Big Win NHL Hockey Review

Big Win NHL Hockey Review

Dec 31, 2013

Big Win NHL Hockey continues the somewhat popular Big Win series of managerial sports games. Is it worth playing?

Big Win NHL Hockey is somewhat like a sports management game, without the sharp edges. Players gain control of a team of very poor players and are given a little money and attempt to build a world class team. For the first time in a Big Win game, Big Win NHL is officially licensed by the NHL and features real players.

Screenshot_2013-12-29-05-51-00Big Win NHL Hockey is based around cards. New players and stat boosters for them come in packs of cards the player can buy. Many card packs are available for both in game and premium currency. There are also power up cards that can be played during a match, and boost certain attributes of your team, such as shot power.

During a match the player has no control at all. Games can be skipped with no penalty. Like other management games such as Football Manager Handheld 2014, Big Win NHL is about management, not playing hockey.

Screenshot_2013-12-29-06-54-50However, the management side of the game is nearly non-existent. The only managerial feature is ensuring the team has good chemistry. Chemistry makes the whole team play better and can only be raised by recruiting players from the same real life team into your team. Unfortunately the completely random method of player acquisition makes this complete luck.

Like other Big Win games, the fun of Big Win NHL Hockey comes from finding the next great player or card and watching the team wipe out the opposition with it. The slow burning nature of the game makes acquiring new players satisfying.

Big Win NHL Hockey suffers from the same major downside of other games in the Big Win series, namely that players often make poor tactical decisions and there’s nothing to be done about it. Whenever it’s forwards screwing up the simplest passes or defenders taking shots from half the rink away, there are a lot of times when players just give away possession or otherwise mess up any chance of winning. This is frustrating to watch.

There also seems to be a problem with matchmaking. Nearly every time I attempted to find a game I was matched up with players who were level 70 or above and unbeatable with my lv 5 team. The Rivals at War series by the same developer had great matchmaking, so it’s a mystery why this is the case here. This is a real problem in Big Win NHL because levels are only gained by winning games.

The game’s presentation is rather dull as well. Players are small and poorly animated in game and while the sound gets the job done, some effects such as body checks lack impact.

Big Win NHL Hockey is really not worth playing. While having real players is a big step for the series, the oppressive microtransactions and some poorly implemented mechanics make it a very poor game.

BIG WIN Racing Review

BIG WIN Racing Review

Dec 30, 2013

Hothead Games hits us up with another sports sim in the name of BIG WIN Racing.

Like most BIG WIN titles, this one is all about management and preparation. The backdrop for this is stock car racing in the same vein as NASCAR. No element is left untouched, giving players full control of team evolution via the management and improvement of card characters and other functions that effect success.

The gameplay starts with the creation of a new team and the opening of a starter pack; a starter pack consists of a driver, crew members, four parts, three “big impact” cards and a sponsor card. Characters can be customized down to hair style and even shape of face, but few of the customization are fee. Driving styles can be adjusted, as well.

After all is built and tweaked, it’s time to race. It’s possible to see the race simulated, or just skip this. bwr1Watching the races help with visualizing the effect of cards, as well as the effect of having sloppy pit work. This where careful use of the impact card becomes crucial. Selecting the right cards for each race can decide the end result. Each card has a purpose: Taking The Pole starts you up front and Grip Through Turns helps with tight turns. In any case, doing well has payouts, and the payouts can be used to improve material and personnel; during races (if watched “live”) it is possible to actually see errors made by, say, the crew that can be corrected.

Racing itself comes in five modes: Friends mode encourages the incorporation of Facebook to race friends, while Events mode gives out limited-time prizes. Trophy an Quick race modes are fairly self-explanatory, and there is also championship mode.

I think that in-game adjustments could really improve the game… in other words, the ability to use big impact cars as the action is unfolding. This would make the “live component” more interesting, I think. Even though the graphics are, in my opinion, a bit subdued, it looks good enough for casual play. I am also a bit hazy on the most effective use of the big impact pieces as well.

For NASCAR-style race management for handheld gaming loving types, this free-to-play game might just fit the bill.