With the new Sony Mobile shop gaining most of the attention you may of missed Table Ice Hockey, a little gem of a game, which is fun to play, good for your wallet and also another excuse to use the Vita's AR cards. With no form of NHL appearing on the Sony Vita this year, Table Ice Hockey could fill in the gap, thanks to its no nonsense arcade hockey game.
Using the first three AR cards and laying them out on a clear surface magically creates an Ice Hockey stadium, allowing the Vita to act as the camera which you can then watch the action from any angle, playing horizontally, vertically, zooming right up close or a birds eye view.
The level of detail is surprising for such a budget title, with the players scaling well as you move the camera to even being able to have a peek in the goal line spectator boxes. Controlling your team is quite simple but manages to give a decent feel for the game, with passes, shots and hard tackles all easy to pull off. On the defence side you can push triangle to switch players or wait for the game to grant you the closest player to take over and tackle. If you make too many tough tackles the game even switches to a fighting screen, with you dodging, blocking and punching away at the other player until the ref steps in an places you both into the sin bin.
As well as a quick play there is also a tournaments mode, allowing you to pick from a huge selection of fictional named national teams and take part in a group based tournament, with every game you take part in unlocking extras like new teams, extra hockey fields, new pucks and some new items to use in the team customisation screen.
Table Ice Hockey is a fun game to play as long as you have the space, however it is a big shame that there is no standard rink mode that allows you to play the game on the move or without the AR cards. Shortcomings aside, this is still a fun quick-play Ice Hockey game to keep you happy until those puckers at EA decide to release an official NHL game on the PS Vita.
Words by Ash Buchanan.
Review Policy (Version tested: PS Vita)