(WiiWare)

Game Review

Family Glide Hockey Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Does Family Glide Hockey capture the fun and excitement of a real air hockey game?

Let's face it, there are some recreational games that lend themselves perfectly to the Wii Remote's motion controls. We've already seen such games as billiards, miniature golf, and even a table tennis release make use of these motion sensing capabilities with varying degrees of success. So how is it possible to take a game like air hockey -- which could be replicated so well using the Wii Remote -- and throw together a game that not only makes very little use of the Wii Remote's advanced control capabilities, but also fails to provide a decent control alternative in the process?

The Single and Versus modes are obviously the heart of the game. The gameplay is basically standard air hockey, with a few unique hindrances, depending on which area you're currently playing in. You'll also have access to two Super Shots, although they're not what you'd call terribly "super." As the puck bounces off the various walls of the table it will begin to glow. If you hit the puck with your paddle while pressing the "A" or "B" buttons you'll perform one of two Super Shots. The "A" button performs the "Fire Shot", which will award you more points for scoring, and the "B" button performs the "Trick Shot", which has a slight curve to it thus making it more difficult to hit. If you choose to play the Versus game the screen is split into two separate tables and each player has their own table to keep track of, thus giving both players the same vantage point. You can even add an additional player to each side to help each other out in a cooperative style of play. The same rules used in the single-player game apply to this multiplayer mode.

Aside from the main air hockey game modes, Family Glide Hockey also features three mini games. While these are entertaining enough at first, they just don't feature a whole lot of depth and become tiring and repetitive rather quickly, especially given that all three basically feature the same control method.

Glide Hockey Brawl basically lines up a set of coloured pucks at the top of the table in a bowling pin-like layout and lets you rocket off your puck into these coloured pucks in an effort to cause as many collisions as possible. You're awarded a certain number of points for each collision depending on which colour pucks make contact with each other. You have three chances to rack up as many points as possible.

Glide Hockey Drill presents you with math problems that you'll have to quickly calculate in your head in order to find the answer. The game places three blocks at the top of the table with three different answers. You have to hit the block with the correct answer on it with your puck to score points. You have a certain time limit with which to make it through as many problems as you can. A wrong answer will strip five seconds off the clock so you have to be careful with your answers.

Glide Hockey Tracer is probably the best mini game of the bunch, but having said that it's unlikely that it will keep your attention for more than a few minutes. You basically have to hit your puck as hard as you can to cause it to roll over the giant grid of coloured blocks. As it rolls over these blocks it will change their colour. You goal is to change all of the squares to a different colour as many times as you can in the five puck hits. As with all of the other mini games, the game keeps track of the best overall scores.

For some strange reason, instead of allowing the player to control the paddles using the Wii Remote's motion sensing technology, they instead mapped the control of the paddle to the Wii Remote's D-pad or the Nunchuk's analogue stick. You can still shake the Wii Remote to swing the paddle forward, but that's the only motion sensing function the Wii Remote uses in the game. In fact, this is really the only control function you'll use during the mini games, which is basically what makes them such shallow experiences overall. At every turn you'll find yourself wishing that the developers had put more control into the player's hands instead of trying to use a traditional control method that could have just as easily been executed on any of the other game consoles. The lack of online play or leader boards further adds to mounting list of features missing from the game.

It's not all bad, though. The cel-shaded visuals are nicely done and there is quite a bit of variety in the backdrops. The menus are a bit bland and this is one of those annoying Wii titles that doesn't span the entire 16x9 screen, but it's clear that the developers at least put in some significant time and effort into the visuals. Of course that might explain why other areas of the game come up a bit short.

The music ranges from good to utterly annoying. While you'll come across a decent track every now and then, for the most part the musical score just feels very uninspired and a bit too sticky sweet for its own good. The sound effects, while quite realistic, aren't varied enough to really add anything to the vanilla soundtrack and the character voices aren't much better. The game does give you the option of turning off the voices if you find them too annoying which is a welcome feature. Sadly, in the end the entire audio presentation never really creeps above the mediocre level.

