Fell in love with bandy or ice, field, rink, or bank hockey, but can’t find a space, acquaintances, or the courage to try out as a professional in real life? No worries – that’s what video games are there for! They allow us to simulate skillsets, experiences, and results we haven’t achieved and most likely won’t ever attain. This is especially true for this two-team sport based on a puck and a hockey stick. It isn’t as accessible, popular, or celebrated worldwide, making it hard to grow a massive yet invested audience. Luckily, the same can’t be said for the best hockey games for PC, and we intend to prove it.
1. NHL 2020
NHL, an EA Play platform exclusive, is at the top of the best hockey PC games scoreboard. Yes, we’re aware that many gamers prefer NHL 2009 and NHL 10, and that they were the key turning point. However, NHL 2020 contains all the most-praised game components while adding beautiful graphics and lifelike animations that mirror real player’s trademark moves. The offline career mode is the highlight, honestly. It’s paired with true-to-life commentary, well-developed goalie A.I., unique audience celebration, and play-of-the-game video sequences. Also, like EA’s FIFA game series, you can play online via Ultimate Team.
Although its graphics are a little blurry, Bush Hockey League provides tons of unparalleled fun. This is a gruesome, training wheels-off, safety-out-the-window experience. While you’ll play ice hockey 5v5 as usual, none of the characters wears any protective equipment and plays as dirty as possible. The game expects you to use whatever means possible to win – throwing elbows, doing shoulder, cross, and hip checks, pulling clothes, brawling, knocking out, and even smacking the opponents with your hockey stick! Unsurprisingly, the losing team is the one that endures more injuries and can’t continue.
Slapshot: Rebound is often described as the hockey equivalent of the Rocket League. It features similar graphics, but also the fast-paced arcade-style gameplay that requires fast reaction time, team play, control, precision, and a good strategy. And, like Rocket League, you can play offline in training modes, minigames, and high-score bouts. You can also try multiplayer, with a premade group of friends or random players on the Internet. The game is free to play forever, and while it has an in-game shop, the creators are vehemently against any form of pay-to-win elements.
Although not yet officially released, Ultimate Rivals: The Rink gameplay was demonstrated on several occasions. Therefore, it’s only a matter of time when this hockey action-packed game sees the light of day on a massive scale. It’s solely focused on hockey-based game rules and 3v3 matches in 3 different environments. However, the game has non-hockey player moves and features 60+ unlockable athlete characters. But not only from NHL, but also NFL, MLB, NBA, WNBA, and even WWE wrestlers. The game features both single-player and multiplayer modes and has extensive controller support.
Eastside Hockey Manager is among the best management hockey games for PC and is licensed with the UK’s Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL). However, there’s an abundance of leagues, cups, clubs, and players around the world, and you can play solo or online, with up to 30 players. After choosing to lead a club or a country’s national team, you control the narrative. You can draft, trade, or sign players, chose the coaching team, physiotherapist, and scout, then either hire a head coach or take the role yourself. You can then observe every match from a 2D perspective, from a top-down camera view.
Super Blood Hockey isn’t impressive graphically but makes up for it with the arcade-style gameplay and several game modes. The offline one, Franchise Mode, lets you pick a team of inmates and force them to play hockey to exhaustion. They’ll suffer blood-splattering cuts, concussions, seizures, and vomiting, to name a few. You can also manage their diet, steroid use, exercise schedule, adjust their skating style, position, and control violence levels. Besides single-player, you can test LAN multiplayer with up to 4 players, try a global tournament, or test Challenge Mode.
Franchise Hockey Manager 7 is an NHL-licensed offline hockey strategy game that lets you control every aspect of the game, on or off the field. And besides the NHL league, you can also create or download custom leagues and tournaments, and use NHL-licensed players or custom ones. Matches play out in 2D top-down view, and the game is even historically accurate dating back to 1917. This means draft dates fall in July, leagues are founded and closed, teams are expanded or disbanded, and hockey rules change to fit the year. You can also play notable tournaments such as Miracle on Ice 1980 or the 1972 Summit Series.
Mini Hockey Champ is a 1v1-only hockey game, suitable for players of any skill level. You can play exhibition matches with adjustable rules, or try fun or challenging modes such as Fire Pucks, Big Head Mode. Additionally, you can sign up for a Championship, and right through 4 rounds against the world’s best teams. Moreover, the scoreboard mode will bring out the competitive spirit in anyone by incentivizing them to break records and increase stats. Finally, every part of the game is also available in local multiplayer mode – perfect for a gaming session with a friend, newbie, or veteran.
VR Hockey League is one of the leading VR hockey games for PC that focuses on true-to-life simulation of the sport. Most of the other VR-based games either lacked the graphics or were limited to playing as a goalie. Not VR Hockey League, though. It’s tested by real hockey players to ensure that the physics of skating, carrying the puck, and scoring are as lifelike as can be. The game also lets you play training for pure enjoyment and gradual expertise gain and join tournaments and battle your way to awards within the VR Hockey League Hall of Fame.
