A Hockey Roguelike Has Available in Pc Versions

The sports genre had a difficult relationship with PC games, with Madden not returning to PC until 2018, and the PC versions of major series like FIFA usually did not include all the features of this year’s console edition.

But among those underserved sports fans, PC gamers who love hockey have been at the biggest disadvantage after going through a 14-year drought of EA’s NHL series that hasn’t graced Windows since NHL ’09. I have been personally committed to it since 2016.

In this dark era of PC Hockey, every game that represents Canada’s favorite Pastime is remarkable. So, beware: Tape to Tape is available on Steam as a Demo that you can play now, and the full game is coming after this year.

The Tape to Tape Arcade Hockey is designed in the same familiar style, imitating NHL ’94 that has been seen in other retro hockey games (Hoser Hockey, Super Blood Hockey) in recent years. It’s basically a three-button game where the passes, the controls and the shots behave as they have in the last 10 or 20 years of hockey games. There are touches of complexity, such as the possibility of aiming a Slapshot with the analog stick or holding down the pass button to send a saucer pass, but otherwise, Tape to Tape significantly reduces the nuances of hockey.

There is no icing on the cake, no offsides, No line changes, no penalties and no Poke Check button (although you can remove the puck from the players without checking them). There are also no action in the demo, a notable omission in a game that dates back to a time when most of us liked to see Wayne Gretzky bleeding a 20-pixel puddle on the ice.

What Tape to Tape focuses on instead are special player abilities, splashy game modifiers and a Roguelike structure that I think we’ve never seen in a sports game. Instead of a conventional Season, the campaign is designed for your team to travel through a network of branched card movements, much like Slay the Spire or FTL.

Some of these points on the map are games that you need to play to progress, but some are simple yes/no decisions about which team values to update. At the end of the demo, there is a game of “Bosses” against a team called Officials, all of whom wear stripes, which makes it useless to distinguish them from the real referee.

The skills and artifacts of the players transform Hockey into a more silly Version of itself. “Tomahawk” makes me throw my bat in one direction to knock down an opposing player. With the yo-yo ability of another superstar, I can send the puck, then bring it back to my racket. An artifact that I picked up in the short demo campaign sometimes asked the AI referee to check the body of the opposing players.

These playful twists solidify tape to tape as an Arcade sports game, something of the Super Mega Baseball genre that we love. I don’t know if the Roguelike structure will fully work, partly because the demo is not long enough for these decisions to pay off — I don’t know if the experience of unlocking skills and improving your team over time will be worth it or not. But for now, Tape to Tape is the most visually interesting hockey game we’ve had on PC in years, and details like the physics of the puck are just authentic enough to keep me, the hockey-hungry PC player, from hitting.