Flick Hockey Review—Finger-Flicking Good
Air hockey is one of the greatest games ever invented. It’s essentially a two-player tabletop version of hockey, with each person trying to knock a puck into the other’s goal using a mallet. The puck floats on a cushion of air, making the playing surface nearly frictionless and allowing the puck to move extremely fast. It’s one of those games that is easy to learn, but very hard to master.
Somehow air hockey is not an Olympic sport, which has long baffled me since ping pong is. It is the subject of many video games, though, because as cool as air hockey is, it requires a fair amount of room for a proper table. It’s just much more convenient in electronic form. Years ago, when I first got Windows (3.1), one of the first games I got for it was a fun little air hockey game that I played all the time.
Flick Hockey from Spinning Head Software reminds me a lot of that old, very simple Windows game. It’s fun, but it has no real options or frills. You just pick either one player or two players, and you play air hockey, either against the AI or someone right next to you.
The air hockey mallet is controlled by simply putting your finger on the touchscreen and moving it around. Or that is the illusion it gives; it actually seems to simply put the air hockey mallet wherever on the screen you touch, so if you lift up your finger and put it back down real quick on a different part of the screen, the mallet teleports.
Single-player mode features three levels of difficulty for the AI, the easiest of which is fairly easy to beat but not a pushover, and the toughest isn’t impossible, but pretty hard. I have trouble winning, but I can at least score against it. Sometimes the AI in simple games like this is too hard, almost impossible to beat. Thankfully, that’s not the case here.
In single-player mode, you can either play from a top-down view or a 3D perspective view, while in two-player mode, you have to play from a top-down perspective, since you are both using the same screen. You can choose from fixed-score games (first to reach a certain number of goals wins) or a timed match, where whoever has the highest score after 1, 2, or 3 minutes wins.
Each option has a different scoreboard. Other than that, there really aren’t any options. No different rooms to play in, no different tables or mallets, no unlockables. Similarly, the graphics are somewhat bare, just an empty room with the table, no animated people moving the mallet around or anything, but they are crisp.
While Flick Hockey doesn’t offer a lot of depth, it certainly plays and feels like real air hockey. It would have been nice to have more content, but it accomplishes the most important thing—it’s fun.