Tech Column: From the rink to your phone
Smartphone app lets hockey fans hit the ice from anywhere
Platforms: iOS and Android
Reviewed on Android
Like an NHL player returning to “the show” after a stint in the American Hockey League (AHL), the NHL 2K series of video games is back, this time on both major mobile platforms.
After EA Sports signed an exclusive licensing agreement for its own NHL series in 2011, the 2K Sports series of hockey games was forced into exile. EA’s agreement only applied to major consoles, so NHL 2K has come back this year in mobile form.
The variety of game modes in NHL 2K certainly appears promising. There’s a “My Career” mode — which allows you to play solely as your own created player — and “Be a Pro.” There is also a typical season mode and a turn-based online multiplayer shootout mode, with a Winter Classic outdoor game option and a rather fun 2-on-2 “mini-rink” mode as the icing on the proverbial cake. The game is Google Play Games enabled, with achievements and multiplayer matching for the shootout mode in effect.
When it comes to gameplay, NHL 2K attempts to be evocative of hockey games of the late ‘90s. The fast-paced “arcadey” action is well suited to a mobile game. However, the game does feature some perplexing oddities that hockey fans will find hard to ignore.
There is no trapezoid area marked for goalies to handle the puck. Also, playing defense is made rather difficult, as body-checking is wildly inconsistent. The “My Career” mode also is a disappointment. Players gain or lose skill points by their actions in-game, but it seems nothing else really happens over the course of the mode.
It’s also worth mentioning that the graphics are not great, even by mobile standards. However, I do appreciate the wide range of camera angles that are available to choose from.
My main issue with NHL 2K is the price. $9 is quite expensive for a mobile game, and I can only recommend the game at that price to the most die-hard hockey video game fans.
NHL 2K shows potential for future iterations of the game, with a good selection of game modes, but the it has some glaring issues and limited replayability. NHL 2K ultimately does manage to satisfy my craving for a mobile hockey game, but I still feel hockey fans deserve better from 2K Sports.
Buy the game if it’s on sale or if you’re desperate for some mobile hockey action.