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Issue 3.6


Wild Lands Arcade Hockey

Issue: 3.6 (July/August 2005)
Author: Corey Redlien
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 3,939
Starting Page Number: 10
Article Number: 3607
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I have to admit, I'm not a big gamer. I went out and purchased Doom 3 for Mac; played it maybe a half-dozen times, and eventually just got bored of it. The last time I was really enthralled with a game was with the old Starflite and Bard's Tale games of yore... and if you've heard of those games, then you know just how long ago that was. There's always an exception though, and sometimes a "little mindless game" generally manages to squeeze through and start eating huge chunks of my time up. These are games like Tetris, Breakout, and now Wild Lands Hockey, by K-werkx Inc. for Mac OS X.

"Little mindless games" are usually, as the name implies, ridiculously simple. There are no heroines to rescue, no 3D rendered monsters to kill, and usually just a few basic and simple graphics. Game objectives are usually exceedingly straightforward and there're few or no extraneous elements to distract you from those objectives.

Wild Lands Hockey (WLH) manages to pull these elements together into a simple and fun package that has all the attributes of the Little Mindless Game. Your objective is simple: It's you versus another player trying to score more then the other guy in a game of one-on-one hockey.

Upon initial startup, a wonderfully rendered 3D introduction animation plays, which then transitions to a basic "start game" screen where you can select single player against the computer, or, even better, play 1-on-1 with a friend, either locally or via network play. The graphics are well done and professional looking, with everything working like it should.

As I had no one willing to kill time with me playing a game, I played the single-player version. This pits you against a computerized player which is startlingly good. Almost too good. It took me 3 or 4 games just to manage to get one goal versus the computer's 20 or so a game. Part of the problem, however, was my lack of mastery over the controls, and how they worked in relation to the player on the screen. However, once I got the hang of it, I finally started to rack up some points on my opponent (and regain some shred of my dignity as well).

Minor things did somewhat get in my way of mini-hockey bliss, however. Getting the puck was sometimes maddeningly difficult, as you had to maneuver your player's hockey stick to exactly where the puck was, and stealing the puck from your opponent is also hard (at least for me, the computer seemed to have no problem stealing the puck from me). Finally, the speed of the game could be kicked up a bit and player controls would benefit from being a bit smoother.

Wild Lands Hockey still managed to steal almost an hour of my time with its fun, regardless of those minor issues. If you're looking for a fun way to pass some time I recommend you give it a try!

End of article.