Conclusion

Family Glide Hockey is basically one giant missed opportunity that makes you wonder exactly what the developers were thinking when they put it together. When you have a unique controller such as the Wii Remote, not to mention a game that seems to fit its control methods to a tee, it's difficult to understand why the developers chose to ignore it. Sure a case can be made that the game costs a mere 500 Wii Points and the mini games can be entertaining for those who can overlook their lack of depth and substance, but when it's all said and done, Family Glide Hockey comes off as nothing more than a feeble attempt to cash in on the WiiWare service and a game that could have been so much more.

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User Comments (35)

KeeperBvK

#1

KeeperBvK said:

Yay, first.

Well...was anybody seriously expecting something else after the sub-par Family Table Tennis? The trailer already looked confusing so I sure wasn't hoping for anything. The only thing I'm hoping for now is that Aksys ends their family sports series right here.

Omega

#2

Omega said:

Oh! What a ruthless review. Only 3 Points? But it looks so colorful. And it's for families. And the characters are so cute. And only 500 Points. :-o BTW: I think there are still enough people who buy because of the whole-family-can-play-it idea. And because they do not read reviews.

Link79

#3

Link79 said:

No surprises here. About 80 % of all Wiiware games are pathetic garbage. Every now and then we get games like Mega man 9 or World of goo which get the full effort put into them and then there's this crap.
Such a wasted attempt.

Chunky_Droid

#4

Chunky_Droid said:

Well here's hoping WiiWare wasn't completely wasted this week with a decent review of Hot Rod

KDR_11k

#5

KDR_11k said:

I said before that it can't be hard to implement air hockey but as they say, "invent a foolproof design and the universe will invent a better fool". I believe I've seen a better air hockey game implemented in a QBasic programming book.

Seems this gets summarily trounced by Wii Play. Hell, Nintendo could just release Boundish (Bit Generations) and put these crappy pong-clones out of their misery.

Objection

#8

Objection said:

@KDR_11K-Who said that? It's a good saying.
As for FGH the only thing it has going for it is that F,G, and H are next to each other on a keyboard. ;)

Rawk_Hawk

#9

Rawk_Hawk said:

It may still be worth a look. At least the visuals are nice and it has more mini-games then Table tennis

Pablo17

#10

Pablo17 said:

Well, I agree with the review score. I originally said it was a 5 but after playing it some more, I think a 3 is a more deserving score.

I will say that my kids like this and for 500 points it was probably worth it for them.

calculon

#11

calculon said:

Another game for NoE to add to their blacklist - which means it'll be released next week. Hopefully alongside Snowboard Riot (yay!) :D

Starwolf_UK

#12

Starwolf_UK said:

Another game for NoE to add to their blacklist - which means it'll be released next week. Hopefully alongside Snowboard Riot (yay!)
What makes you say that? The other Aksys Games; Family Table Tennis never came out in Europe suggesting the publisher won't do Europe (thing is Family Glide Hockey has English, French and Spanish). Unless you meant that sarcastically :(

KnucklesSonic8

#15

KnucklesSonic8 said:

@Link = 80%? That's a fair comment. As far as I'm concerned, though, it's less than that.

And yeah guys, at least Wii Play's control scheme was better executed. The controls here just seem sloppy.

@Chicken Brutus: I hope the next one isn't a Family title at all. I hope they get an entirely different focus with their WiiWare support.

@Obj_Blaster: lol.

@Pablo17: I'm glad that at least your kids like the game. Otherwise, you'd be pretty upset you purchased the game...

@Tony: Umm... both games have 3 Mini-games. And they're all equally shallow from what I understand.

(slambert, read the below.)
Besides guys, we still have Family Parcheesi and Family Golf on the way... At LEAST Family Golf uses the BB but I dunno how that'll enhance the experience...

EJD

#16

EJD said:

I expected a 4 after reading that review but it seems like this was a wasted opportunity. When will WiiWare pick up again?

@Link: I pretty much agree, WiiWare seems to be a dumping place for shovelware with games like Midnight Bowling and SPOGS.