Instead of 2D, Hockey Manager 20|20 lets you play hockey in 3D. The rest is identical to the two manager games above. You can be a manager and/or a head coach and fine-tune every aspect of your team’s success. That means drafting, transferring, trading, and signing of players and freedom of adjusting your squad, trainers, coaches, sponsors, and even participating in World Cups or Olympic events. This is where things differ. This game also lets you control sponsorships, merchandising, programs for youth and amateurs, stadiums, fan support, stock market, etc.
Tropical Air Hockey is another VR PC hockey game. However, it’s based on air hockey rather than ice hockey. It’s also far more exhaustive when it comes to game modes and their diversity. Standard mode lets you play exhibition matches against the AI in single-player, while Tournament mode does the same, but with a trophy hanging over your head as the reward. The Fun Mode also features AI, but uniquely – you’ll collect items on the way, as well as pick up power-ups and power-downs. Crash Mode and Pinball mode are by far the craziest. They include smashing items, dodging bombs, and playing pinball.
12. Canvas Hockey
If you look past canvas-like graphics, better suitable for iOS titles over hockey PC games, you’ll find Canvas Hockey addictive. It’s a 2D top-down, arcade-style hockey game, except that, unlike the manager games above, you join the action rather than managing it from a distance. It features multiple modes, starting with solo Career Mode. It’s endless, but has a goal – rise from the bottom, Bronze league, to the way, CHL elite. Local multiplayer 1v1 and 2v2 battles are available too, and you can even play 12-player tournaments via LAN or the Internet.
Since you’re already a fan of hockey as a sport and as a video game, do you fancy quiz games for PC? We’re asking because this game features zero hockey gameplay; it’s a quiz consisting of 250 unique questions about hockey. What’s more, every 10 successful answers within the given time opens one vault, and, like in “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” you have 3 lifelines. Besides cash from each vault, the game motivates you through 3 ranks of accomplishments – the faster you answer, the more cash you get. On top of that, the game has a high score list to ensure a high replay value.
14. Puck Buddies
Puck Buddies may look like a game for children based on its name, 3D cartoon graphics, and vibrant colors. However, what hides beneath the surface is a complex, feature-packed, hockey-based offline or online experience. We’re saying that because arenas have all kinds of unusual trigonometric shapes, and the game has elements of minigolf because the puck bounces off the walls. There are 16 playable characters, and the game mode features 2v2, 3v3, and 4v4 matches. For best results, the developers a controller, and using face buttons and one analog stick.
15. Capy Hoky
Capy Hoky is by far the cutest game for PC on this list. After all, it is based on capybaras, large rodents mainly found in South America. But that’s only the beginning; you’ll unlock 5 more animals throughout the game, including a snake and a chicken. The gameplay is based on a small ice hockey rink, where you can play 1v1 or 2v2 with and/or against friends or AIs. Moreover, you can team up with a friend or AI in co-op to compete in 1v1 or 2v2 tournament mode, named Capy Cup. Like Puck Buddies, the game for up to 4 controllers, but you can use 2 keyboards inputs if needed.
Although MBHL20 has a lot of key features the top hockey PC games have, it never found recognition. It’s a single-player-only 3D game that features career mode which combined Be A Pro and Franchise Mode from previous games into one. This includes 30 custom teams, nifty AI opponents, and 3 main positions – goaltender, forward, and defenseman. The reason it never went mainstream lies in primitive graphics, clunky physics, and, and large time waste in waiting for pre-game announcements, after-stoppage songs, and spending time on the bench as a backup player.
17. Lair Hockey
Lair Hockey uses air hockey as the foundation but the game is based on modern technology with a retro 3D visual appeal. As such, it barely resembles the sport except for the base mechanics. That’s because you can, at least in theory, bounce off the edges to gain power-ups infinitely. Of course, the reality is grim. You’ll inevitably pause your travel to fight massive bosses that include robots, tanks, spiders, moles, and other monsters, plus dodge traps and score goals. The game is made with a computer mouse in mind and features ever-changing landscapes eventually leading to space.
18. Backyard Hockey 2005
Backyard Hockey 2005 got a second release on Windows due to the success of its prequel, Backyard Hockey (2002). The game features 30 licensed players and all NHL teams for the season 2004-2005 but also lets you create custom characters. And, although limited to offline play, there are 3 ways to play – Play Now Mode, Single Games, and Season Play. Uniquely, power-ups spawn in the middle of the rink occasionally, giving your players peed or making opponents fall over.
19. FaceOff Hockey 2004
Even though it was released in 2004 and features, FaceOff Hockey 2004 looks at least 10 years older. Still, it’s a historically accurate text-based hockey simulator. You start by choosing a team and its players, which have had their name changed (but remain easy to ascertain) because of lack of licensing. After appointing a captain, adding jersey numbers, and changing player status to active, click on Start Simulation. After watching the text-based match in real-time, the scoreboard will appear in a print-ready format.
20. Solid Ice Hockey
This arcade game, first released for MS-DOS in 1996, has better graphics than the one above. The GUI is as simple and the music is loud and overbearing, yes, but the core gameplay is present. Because the game only got a license from the NHL Players Association instead of the NHL, all characters for the 1996-1997 season had their names changed, but not birth town or appearance. You can opt to play in NHLA Star league or User Defined league. In the latter, you can customize the rink appearance and fine-tune player stats on the go.