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25 Mar 2022

REVIEW: Bush Hockey League (Nintendo Switch)

Review by Staff
Bush Hockey League is an ice hockey game set in the 1970s, Bush Hockey League is the name of the fictional league you will play.

There are two modes of play, an Exhibition Mode, which is your classic, jump into the action type game. And the Story Mode.

You can choose to play with Retro Controls or Advanced controls. The lack of any kind of instant tutorial mode, will really leave you trying to figure out the controls yourself, which is so frustrating, as when you first play, you will have no idea what button does what and end up losing your first game by a huge margin. Way to go developers, make a game that instantly puts off the player! Not like you didn't have 5 years to figure out the basics for porting this game to Switch.

Now there are tutorials, they are just not instantly available, bizarrely you have to play through the season, lose loads of games, and then you will randomly have one, which then unlocks more abilities for you to use. I do not understand such a ridiculous system. Look it is simple. Tutorial Mode, Exhibition mode, and Story Mode. Everything unlocked from the start, so you can enjoy the game, and the more you play the better you get. Anyway, I feel like I am getting angry now, so let's move on.

Once you do start to play, things that instantly stand out are often the little things, the look of the characters, the coaches, the music, the commentary, all look and sound great, and that was the first thing that started to pull me in, if only a bit.

If you have friends with a Switch Lite, or others to play with, I would highly recommend playing some exhibition games first, so you can get a hang of the gameplay, once you do that, you can try the story mode, which has you take over the Schuykill Hinto Brews, a minor league team in the middle of its season, your job is to help them reach the playoff. 

Loading times seem endless, I half expected to hear that old sound of a ZX Spectrum loading up, whatever happened to Solid State Memory being the thing of the future? Anyway, the loading screens are fun though, with newspaper stories popping up chronicling the stories of the team. 

The story mode does have some good points, but by the time you find them, you will probably have had a hockey fight with your Switch.

Exhibition mode is the way to go, with friends. It is fun, and once you get the hang of it, there is plenty of gameplay to have, but as a single player game, the story mode is terrible.

The Good
In general, the game looks good, the sound effects and music are all of high quality.

The Bad
Nearly impossible to see the puck on a Switch lite, the goal keepers are beyond useless, and the game crashed multiple times for me, which is a serious no-no, for what is a new release on the console. And when I see that the PS4 release from 5 years ago has the same issues, then that points to a lazy port from the developers.

The controls are terrible, you never really feel in control when you are defending, and lining up a solid hit is way too hard, keep in mind I played in novice mode. And it takes forever to unlock more control options, which you have to endure endless losses in the story mode to ever reach. Not a fun experience.

A game that was broken 5 years ago, that has not been fixed in the port to Switch.

I was looking forward to playing an old-fashioned arcade Hockey Game, instead I got a broken port. 
I score Bush Hockey League a very disappointing 3 out of 10.
Genuinely gutted the game is so bad, I really thought it would be better.

Released 14th April

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