podcast" and be reached on Twitter @Pastapadre.














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