If youâ€™re a fan of Ice Hockey, and love to see big hits and plenty of goals then youâ€™ve come to the right place. 3 on 3 NHL Arcade could be your title to break up sessions of the real thing, or be the sabbatical to rounds of Gears of War multiplayer.
However, Xbox Live Arcade was created for members to download various â€˜time-wasterâ€™ titles for a mere fraction of a full priced release. As many of you will know the average title usually goes for around the $15 mark, and one would expect to get a few hours gameplay out of it, mostly to break up time between other titles as aforementioned.
This is where NHL Arcade ultimately fails to capture the XBLA concept, as once youâ€™ve played a single â€˜Play Nowâ€™ game; youâ€™ve been treated to all the game has to offer except for multiplayer, which you can play both online and off, with a maximum of five others.
The lack of game mode variety continues through to the rosters, as there is only two teams to choose from, those being â€˜redâ€™ and â€˜blueâ€™, and you select your side from a stable of approximately 40 NHL stars, each with varying attributes to add to your team.
Once you hit the ice the gameplay is thankfully free-flowing, due in part to â€˜power-upsâ€™ which once collected via checking an opponent will earn your side a brief bonus, such as shrinking the opposition goalie, freezing an opposing player in ice, or making your own sides abilities stronger, with increased shot power, speed and size.
Aside from the â€˜power-upâ€™ aspect of gameplay there isnâ€™t much else to find. The rule book has for all purposes been thrown out the window, and there isnâ€™t the in-depth control and A.I featured in NHL series. For all intensive purposes itâ€™s just a straight out race to reach the goal target set before the match begins.
The presentation is pretty in your face, as you might expect from a game with an arcade based attitude. Visually the game holds its ground amongst peers, although the lack of player detail is disappointing as they all seem alike. And rather than a straight out audio package, youâ€™re greeted with a wide array of goofy sounds, and in-game the arena announcer maintains originality for all of the first period or so, before youâ€™ll reach for the mute button.
There just isnâ€™t enough game content within NHL Arcade to justify a purchase, even by XBLA standards. The game would have been better suited as an Easter egg in the next NHL franchise title, as its enjoyable enough gameplay would have provided great relief for a long season or playoff campaign.