3 on 3 NHL Arcade
Xbox Live Arcade
Rated E for Everybody
A lot of gamers won’t play hockey games, even great ones like NHL 09, because many are unfamiliar with the rules of hockey. Let’s face it, there's too much to learn when playing a simulation hockey game for someone who’s not a fan of the sport. That’s where 3 on 3 NHL Arcade comes into play. There’s only on rule in EA’s arcade offering. Put the puck in the net.
Players start off by picking three real life skaters and one goalie for their team. This selection process is a throwback to the old NES Ice Hockey in that you can pick from either Strong, Fast or All-Around players (fat, skinny, and medium on NES). After that the mayhem commences. This mayhem consists of mini-goalies, frozen opponents, smashing the other team out of the rink, and bananas on the ice. These, among other power ups are obtained by knocking the snot out the opposing team (“checking” in hockey terms) and they are completely random. Whether you are playing on Live, a local game competitively or cooperatively, or even solo against the computer, the fun just seems to never end.
Graphically, the game is nowhere near as amazing as it’s more grown up counterpart NHL 09 but the graphics fit the game. The big-headed players resemble their real life counterparts but the action is so hectic you won’t have time to notice. There are some decent options in terms of difficulty, game speed and number of goals needed to win. However, the game would definitely benefit from some variety when it comes to venues and uniforms. There is only one rink to play in and you get to be either the red or blue team, that's it. NHL Hitz back in the day was great with a ton of over the top arenas to play in and EA would be doing good to copy that via some future DLC.
All in all, this is one of the better arcade titles whether you like hockey or not. The game got a lower score than I would have liked to give it due to lack of certain uniform customization options and the absence of any kind of single player career mode. Those are kind of nitpicky when I think about how fun the game is to play with others online and off. This game is a definite buy even at 800 MS points for hockey and sports fans alike as well as people looking for some easy achievement points. 3 on 3 NHL Arcade is the kind of game that is needed to bridge the gap between hockey and gamers. See you on the ice!!!