CorbsAdmin

#17

Corbs said:

You always hate to see a game that had so much potential just totally miss the boat like Family Glide Hockey did. The control scheme really makes you scratch your head when you think of all the things that could have been done, not to mention the awkward control scheme they settled on.

As far as what Pablo17 said, I can see that. I can see where young children might like the simple Wii Remote control design and easy to grasp mini games. But for everyone above the age of 7 or 8, there's no way I could recommend this game to them. Not and keep a straight face, anyway. :)

Kaeobais

#19

Kaeobais said:

"You always hate to see a game that had so much potential just totally miss the boat ..." Yeah, but it happens alot on wiiware.

@EJD: But a much like a gold mine, there are many gems beneath the dirt.

EJD

#20

EJD said:

@Shadx: I thought WiiWare had buried gems in it too but recently I'm becoming less optimistic about WiiWare. :( Hopefully I'm proved wrong in the future. Looking at some of the forthcoming games, my hopes for WiiWare may improve. The main thing that gets to me is the huge amount of puzzle games, I'd love to see more variety, an RPG or some multiplayer minigame package would be interesting to see.

GabboStaff

#21

Gabbo said:

Excellent review as usual, Corbie. Oh, and thanks for taking that bullet for me ;)

Terra

#22

Terra said:

Oh, not another one. When will the WiiShovelWare end? Come on Aksys Games, you can do better. Hope you guys don't screw up your other games and if you do, your doing Europe a favor by leaving us alone altogether if WiiWare gets more of you shovelware.

AVahne

#23

AVahne said:

well at least the character art is nice,though,wouldn't it be a better game idea for them to put this game and the table tennis game and several other games into a game pack or something?at least that would've made it actually worth something

CorbsAdmin

#25

Corbs said:

No problem Spencer. I still owed you one for taking the Tiki Towers review. :)

Shouldn't be too much longer on the HRS review now.

GabboStaff

#26

Gabbo said:

@longtimegamer
Yes, I I have some idea of when ;)

@Corbie
But that's not taking a bullet. I enjoyed Tiki Towers. But if I had reviewed Family Glide Hockey I likely would have taken out months of pent up frustration over Family Table Tennis in the review.

CorbsAdmin

#27

Corbs said:

@ Spencer - LOL. Well then maybe it's good that I did that for you. :) Oh and your Hot Rod Show review was excellent as well. I might have to pick that one up.

CanisWolfred

#28

CanisWolfred said:

Pretty much what I expected...for the score, at least. I am a little surprised that they chose such a lame control method, otherwise it might've been kind of fun. And thank you for another informative review, Corbie!

I still can't stand the art style in these games.

EJD

#31

EJD said:

@32. Shadx: I completely agree, I've only played Bomberman Blast and World of Goo out of those you mentioned but I'm sure the others are great. I don't like the Mega Man games but I assume fans of the series love it. I didn't enjoy the Strong Bad animations so I don't think I'd like the games.

Kamuki

#32

Kamuki said:

I love family table tennis and glide hockey. I just still don't get why the hate? Because it has family in it's name? (This is coming from a guy who hates family/most third party wii games.)

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#33

Philip_J_Reed said:

Read the reviews, Kamuki. They make much more legitimate points than "it has family in its name."

KnucklesSonic8

#34

KnucklesSonic8 said:

@EJD: There are quite a few of hidden gems but the service hasn't been out that long. Don't worry. This year's titles seem to hold a lot of promise. It's gonna be awesome. This year was already off to a great start!

@Kamuki: Not necessarily. As Chicken Brutus, there are reasons why this game has hate. For me, I didn't like FTT. It was less than modest. It was gifted to me and I always regretted accepting that gift. I should've asked for something else... It's just too shallow and too barebones. You could see everything in the game in less than 20 minutes flat.

@Corbie: Yeah, he DID do a great job with Hot Rod Show.

I just hope the Golf and Parcheesi... errr... Pirate Party titles will turn out for the better. At least Pirate Party shows some redeeming qualities.

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