A few weeks ago, the App Store was graced with its first official ice hockey game, Hockey Nations 2010. While the graphics were fairly impressive and the controls worked admirably, braindead goalkeeping and a frustrating opponent AI extinguished most of the enjoyment out of playing. Creator of the game Distinctive Developments took this to heart, and immediately started work on an update based on user feedback, even opening up a beta pool of experienced testers and knowledgeable hockey fans alike. The result is the now available 1.1 update that delivers a far better experience, but unfortunately still leaves some things to be desired.

The goalie AI has been greatly improved and they seem to move a bit more quickly and intelligently, although can still let through some iffy goals. The movement of the puck is thankfully a lot more forgiving now. It's much easier to retain possession of the puck while attempting an offensive push, and passes to teammates are more accurate. There's no more of the constant possession changes that plagued the first version. It's still somewhat difficult to get clean shots off, but it gets easier with some practice. Another big addition is line changes which are easily called with a button at the top of the screen. It adds a great deal to the strategy and authenticity of the game, and works really nicely.


The biggest problem with the initial release of Hockey Nations was that it just didn't flow very well, and this latest update goes a long way in addressing that problem. It's now much more playable, and more importantly much more fun. If you weren't impressed with the 1.0 release, give this new update a spin. Hopefully further updates can improve the game even more down the line, so far this first one is a huge step in the right direction.

App Store Link: Hockey Nations, $3.99

  • dumas1000

    There are hardly words to describe how much work this game needs. Is it playable? Yeah. But it's just missing so much.

  • dumas1000

    There are hardly words to describe how much work this game needs. Is it playable? Yeah. But it's just missing so much.

  • http://www.twitter.com/josh_hofer Josh

    I think v1.1 is what should have shipped as 1.0 -- but I still had fun in 1.0, now 1.1 is a huge difference.

    I posted some suggestions on the forum, see here.

    This game, as is, is a total MUST for hockey fans. No doubt about it.

  • http://www.twitter.com/josh_hofer Josh

    I think v1.1 is what should have shipped as 1.0 -- but I still had fun in 1.0, now 1.1 is a huge difference.

    I posted some suggestions on the forum, see here.

    This game, as is, is a total MUST for hockey fans. No doubt about it.

  • Vende

    How does it run on the ipad?

  • Vende

    How does it run on the ipad?

  • mbd

    I'm a big hockey fan and was bitterly disappointed with this release. The most fun I've had in a hockey (like) game was Stingers Table Hockey. It's not realistic hockey, but at least you can theme up the teams to look like NHL ones, and it hooks you in from a playability perspective.

    I'll have a look at the update of Hockey Nations, but I'm not holding my breath. The 1.0 release felt like a Java mobile game circa 2003.

    • jc

      You are disappointed by the release you did not play?

  • mbd

    I'm a big hockey fan and was bitterly disappointed with this release. The most fun I've had in a hockey (like) game was Stingers Table Hockey. It's not realistic hockey, but at least you can theme up the teams to look like NHL ones, and it hooks you in from a playability perspective.

    I'll have a look at the update of Hockey Nations, but I'm not holding my breath. The 1.0 release felt like a Java mobile game circa 2003.

    • jc

      You are disappointed by the release you did not play?

  • Piasintein

    Hockey Nations 2010's problem is NHL 2010 on PS3/Xbox 360... Players have in mind it while HN2010 looks like NHL on PS2 with worse controls.

    • Sticktron

      Nah, it's the gameplay plain and simple.
      Hockey games played better on the Genesis.

      • HelperMonkey

        I still play NHL '95 on a Genesis emulator on my PC.  And Sticktron, you're absolutely right that the gameplay makes the game.  Hockey Nations 2010 is very impressive to look at.  But I'll take the 16-bit, 2-D visuals of NHL '95, or worse, if it will play as perfectly as EA's mid-nineties hockey games did.
        It would be fanastic if EA could successfully port one of those old-school titles onto the iDevices.  Call it NHL Classic.  If they could even come close to matching how brilliantly those games felt and played,  I think I'd completely wear out my iPod.  And (attention, EA) I'd gladly pay $10 or more for it.    

  • Piasintein

    Hockey Nations 2010's problem is NHL 2010 on PS3/Xbox 360... Players have in mind it while HN2010 looks like NHL on PS2 with worse controls.

    • Sticktron

      Nah, it's the gameplay plain and simple.
      Hockey games played better on the Genesis.

      • HelperMonkey

        I still play NHL '95 on a Genesis emulator on my PC.  And Sticktron, you're absolutely right that the gameplay makes the game.  Hockey Nations 2010 is very impressive to look at.  But I'll take the 16-bit, 2-D visuals of NHL '95, or worse, if it will play as perfectly as EA's mid-nineties hockey games did.
        It would be fanastic if EA could successfully port one of those old-school titles onto the iDevices.  Call it NHL Classic.  If they could even come close to matching how brilliantly those games felt and played,  I think I'd completely wear out my iPod.  And (attention, EA) I'd gladly pay $10 or more for it.    

  • Mac

    I thought everyone was complaining that this update made the game even worse.

  • Mac

    I thought everyone was complaining that this update made the game even worse.

  • henderson101

    I play NHL 2K9 a lot on the Wii - this game plays a lot like that game. The controls are obviously different, but the feel is similar. What they need to crack is twofold:

    1) Passing - needs some work. Not sure exactly what they can do, but there seems to be a requirement to face the correct direction, which often leads to frustration on such a small screen. It would be nice if there were come other method. Like touching the player you want to pass to. Probably too fiddly on the iPhone, but a def for the iPad.

    2) Possession - it's still way too easy to lose the puck. The "skate faster" button should actually make a bigger difference IMO.

    Other than changing the camera so that it follows the action more (or at least more angle choices and making it easy to switch angles without pausing the game) I'm pretty happy.

  • henderson101

    I play NHL 2K9 a lot on the Wii - this game plays a lot like that game. The controls are obviously different, but the feel is similar. What they need to crack is twofold:

    1) Passing - needs some work. Not sure exactly what they can do, but there seems to be a requirement to face the correct direction, which often leads to frustration on such a small screen. It would be nice if there were come other method. Like touching the player you want to pass to. Probably too fiddly on the iPhone, but a def for the iPad.

    2) Possession - it's still way too easy to lose the puck. The "skate faster" button should actually make a bigger difference IMO.

    Other than changing the camera so that it follows the action more (or at least more angle choices and making it easy to switch angles without pausing the game) I'm pretty happy.